2011 Royal Purple 200 Vegas Odds, Free Picks and Predictions – Favorites and Drivers to Bet On: Darlington Raceway is one of the most famous tracks in NASCAR, and it is one track where every driver wants to win. The sentiment carries over into the Nationwide Series as well, and the race is always loaded with big names from the Cup Series who are looking to get to Victory Lane at NASCAR’s original superspeedway. There will be no shortage of elite options for bettors to chose from this weekend.
Last year, Denny Hamlin was the class of a stacked starting lineup. He started on the pole and led 111 of the 147 laps on his way to his third win in as many starts at Darlington. His only real challenge came from his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch, who led 17 laps and finished second. Cup drivers ruled the night, grabbing four of the top-five spots and nine of the top-10. Nationwide regular Jason Leffler prevented a clean sweep for the big names, notching a fifth-place finish.
He pulled off a weekend sweep and a Nationwide Series three-peat with his win at Darlington last year, and Denny Hamlin is back for more. He has compiled a ridiculous 3.6 average finish in five starts at the track, and he has never finished outside the top-10. Bettors have to consider him the overall favorite heading into this weekend’s race.
Take away a dead-last finish at Darlington in 2008, and Carl Edwards has actually been pretty good at the track. He has finished 11th or better in his other five starts, including a pair of third-place finishes. He hasn’t won at the track, but he has been getting better. More importantly, the Ford teams have been running well in 2011, allowing Edwards to win races on a consistent basis.
He finished second in his track debut in 2003, but Kyle Busch went through quite a slump at Darlington until last year. He finished second in the 2010 race, marking his first top-five finish at the track since his first start. Busch is still looking for his first Nationwide win at Darlington, but bettors should know by now that he is always a threat to win in this series.
The Dark Horses
In six of his last seven starts at Darlington, Kasey Kahne has finished 11th or better. In last year’s race at the track, he has finished a career-best fourth. Kahne doesn’t make many starts in the Nationwide Series, but he tends to make the most of the ones he does make. Bettors looking for a big name lurking in the background should definitely consider Kahne.
He has yet to finish in the top-five at Darlington, but Brad Keselowski has been getting better with every start at the track. After wrecking in his debut, he has finished 15th, 11th and seventh in his last three starts. Keselowski is one of the top drivers in the series and is the defending series champ. He is more than capable of continuing his trend of improvement all the way to Victory Lane.
As mentioned in the introduction, Jason Leffler was the only Nationwide regular able to crash the Cup party at Darlington last season, and it is something he has been doing with regularity. He has compiled a 7.7 average finish in six starts and has never finished outside the top-15. Leffler has finished in the top-10 in five straight starts at Darlington, including back-to-back top-five finishes. He is one driver that could pull off an upset.
Some drivers just seem to find instant success at certain tracks, and that has been the case for Justin Allgaier at Darlington. He finished fifth in his track debut in 2009, and he had a top-five car again last year. Allgaier was running third when a late caution came out. He got loose on the restart and ended up 17th, but he led 10 laps that night and had a much better car than his finish suggests. Allgaier is more than capable of hanging with the big boys.
Big Names to Avoid
He has finished as high as second at Darlington, but Clint Bowyer has been up and down at the track throughout his career. In six starts, he has three top-10 finishes, along with three races when he wasn’t a factor. Compared to the other big names in this race, Bowyer is the driver with the most question marks.
The “Lady in Black” has been known to be tough on young drivers, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. knows that all too well. He really struggled in his Darlington debut last season before ultimately wrecking and finishing 37th. Stenhouse Jr. is having a strong sophomore season, but he is more than a year away from being a contender at this track.
Odds to win the Royal Purple 200 – Darlington Raceway – Friday, May 6, 2011
801 Aric Almirola +1800
802 Brad Keselowski +700
803 Carl Edwards +400
804 Clint Bowyer +750
805 Denny Hamlin +250
806 Elliot Sadler +2000
807 Jason Leffler +3000
808 Justin Allgaier +1200
809 Kasey Kahne +750
810 Kyle Busch +200
811 Reed Sorenson +2000
812 Ricky Stenhouse +1200
813 Field (Any Other Driver)
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