NASCAR: AAA 400 Predictions and Betting Odds
by Christopher G. Shepard - 9/25/2010
Defending AAA 400 race champion Jimmie Johnson will start from the pole while Clint Bowyer, who won the Sylvania 300, will have to get over last weekend's 150-point penalty and relegation from second to 12th place by NASCAR officials after they discovered that his chassis exceeded NASCAR specifications, when the second race of the Chase for the Sprint Cup revs-up at the 'Monster Mile' this Sunday at 1:15 p.m. at Dover International Speedway.
Gamblers interested in investing in the outcome of the AAA 400 should note that only five of the 12 Chasers qualified inside the top 10; Denny Hamlin will start fourth, Greg Biffle sixth, Kurt Busch eighth, Carl Edwards 10th, and Johnson will start from the pole for the second time this year and the 25th time in his career. Johnson's team, Hendrick Motorsports, has won 12 times at Dover, more than any other team in the Sprint Cup.
Predictions on who will win the AAA 400?
The only thing better than coming in second at New Hampshire for Hamlin was news that NASCAR officials had docked first place winner Bowyer 150-points. This moved Bowyer from 35-points to 185-points behind the leader. There’s nothing better than having one of your 12 competitors eliminated with nine races to go. It will be interesting to see how Bowyer bounces back from this. He qualified at Dover 25th, so he will have a hard time at Dover getting off the schneid.
Meanwhile, it seems like the natural order of NASCAR is restoring itself as Johnson comes into one of his best tracks on the circuit and wins the pole for the AAA 400 in dominating fashion - by 2.1 seconds! Johnson eclipsed 157 mph, while his closest competition, A. J. Allmendinger, starting second only managed 155.642. In case you aren't aware of this significance, two seconds is an eternity in Sprint Cup so the advantage is soundly in the driver's seat for Johnson.
Johnson is currently 92-points out of first place, which puts a premium on winning at tracks he dominates. Johnson started his quest for another Sprint Cup by crashing twice and finishing the Sylvania 300 in 25th. However, the good times might be back for Johnson as he swept both races at Dover in 2002 and in '09. Kyle Busch won the spring race at Dover, putting an end to Johnson's three-peat. At Dover Johnson boasts five wins, seven top-fives and 11 top-10 finishes!
Hamlin will start the AAA 400 from fourth, and he'll look to increase his 45-point lead over Kevin Harvick, who moved up one spot in the Chase to second. Hamlin has had past success at Dover with two top-five finishes and three top-10s in nine starts. While Hamlin has never won at Dover, he was 22nd in this race last year and fourth in May. And after all of his big-talk this week about Bowyer, he'll have to race well because a lot of drivers are gunning for him and his cocky attitude.
Martin Truex Jr. loves racing at Dover and is the dark horse in this race. He will start third, and this is the site of his only Sprint Cup victory, although he has won in the Nationwide Series at Dover. Back in May he won the pole but finished 12th. Most offshore parlors did not have top-three odds listed by deadline, but if I had my druthers then Truex Jr., who should go off at about +800 to finish in the top-three, should be a great value play if your book has a top-three option available.
Kyle Busch moved up to third place in the Sprint Cup standings after finishing ninth at New Hampshire. Busch is 62-points behind Hamlin. Busch has won at Dover twice, including the Spring race this year and in June 2008. However -- and this is something to keep an eye on if you are planning on backing Kyle -- he's had a spate of bad finishes at Dover, including a 43rd in September 2008 and 23rd in June 2009. Busch is always a threat to win, but on Sunday it is Johnson's race to lose.
Pick! Jimmie Johnson, No. 48, +400
AAA 400 - Long Odds Lucky Dog Pick
Last Sunday my Lucky Dog pick, Clint Bowyer, won and paid 12/1. However, later in the week, after NASCAR officials inspected Bowyer's Richard Childress Racing No. 33, the car failed to pass inspection and Bowyer was docked 150 points -- effectively ending his hopes of winning the Sprint Cup this year. Bowyer was allowed to keep the win since NASCAR doesn't strip drivers of victories. Bowyer is now 185-points behind first place Hamlin.
Dover can be really unpredictable, so there are a few drivers I like to capture the checkers from the Long Odds position. However, the one driver that stands-out above all the others is Ryan Newman. Consider that in 17 starts at Dover Newman has dominated the competition with three wins and six top-five finishes. Newman has 10 top 10s and won the pole four times. Newman has been one of NASCAR's most consistent drivers at the one-mile oval, which is why he is my Lucky Dog long odds pick for the 'Monster Mile.' Newman will start the AAA 400 from 13th on the grid.
Pick! Ryan Newman, No. 39, +4000
AAA 400 - Odds to Win*
Dover International Speedway
September 26, 2010 1:15 pm EDT
J Johnson +415
D Hamlin +1300
J Gordon +1500
Kurt Busch +1400
Kyle Busch +425
J Burton +2000
K Harvick +1700
T Stewart +1400
C Edwards +1200
M Kenseth +1800
C Bowyer +2000
G Biffle +1400
R Newman +4000
K Kahne +2800
J McMurray +2200
J Montoya +2300
M Martin +4500
D Earnhardt Jr +7500
J Logano +3500
M Truex Jr +2900
D Reutimann +2800
AJ Allmendinger +2800
*Odds courtesy of 5dimes
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