Pennzoil 400 Picks, Odds & Predictions 2/23/2020
Race: Pennzoil 400
Date: Sunday, February 23, 2020
Location: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
After a scary finish to the Daytona 500, NASCAR is moving on to the
Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube in Las Vegas.
From the fender to fender, tight bumper to bumper race in Daytona, to the 1.5-mile, wide open track at Las Vegas, drivers will be looking forward to a race that should be a little less crazy with (hopefully) far less crashes. In terms of betting, this race will be different than last week because in Daytona, you might have bet on the long shots because we knew crashes were going to create some chaos. In the race at Las Vegas, you'll be looking to pinpoint the faster cars because there aren't likely to be as many lead changes in this race.
Fans of the sport are still reeling from the ending of the Daytona 500 which saw Ryan Newman being involved in a terrible crash on the last lap of race. With one lap to go, Ryan Blaney gave Newman a push to overtake Danny Hamlin for first place. With Newman in front, Hamlin returned the favor in giving a Blaney a push, but Newman moved out in front and was clipped. This caused a horrific looking crash that put Newman in the hospital as he slid across the finish line. The good news is that Newman is talking to his family and the injuries look non-life threatening. That said, all we can do is move on to the next one and keep hoping for the best with Newman.
Denny Hamlin finished this race in first by inches over Ryan Blaney. Rounding out the top ten in this one in order from 3rd to 10th was Chris Buescher, David Ragan, Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Brendan Gaughan, Corey LaJoie, Ryan Newman and Kyle Larson.
In terms of who led the most laps in this one, Hamlin leads the way with 79. This was followed by Brad Keselowski with 30 laps led, Ricky Stenhouse Jr with 24, Chase Elliott with 23, Ryan Newman with 15 and Kyle Busch with 14.
Hamlin started the race conservatively with a drop to the rear to save fuel for later in the race. This move ended up allowing Hamlin to make up track position for the beginning of the second stage of the race. He used that track position to lead the pack and win the second stage of the race and ended up being the strongest racer in the group to the end of the race with the second tightest win margin in the history of the Daytona 500. The other win is owned by Hamlin as well. Hamlin has yet to take home victory in Las Vegas, but he does have seven top 10 finishes in his 16 career starts there.
Ryan Blaney will be looking to make some adjustments after finishing second in this race. He wasn't able to do as well as his teammates last season, but he started the season off right this year by outlasting all his teammates in the Daytona 500. He overcame contact that ended up dooming his teammates and through the race distance in the draft, he was one of the top Ford cars out there. In his last four races in Las Vegas, Blaney has three top five finishes and won the pole in 2018.
Odds for the Pennzoil 400 are as follows:
Kyle Busch 9-2
Kevin Harvick 9-2
Martin Truex Jr. 5-1
Brad Keselowski 6-1
Joey Logano 7-1
Denny Hamlin 10-1
Kyle Larson 10-1
Chase Elliott 14-1
Ryan Blaney 20-1
Kurt Busch 30-1
Erik Jones 30-1
Alex Bowman 30-1
William Byron 30-1
When discussing the favorites, here are the top guys to watch:
Kyle Busch has 9-2 odds to win this race and is a Las Vegas native. While he had a car that could have won the Daytona 500, his chances came undone with just miles to go. He suffered mechanical failure with only 20 laps left to race and it ended up causing him drop points. That said, he'll be coming into this race with renewed hopes. His hopes for a championship start this week and Las Vegas looks to be a great spot to get started. In his last five starts at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Busch has one win and three top 10 finishes.
Kevin Harvick started the season well even though he started off the Daytona 500 with some adversity. He took some rear fender damage in stage two which took away his shot at a win. However, he was able to scrap back in the final laps to finish 5th. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver was able to fight back to get valuable points. He'll be looking to get his first win of the season in Las Vegas this weekend. The traditional 1.5-mile track is a welcomed change from last week. He has two wins prior on this track. He also started and finished in the top four last season on this track. Watch for Harvick to make some moves this weekend.
Who will win the Pennzoil 400?
Josh's Pick: Take Kevin Harvick (9/2)
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