NASCAR Betting: Harvick and Hamlin Will Be Challenged in Kentucky
Kentucky Speedway, located in Sparta, will play host to the Quaker State 400 on Fox Sports 1. And it is coming with a change of time and day.
It was originally slated to get underway on Saturday night at 7:30 PM ET. But that has now been pushed back to Sunday (July 12) at 2:30 PM ET. Of course, the race will be run without fans, and the random draw has determined starting positions.
About the Track
This is not one of the “traditional” courses on the NASCAR circuit, as it was opened in 2000. So there have not been many Cup races on the 1.5-mile tri-oval, with the first having taken place in 2011.
Sparta, which is a little less than 60 miles from Louisville, is not a growth area; in fact, there were only 231 inhabitants as of the last census. That represented an increase of one person over the census previous to that. So you might say this is the only game in town.
And there will be four days of events since there were two Xfinity Series races scheduled – the Kentucky 200 and the Alsco 300. There is also a truck race and an ARCA Menards Series race. Everything will be shown on FS1.
Starting Positions Favor Past Winner
Kyle Busch, who has eight race wins in Sparta (across all levels) will have the pole, with Joey Logano alongside him. Kevin Harvick – coming off a win at the Brickyard 400 last week – and Aric Armirola are in the second row. Jimmie Johnson (+3300), who is returning after missing last week due to COVID-19, starts 20th. Denny Hamlin, with four wins this season, is in the #12 position. And Bubba Wallace starts 18th.
Here are the numbers….
According to our friends at BetAnySports, here are the odds for the top ten drivers at the Quaker State 400:
2020 Quaker State 400 Odds to Win
|Martin Truex Jr||+750|
What about the two big dogs?
Much of what happened at Indy wasn’t at all unexpected. It became a story of Harvick and Denny Hamlin once again battling for the US sportsbook win, as they have been all season. Unfortunately for Hamlin, he blew a tire very late and skidded into the wall. That ended matters for him while he was in the lead, and that became another downer as he has never won at that track.
Harvick, however, has no such dilemma. He won the Brickyard last year and surged to the head of the pack and drew away to win for the second straight year. And now he and Hamlin have four race wins apiece. So that is what it looks like. And if these two drivers aren’t right up near the lead this week in Kentucky, it would probably be a surprise. That having been said, neither of them has won a Cup race at this track.
Truex and Bad Brad could be trouble in the Quaker State 400
But Martin Truex may be right in the mix this week. Last week he was no factor, but he’s almost never been at Indianapolis, as he had just one top-five finish in 15 starts. But he has won at Kentucky in two of the last three years (2017, 2018). He’ll start ninth.
Brad Keselowski, who will start in the #6 spot, has three victories there as well. If you believe in the concept that familiarity and past performance is a big factor, then you have to respect both Truex and Keselowski. And we say this despite the fact that Harvick and Hamlin are clearly the dominant drivers on the circuit right now.
Once again, politics will have a place. Corey Lajoie (starting 27th) will be promoting Trump 2020 with his car, while Wallace, of course, is in a “Black Lives Matter” vehicle.
The case for Harvick and Kyle?
One thing you can say for Harvick’s chances is that his team, Joe Gibbs Racing, has won this event five of the nine times it has been contested. Kyle Busch has some mastery on the course. In fact, he reached the winner’s circle twice in the Quaker State 400, in addition to victories in the Xfinity and truck series. But last season he was outrun by his brother Kurt in overtime.
That defeat really smarted for Kyle, who traveled to the race with his brother in a private plane but then left him stranded afterward. Interestingly, Kurt Busch is listed as a longshot in this race at +2500.
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