2012 U.S. Cellular 250 Odds, Free Picks and Predictions – Favorites and Sleepers to Win U.S. Cellular 250: Iowa Speedway is one of the newer tracks on the Nationwide schedule, and this weekend’s race will mark just the sixth time the series has visited the short track. Iowa has a unique 0.88-mile layout, and side-by-side racing has become commonplace. As more and more drivers become comfortable at the track, the racing should only improve and the list of potential contenders should only grow. A few drivers have had the upper hand so far, but with more and more data available, there could be a changing of the guard in the coming races.
Last year’s August race produced one of the most-bizarre finishes of the 2011 season. After dominating most of the event, Carl Edwards found himself trailing his Roush Fenway Racing teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in the closing laps. Stenhouse appeared to have the victory well in hand as he exited the final corner on the final lap until his engine blew heading to the finish line, opening the door for Edwards. However, Edwards was unable to maneuver his car through the oil put down from Stenhouse’s engine and ended up slamming into his teammate and pushing Stenhouse across the finish line for the win.
Earlier this year, Stenhouse again went to Victory Lane, but he didn’t need the late race fireworks. With most of the Cup drivers choosing not to pull double duty, Stenhouse flat out dominated the event, leading 209 of the 250 laps. Sam Hornish Jr. was the only other driver to lead more than four laps.
The Favorites – 2012 U.S. Cellular 250 Odds, Predictions and Free Picks
Considering he has won the last three Nationwide races at Iowa, it is tough to bet against Ricky Stenhouse Jr. this weekend. It is even harder to bet against him when you consider that his most-recent victory was probably his most dominant performance yet. Stenhouse led 209 of the 250 laps at the track in May, and a season sweep at Iowa for the second consecutive year could be on tap Saturday night.
One driver that could challenge Ricky Stenhouse Jr. this weekend is Elliott Sadler. In his three starts at the track, he has three top-five finishes and has improved his result in each start. Earlier this year, Sadler finished second to Stenhouse. If he is going to continue his trend of improvement, the only place to go is Victory Lane.
The Dark Horses – 2012 U.S. Cellular 250 Odds, Predictions and Free Picks
He has been scorching hot for a couple of months now, and the streak has taken Austin Dillon to within one point of the top spot in the standings. After finishing fourth at Iowa earlier this year in just his second start at the track, a big weekend could be on tap for the rookie. With a little more experience under his belt, he could take the next step and challenge for this weekend Saturday. He should have plenty of motivation because if he does get to Victory Lane, he will assume the point lead.
In his Iowa Speedway debut earlier this year, Kurt Busch finished fifth. Now that he has a feel for the track, he should have no trouble making a run at the win this weekend. After all, Busch has finished outside the top 10 in just two of his 12 starts in the Nationwide Series this season, and he has a pair of top-two finishes in his last three starts. Busch is the most-proven driver in the field, and the former Cup champ should be a serious factor at Iowa.
Sleeper Specials – 2012 U.S. Cellular 250 Odds, Predictions and Free Picks
The quiet contender for the Nationwide title is Sam Hornish Jr., and he will take his hot streak to Iowa this weekend. He hasn’t finished outside the top 15 since the season opener, and he has finished in the top 10 in his last seven starts. Hornish led 30 laps at Iowa earlier this year, and coming off a season-best second-place finish last weekend at Indianapolis, he should have plenty of confidence.
Michael McDowell has started all five Nationwide races at Iowa, and he has finished in the top 15 in all five starts. He also has four top-10s in those starts, compiling an 8.0 average finish. McDowell will be driving for Joe Gibbs Racing this weekend, and in his start for JGR at Iowa earlier this year, he finished a career-best third. He knows the track and has excellent equipment. McDowell has a shot at pulling an upset this weekend.
Big Name to Avoid – 2012 U.S. Cellular 250 Odds, Predictions and Free Picks
Thanks to four finishes of sixth or better in his last five starts, Michael Annett has climbed to sixth in the Nationwide standings. However, his hot streak will be tested this weekend at an Iowa Speedway. Annett has finished in the top 15 in all five starts at the track, but he has just one top-10 finish and has never cracked the top five. Annett has proven he can produce respectable results at Iowa, but he is nowhere close to contending for the win.
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2012 U.S. Cellular 250 Odds – August 4th at Iowa Speedway.
Driver Odds to Win the 2012 U.S. Cellular 250
601 Ricky Stenhouse +200
602 Kurt Busch +250
603 Elliott Sadler +500
604 Austin Dillon +600
605 Sam Hornish Jr +1000
606 Michael McDowell +1000
607 Justin Allgaier +1200
608 Brendan Gaughan +1200
609 Jason Leffler +2000
610 James Buescher +2500
611 Field +800
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