500 fairy talesuits Junior

January 29, 2008 2:06 AM
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Two weeks ago the NASCAR season unofficially started when the teams all tested at Daytona as a prelude to Daytona Speedweeks.

The test sessions are always a help for each team because they can attempt different set ups to maximize speed for the biggest race of the season, the Daytona 500. For the bettor that likes to make a few wagers at the Nevada Sports Books, the test sessions were also an opportunity to get a jump start on the odds.

Every year preseason Daytona sessions offer a glimpse of someone that may have a shot at running well that normally doesn’t. The big money teams of Rick Hendrick and Joe Gibbs are expected to be the teams to beat. Every so often someone comes out of nowhere and not only runs well, but can actually win the race. It happened in 2002 when Ward Burton won after opening anywhere from 25-1 to 50-1.

Burton’s victory made for a nice payday for several bettors, who utilized all their information gained to their advantage. Just like any other sport that you can wager on, information is the absolute key to success.

Toyotas really fast!

Any questions about how the Toyota would fare in its second season on the NASCAR tour were answered with a resounding exclamation point. During the Daytona test sessions, Toyota had five of the six top single car speeds and 10 of the top 15. Those speeds are reminiscent of what Chevy has done in all plate races the last eight seasons. Much of the accolades from the manufacturer can go directly to Gibbs for trading his Chevys in for Toyotas.

The Gibbs operation has offered assistance to every Toyota team and shared the wealth of knowledge they possess in areas like maximizing horsepower and aerodynamics. Last season, the Toyota teams came limping into Daytona with virtually no testing and had little success the entire season. Look for that to all change. Toyota is likely to win at least six races.

Junior set for Daytona

Dale Earnhardt Jr was fastest during the testing and will be tough to beat. He has been placed as the 6-1 favorite to win. The story is just too perfect; it’s almost like a fairy tale. He moves out of the wicked stepmother’s house after being mistreated and finds knowledge, wisdom, and a fast car. This under the tutelage of the wisest, richest person in all the universe. After learning how to properly deal with the mistreatment, young Grasshopper takes his first opportunity to show just how good he really is.

Translation of this bad fictitious tale? Rick Hendrick gives Junior all the tools he needs to show Teresa Earnhardt she really messed up by letting him go. He then he goes on to win the Daytona 500 and Junior Nation goes wild. It sounds too good to be true, but I’m kind of believing it’s going to happen.

Drivers to watch

Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Junior, and Tony Stewart are the ones to beat. The fun part now is identifying possible long shots. On the list: Casey Mears at 22-1, Kyle Busch (18-1), Kasey Kahne (50-1), Dario Franchitti (85-1), Dave Blaney (100-1) and Michael Waltrip (125-1).

Vegas testing this week!

Monday and Tuesday the Cup teams will be testing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Wednesday and Thursday the Nationwide Series, formally known as the Busch Series, will be testing. For the Cup series the sessions will be pivotal because the current car has never raced on a high-banked 1.5-mile track. Last season, the car known as the "Car of Tomorrow," raced on every type of track except the intermediates. The data accumulated during the two days will be utilized at all the intermediates, which account for nearly half the races on the season.

Needless to say, being fast on these tracks is the key to winning the season title. Guess what tracks Johnson dominated over the last two season? How did Jack Roush get titles with Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch? The answer is being consistent the intermediate tracks. The team that gets their act together quickest with the new car will have the early advantage on a Championship.

As always with the testing at Vegas, admission is free.

NASCAR contest

There is a rumor that the Fiesta properties on Rancho and Henderson will jointly offer a contest that is exclusively based on each NASCAR Cup race. The prize for winning the contest is said to be at least five figures. When all the details are announced, we’ll update you with the particulars.

Ten years ago no one would have ever dreamed of doing something like that. Today, it’s a testament to how popular the sport has become and how major populace of Nevada bettors have shown the Sports Books weekly that they like NASCAR.

TOP 500 TEST SPEEDS

1. Dale Earnhardt 185.820
2. Dave Blaney 185.445
3. Michael Waltrip 185,357
4. Brian Vickers 185.307
5. Dale Jarrett 185.292
6. Tony Stewart 185.094
7. Jimmie Johnson 184.782
8. Dario Franchitti 184.737
9. Casey Mears 184.574 
10. Denny Hamlin 184.555
11. Jacques Villeneuve 184.456
12. Travis Kvapil 184.143
13. Kyle Busch 184.064 
14. A.J. Allmendinger 184.049
15. J.J. Yeley 183.857
16. David Gilliland 183.835
17. Jeff Gordon 183.809 
18. Ryan Newman 183.572
19. David Reutimann  183.512
20. Bill Elliott 183.408