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Even though Kurt Busch was involved in an accident during Friday’s practice, I still think he’s got a great shot of winning this race.

He took the least punishment of the five cars involved and won’t have to go to a back-up like the others have to. I also like Clint Bowyer, Jamie McMurray and Jeff Burton to have a great showing in this race and they all have excellent odds.

The matchup I would go after is Jeff Burton at pick ’em against Brad Keselowski, and not just because Keselowski is using a back-up car – likely the Daytona 500 back-up car. It is more because I think Burton has a great shot at winning and running up front for most of the race. Of all the matchups on the board, this one stands out the most.

As with any plate race, the best advice is to look at playing almost all of the match-ups that are showing plus-money. These type of races – especially a non-points plate race – are too much of a crap shoot to have anyone favored too much.

Matchup of the week:

JEFF BURTON -110 vs. Brad Keselowski

Odds to win Selections:

Kurt Busch 20-1, Clint Bowyer 25-1, Jeff Burton 20-1 and Jamie McMurray 18-1

Practice Notes

The main goal from Friday’s Budweiser Shootout practices was to see how the new changes would affect the two-car tandem racing. Would it still remain that the fastest way around the track with with two-cars bumper to bumper or would pack racing come back as the quickest way.

Those answers weren’t clearly discovered, but we did learn that a few changes did help create the five-car crash towards the end of practice. Non-teammate drivers weren’t allowed to communicate with each other like last year and the constant movement behind a driver’s bumper to cool off their smaller radiators helped cause the wreck.

Perhaps NASCAR wanted it that way so the drivers understand the repercussions of staying too close and hope they’ll be cautious and police it themselves.

Either way, it should make for an exciting race Saturday night.



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