Race Weekend Central

Bettin’ the Horsepower: Sleepers Everywhere at Sonoma

Trying to predict a road-course race is a near impossible feat, as you have to factor in road-course ringers, attrition and fuel mileage. Just about anybody can win, and every shift and every corner can be your last. It’s a fun change of pace and a fun race to bet on, as often times good drivers can be had at better than usual odds.

Such is the case this weekend, as several of the sport’s title contenders are not favorites for one of the few times on the Sprint Cup calendar. There is a lot of money to be won this weekend, and hopefully this guide can help translate to a pay out Sunday evening.

Note: The following odds are odds to win, on average from various sportsbooks as of Thursday a.m. (June 17).

Solid Bets

Juan Pablo Montoya (6/1): There’s no denying his road-course experience and he has yet to finish worse than sixth in three starts at Sonoma. Will undoubtedly be in contention Sunday as long as he keeps his nose clean.

Marcos Ambrose (6/1): Could be the fastest driver on the circuit right now when it comes to the road courses and finished third at this track last season. Will be very strong again this weekend.

Tony Stewart (6/1): May not have the fancy road-course background guys like Ambrose or Montoya have, but what Stewart has is amazing car control and the best average finish at Sonoma over the past decade. With Stewart you know what you get – a top 10 with the potential for a win.

See also
Frontstretch Fantasy Insider: Mark Martin & Tony Stewart Will Be NASCAR Kings of the Road

Jeff Gordon (6/1): The all-time wins leader at Infineon is similar to Stewart in that he’ll be in the top 10 with an opportunity for victory lane. You might be a little concerned, however, about the No. 24 team’s inability to collect a win lately.

Robby Gordon (18/1): Is always extremely fast, but always seems to run into some sort of problem on race day. That doesn’t bother me this weekend though, as at 18/1 he has just as good of a shot to win as anyone.

Clint Bowyer (30/1): Bowyer may have yet to lead a lap in four starts at Sonoma, but he has three top 10s in four starts and at 30/1 that’s the type of numbers you are looking for. A great sleeper pick this weekend.

Mark Martin (40/1): With 13 top 10s in 19 starts, Martin knows how to get around the windy road course in California. He hasn’t had a good start to 2010, but do I like him to win at 40/1? Heck yeah.

Watch the Odds/Practice Speeds

Kyle Busch (7/1): Is really good at the road courses, but doesn’t necessarily have the odds I’d like to have him at this weekend. If I could have him at slightly better odds I’d take him, but he’s not quite in the class with Montoya, Ambrose, Stewart and Gordon right now.

Denny Hamlin (12/1): He led 33 laps in this event last year, but in his previous three starts at Sonoma his best finish was 10th. He’s red hot, but I’d shy away from him this weekend as there are plenty of better bets to be had.

Carl Edwards (30/1): Two top 10s in five starts. Could easily have a solid run, but I don’t like him to win.

Jimmie Johnson (18/1): Johnson shows flashes of brilliance on the road courses, but with an average finish of 17.4 in eight starts at Sonoma, I’d look elsewhere.

Kasey Kahne (25/1): Won this event last season, but was dreadful in his previous starts at Sonoma. He had his best run in a while last week at Michigan and could carry that over to Sunday. At 25/1 why not take a shot?

Kurt Busch (20/1): Three top fives, but five finishes of 20th or worse is too inconsistent for my liking.

AJ Allmendinger (50/1): A former road-course racer who knows his way around Sonoma and is worth a flier on Sunday.

Stay Away From…

Mattias Ekstrom (25/1): Little is known about Ekstrom, but he is in a strong car – the No. 83 Red Bull Racing entry. I just don’t see him winning in his first start, no matter how he looks this weekend in practice.

Kevin Harvick (15/1): With just two top-10 finishes in nine starts I’d shy away from Harvick this weekend.

Jamie McMurray (25/1): Just one top 10 in seven starts. No thanks.

Boris Said (30/1): The most famous ringer may be extremely talented when it comes to turning right, but on race day he has struggled with just four top 10s and zero top fives in 10 starts at Sonoma.

Scott Speed (50/1): Grew up an open-wheeler who competed at road courses all over the world, but simply won’t win Sunday.

Field (9/1): I never like betting the field.

About the author

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The Frontstretch Staff is made up of a group of talented men and women spread out all over the United States and Canada. Residing in 15 states throughout the country, plus Ontario, and widely ranging in age, the staff showcases a wide variety of diverse opinions that will keep you coming back for more week in and week out.

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