Longshot trend will run its course

Jun 26, 2001 10:45 AM

Tony Stewart’s win last week was a sign of good things to come for NASCAR bettors. After a tumultuous start to the season for many bettors of the relatively new wagering phenomenon, things have started to balance themselves.

Five of the first nine winners on the season were the unlikliest of candidates to win amongst all the big names in NASCAR. Drivers like Michael Waltrip (50-1 at Daytona), Kevin Harvick (50-1 at Atlanta), Steve Park (25-1 at Rockingham), Elliot Sadler (125-1 at Bristol), and Bobby Hamilton (45-1 at Talladega) made it tough for some of the regular bettors who use formulas and trends to figure out a way to make a profit.

It’s been proven over the last few years that some of these formulas can be very profitable. Last year was an extreme example of the predictable natures in NASCAR wagering. It seemed week after week that drivers who showed one of two key ingredients prior to the race were the ones to bet on. The first was prior experience and performances on a track and the second being happy hour times, which are the last testing sessions prior to that week’s race.

Past performances are the oddsmakers key in determining the placement of drivers odds every week. Usually there will be about seven or eight drivers who have shown something on a certain track that make them ones to look for. Following Saturday’s Happy Hour, it can be narrowed down even further. The test speeds under simulated race conditions show the bettor who will be fast the next day.

With all the longshots winning to start the season, reasons and explanations were numerous as to why things were so out of whack compared to seasons past. Reasons such as the new Goodyear tires, parity, and changing of the guard were used frequently, all of which were justifiable. We saw teams finding themselves such as Jeff Gordon’s, who have now shown they are here to stay on top a while. Elliott Sadler stayed on a set of tires for what seemed an eternity at Bristol to get his first career win. We saw an emotional win for the up and comer Harvick, and also witnessed two also-rans win the Superspeedway races with the new aero-package.

The last seven races have been back to the basics with little surprises, giving bettors across the world a sigh of relief. Gordon has been a major factor along with the resurgence of Stewart. Drivers are now holding true to past performances and happy hour times have once again been key. So advice to all the bettors out there are to stay the course and don’t let the early-season debacle deter your betting styles and tendencies. Stay consistent in betting theory and you’ll show a profit.

This week the drivers have a week off, their third and last of the season before next week’s Pepsi 400 at Daytona. The drivers have only completed 16 races with 20 to go”¦Nice scheduling!

The IRL rolls into uncharted territory, visiting Richmond International Raceway this Saturday night. This will be the first venture by any Indy racing circuit on a short track, which could produce the most exciting IRL race ever. The ¾-mile track is famous for it’s paint-rubbing in the NASCAR series. It will be interesting to see how the open wheel cars maneuver in such tight configurations. The top lap posted by a Winston Cup driver at Richmond was Gordon’s126 mph. The IRL’s top speed was 164 mph in a practice session by Greg Ray.

The key to winning this race will be staying out of trouble. The fastest car in practice is likely not to win. The smartest and luckiest driver will win. Lapped traffic will be a burden for much of the race and it will take a patient, experienced driver to stay out there long enough. Drivers like Eddie Cheever (8-1), Sam Hornish (4-1), and Buddy Lazier (5-1) fit those characteristics.

The Milwaukee Mile hosts NASCAR’s Busch and Truck Series this weekend. Las Vegan Kurt Busch, who won last year at Milwaukee, will be making an appearance for Roush Racing. Harvick continues his double duty as well, leading the Busch series in points. Harvick’s team has said they will run every Busch race with their top driver.