A big wreck helped produce an unlikely winner in NASCAR’s 2011 Sprint Cup season opener last week at Daytona. This Sunday the circuit and racing bettors will look for more of the same kind of excitement as the teams head cross-country to the desert Southwest for the running of the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway (3 pm Eastern, Fox).
Rookie Trevor Bayne, making just his second career Sprint Cup start last Sunday, took advantage of an early crash that messed up the plans of several of the top drivers and won the Daytona 500. In doing so Bayne paid off at odds of +2,500 on Oddsmaker.com’s Daytona 500 betting board as part of â€œThe Field.â€
Carl Edwards, at +1,500, ran second last Sunday; David Gilliland, another entry in The Field, finished third; Bobby Labonte, at +7,500, took fourth; and Kurt Busch, at +800, placed fifth.
Last week’s favorite, five-time defending series champion Jimmie Johnson at +300, got caught up in that big one on lap 28 and ended up finishing 27th. Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick, both listed at +600, finished 13th and 42nd, respectively. And Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon, both off at +800, finished eighth and 28th.
Last April Ryan Newman took the lead on a late re-start and won the spring race at Phoenix. Gordon, Johnson, Mark Martin and Juan Pablo Montoya rounded out the top five.
Then in November Edwards won the pole and the Phoenix fall race, the Kobalt Tools 500. Newman, Joey Logano, Greg Biffle and Johnson finished 2-5.
Over the last 10 races at Phoenix Johnson has won four times and finished in the top-5 five other times, for an average finish of 2.9. Martin, with a win and three other top-5s, is second over that span with an average Phoenix finish of 7.2. Edwards, with a win and four other top-5s, comes next at 10.4, and Denny Hamlin, with five top-5s, follows at 11.5.
As of Thursday morning Oddsmaker.com is listing Johnson and Hamlin as co-favorites to win Sunday’s race at +500. Kyle Busch and Edwards come next at +700, followed by Kevin Harvick, Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart at +1,200; Biffle at +1,500; Kurt Busch at +1,800; Martin, Matt Kenseth and Clint Bowyer at +2,000; Jeff Burton, Newman, Jamie McMurray and Logano at +2,500; Montoya at +3,000; a couple of Juniors, Earnhardt and Truex, at +4,000; A.J. Allmendinger, Kasey Kahne, Brian Vickers and David Reutimann at +5,000; Bayne, Paul Menard, Brad Keselowski and David Ragan at +10,000; Labonte at +20,000; Marcos Ambrose and Regan Smith at +30,000; Gilliland at +50,000; and The Field, last week’s winner, is being offered at +10,000 (100/1).
Oddsmaker is also offering driver-vs.-driver betting matchups for Friday’s qualifying, and will be lining up similar offerings for Sunday’s race. And gearheads might also want to peruse Oddsmaker.com’s updated 2011 Sprint Cup championship betting board for some futures action.