2012 Quaker State 400 Expert Picks – Betting on Underdogs for Big Payoffs: This weekend’s Cup race at Kentucky Speedway will be just the second time the series has visited the 1.5-mile track. With that in mind, bettors have to like the chances of a possible upset occurring. Oddsmakers do their best to handicap the race based on typical driver performance and performance at similar tracks. That being said, there are no guarantees at such a new track, and just about any driver is capable of hitting on a winning setup. In fact, it’s tough to consider any driver an underdog since defending race-winner Kyle Busch is the only driver in the field that can say he has been to Victory Lane in a Cup race at Kentucky. With that in mind, here are a few drivers that could surprise the favorites this weekend.
Although he didn’t win the inaugural Cup race at Kentucky last year, Joey Logano is no stranger to Victory Lane at the track. He has won three of the last four Nationwide events in the Bluegrass State, and he did notch a solid top-15 finish in the Cup race. Logano’s teammate Kyle Busch also won the race last season, and all three Joe Gibbs Racing cars finished in the top 15. Not to mention that he brings plenty of momentum into the race after grabbing top-10 finishes in three of his last four starts, including winning for the first time since his rookie season. Logano is a 37/1 longshot to win, but he is running as well as he has all season at a track where he knows how to win. He could easily make it two wins in a row at Kentucky for JGR, and bettors could benefit in a big way.
It has been a disappointing year for A.J. Allmendinger, but a trip to a wild card track like Kentucky could be his chance to make some noise. While he doesn’t have a history of steady success at 1.5-mile tracks, his Penske Racing team does. In fact, Penske Racing put both cars inside the top 10 at Kentucky last year, and Brad Keselowski led the second-most laps of any driver. At such a new track, a strong setup will go a long way for a driver. Allmendinger should be the beneficiary of the setup that led to plenty of success for the Penske drivers last season, giving him a leg up on the competition. Yes, he is still a longshot, but at 42/1 odds, the payoff is at least worthwhile.
Bettors looking for a real dark horse might want to consider David Reutimann. Sure, he isn’t driving for an elite team these days, but he does have a history of pulling off upsets at 1.5-mile tracks. His first win in the Cup Series came in the Coca-Cola 600, and his second win came at Chicagoland. Both tracks share a very similar layout to Kentucky Speedway, and Reutimann finished second at the track last season. He had one of the better cars on the track all night on his way to the runner-up effort, ranking in the top 10 in terms of average running position. His odds have plummeted to 250/1 because of his move to Tommy Baldwin Racing, but even with his downgrade in equipment, his history of success at tracks like Kentucky makes him an intriguing option giving his odds.
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Check out the latest 2012 Quaker State 400 odds and predictions from NSAwins.com’s NASCAR handicapping expert Brian Polking!