2021 Buschy McBusch Race 400 Picks
Last week, Brad Keselowski scored his 6th victory at Talladega Superspeedway, which tied the likes of Dale Earnhardt Jr and Jeff Gordon for the 2nd most career Cup Series victories at Talladega. The victory marked Keselowski's first win of a 2021 season that has produced nine different winners through the first ten races. On Sunday, NASCAR's Cup Series will be back in action with the running of the Buschy McBusch Race 400 at Kansas Speedway. Unlike last week's unpredictable spectacle at Talladega, this Sunday's event will mark the 4th race this season on 1.5 mile surfaces, and we will use that information to our betting advantage!
Despite being the most dominant driver this season, points leader Denny Hamlin is still searching for his 1st victory of the season despite 8 top 5 finishes. The good news for Hamlin is that he has conquered Kansas Speedway twice in the last three trips. Not only has Hamlin won 2 of the last three races at Kansas, but he was also in a prime position in last October's Hollywood Casino 400 following a stage 2 win. Unfortunately, Hamlin brushed the wall in the final stage, which led to an unscheduled pitstop and 15th place result. If not for the mistake, Hamlin could have made it three wins in a row at Kansas. Needless to say, Hamlin is likely the driver to beat going into Sunday's green flag following three straight dominant performances at Kansas combined with the superb performance the #11 team has shown all season.
While I firmly expect Hamlin to be in contention for the victory on Sunday, I believe odds-makers may not be giving enough credit to the Hendrick Motorsports drivers, especially in the likes of Kyle Larson (+800) and William Byron (+1600). While we have seen some struggles from Stewart-Haas Racing and even within Team Penske on the 1.5 mile tracks, Hendrick Motorsports cars have performed exceptionally well on the 1.5 mile surfaces this year. William Byron scored his 2nd career victory at Homestead earlier this season, and Kyle Larson captured his 1st victory of the season just a week later at Las Vegas. Kansas Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway share similar characteristics in layout and banking. Following a dominant victory at Las Vegas, I feel like Larson is a great pick again this week, and he is receiving better odds than the likes of Hamlin and Martin Truex.
If you look back to the Las Vegas race along with the rest of the 1.5 mile venues, William Byron and Christopher Bell share similar sentiments as drivers exceeding expectations and have the equipment to strike again. As stated before, Byron scored a surprising win at Homestead, and the #24 team has finished 8th or better in the seven races since Miami, which is the best among active drivers. Meanwhile, Christopher Bell is being elevated on my radar this week for multiple reasons. Bell is a former Xfinity Series winner at Kansas and drove the #95 car with Leavine Family Racing to a 10th place finish in last year's Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas as a rookie. With the improved equipment this year with Joe Gibbs Racing and current performance surrounding all of the JGR cars, I believe Bell will be among the surprise drivers at the front of the field on Sunday. Personally, I believe William Byron has the bigger potential to win the race. However, at 25-1 odds, Bell has some underdog value that cannot be ignored.
From a betting standpoint, I would recommend 1-2 underdog style plays this week. Kansas Speedway does not produce heavy tire wear like Homestead or Atlanta, which the Cup Series visited previously. The lack of tire wear puts a heavy emphasis on track position because passing can be difficult under this rules package which lacks overall horsepower at the bigger venues. Therefore, it would not be surprising to see drivers/teams gamble on late race pit stops, especially if there are only a handful of laps remaining. We saw a similar scenario unfold at Kentucky last year when Cole Custer cashed as a massive 100-1 winner, and with the growing parity in the Cup Series, another surprise winner would not be shocking this weekend. Therefore, be sure to add some betting value to your lineups in case an underdog strikes again!
Be sure to follow me at NASCARWagers.com for additional bets for the Buschy McBusch 400 along with all of this weekend's races at Kansas Speedway