Vegas Odds and Predictions to Win the 2011 Bashas’ Supermarkets 200 – Nationwide Series NASCAR Racing Preview: Given the unusual layout of Phoenix International Raceway, it should come as no surprise that the Cup regulars have dominated the action at the 1.0-mile track. The racing tends to get physical in the closing because of the difficult passing conditions, and the experience and aggressiveness of the Cup drivers usually wins out. Whenever Cup drivers are in the field, they are the favorites to get to Victory Lane. Keep in mind that only one Nationwide regular won a race in the series last season.
Last April, the dominance of the Cup drivers was on full display. Kyle Busch led a race-high 126 laps on his way to the win as Cup drivers swept the top-three spots. In fact, Cup regulars claimed six of the top-seven spots and placed seven drivers in the top-10. Every single lap was led by a Cup driver.
In the fall, the Nationwide drivers fared slightly better, but the Cup drivers still came out on top. Carl Edwards led a race-high 153 laps and picked up the win, and Cup regulars finished in the first four spots. Nationwide regular Aric Almirola managed to lead eight laps, but the series contenders for the win remained the Cup guys.
He has finished outside the top-seven only once in his last eight starts at Phoenix, but more importantly, Carl Edwards has won three of the last five races. He has a 2.7 average finish in his last three starts at the track, and has a 7.0 average finish since the start of the 2007 season. Plain and simple, no one has been better at getting to Victory Lane than Edwards.
Another three-time winner at the track is Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch. In addition to winning this weekend’s race last season, he has finished in the top-10 in six of his last seven starts at PIR. Considering he is coming off a record-setting 13-win season in the Nationwide Series, betting against Busch isn’t something to make a habit of.
He hasn’t been to Victory Lane in his last eight starts at Phoenix, but Kevin Harvick has eight straight top-10 finishes at the track, including seven straight top-five finishes. He has finished second in his last three starts at the track, and it is only a matter of time before he gets over the hump and cashes in.
The Dark Horses
His career at PIR got off to a rough start, but Brad Keselowski has been coming on strong lately. He has finished in the top-five in his last four starts at the track, finishing third and fourth last season. The reigning series champ isn’t eligible for the title this season, but that won’t stop him from piling up some victories in 2011.
In four career starts at Phoenix, Joey Logano has never finished outside the top-10. Even more intriguing is the fact that he is getting better. Logano has finished in the top-five in two of his last three starts at the track, including a career-best third-place effort last fall. It isn’t out of the question that he takes the next step in 2011 and picks up a win.
The Cup regulars may be the favorites, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some Nationwide guys capable of providing a big payday. Reed Sorenson is at the head of that list, and he has compiled an impressive 6.7 average finish in three career starts at Phoenix. He has finished in the top-five in two of his last three starts, finishing as high as third.
Jason Leffler has had his struggles at Phoenix, and he has the 30/1 odds to prove it. Despite all the wrecks, he has actually run well at the track when his car is in one piece. Leffler has finished as high as second at the track, and the payoff could be huge for those willing to take the risk.
Big Names to Avoid
It doesn’t make sense, but Ryan Newman is actually better at Phoenix in the Cup Series than he is in the Nationwide Series. He finished 36th in his last Nationwide start at the track compared to second in his last Cup start. Whether or not it makes sense, the numbers say stay away from Newman this Saturday.
It would be easy to jump on the Trevor Bayne bandwagon after his shocking Daytona 500 victory, but his numbers at Phoenix are modest at best. He has a 20.0 average finish in three starts and has never finished higher than 14th. This guy may end up being the next star in the sport one day, but betting on him like he is already a superstar is a recipe for disappointment.
NSAwins.com’s Consensus Predictions from our 5 Handicapping Experts:
Kyle Busch to Win at 5/2 Odds
Odds to win the Bashas Supermarket 200 from BoDog Sportsbook on Saturday, February 26, 2011 from Phoenix International Raceway:
Aric Almirola #88 16/1
Brad Keselowski #22 13/2
Carl Edwards #60 9/2
Danica Patrick #7 65/1
Derrike Cope #28 65/1
Elliott Sadler #2 12/1
Jason Leffler #38 30/1
Joey Logano #20 13/2
Justin Allgaier #31 18/1
Kevin Harvick #33 9/2
Kevin Lepage #24 70/1
Kyle Busch #18 5/2
Mike Bliss #44 40/1
Reed Sorenson #32 22/1
Robert Richardson Jr. #23 50/1
Ryan Newman #30 16/1
Trevor Bayne #16 14/1
Field (Any Other Driver) 12/1
Check out the latest odds to win the 2011 Bashas’ Supermarkets 200 on our NASCAR Vegas Odds page.