Cup Series races to Sin City

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Two races into the newest NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and we’ve had a shocker for a winner and a victory by one of the usual suspects. This Sunday the circuit continues with some wide-open racing with a stop in Vegas for the running of the 400-mile Shelby American at “driver friendly” Las Vegas Motor Speedway (3 pm Eastern, Fox).

Longshot Jamie McMurray won the Daytona 500 two weeks ago, paying off at +4,000 at Oddsmaker.com. Last Sunday, four-time defending series champion Jimmie Johnson held off Kevin Harvick to win the Auto Club 500 at Fontana as a post-time +150 favorite at Oddsmaker.com.

Harvick, who went off at +1,500 on Oddsmaker.com’s Auto Club 500 betting board last Sunday, finished second; Jeff Burton, at +2,500, took third; Mark Martin, a co-second favorite at +800, finished fourth; and Joey Logano, at +7,500, placed fifth.

Last year at Vegas pole-winner Kyle Busch fended off Clint Bowyer late to win the Shelby 427. Burton showed third, David Reutimann ran fourth, and Bobby Labonte took fifth.

Carl Edwards won the Vegas event in 2008, and Johnson won at Vegas three times in a row from 2005-07. Matt Kenseth won there back-to-back in 2003-04, and Jeff Gordon took checkered at Vegas in 2001.

With JJ and Gordon in the cockpit, Chevies have won four of the last nine races at Las Vegas. And with Edwards and Kenseth, Fords have won three of those last nine Vegas events.

As of Thursday morning Oddsmaker.com has Johnson listed as the favorite to win Sunday’s race at +300. He’s followed by Martin, Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart at +600; Gordon and Denny Hamlin at +800; Harvick at +1,000; Edwards and Burton at +1,500; Bowyer, Kurt Busch, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Juan Pablo Montoya and Kasey Kahne at +2,000; Greg Biffle at +2,500; Kenseth at +3,000; McMurray at +4,000; Ryan Newman and Joey Logano at +6,000; Brian Vickers at +7,500; Reutimann at +10,000; and Martin Truex Jr., David Ragan, Marcos Ambrose, Brad Keselowski, Sam Hornish, Jr. and AJ Allmendinger at +12,500. And “The Field” is listed at +5,000.

Oddsmaker is also offering driver-vs.-driver action on Friday’s Shelby American qualifying (6:30 E, Speed).

Over the course of the 12 Cup races that have been run at LVMS, the winner has started from a top-five position three times, from a top-10 position five times, and from 21st or worst four times. Kenseth won at Vegas in 2004 after starting 25th.

And racing bettors should also take a look at Oddsmaker.com’s updated 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship betting board. Johnson, of course, tops the betting as of Thursday morning at +300, followed by, among others, Stewart at +600, Hamlin at +800, Montoya at +2,000, and McMurray at +4,000.

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