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NASCAR SpongeBob SquarePants 400 Betting Preview
You have to love the name of some of these NASCAR Sprint Cup races and this Saturday night's stop in Kansas is the SpongeBob SquarePants 400. It's possible this race could be pushed to Sunday, however, because of severe weather. Unlike the steady rain that delayed racing a day at Richmond Motor Speedway two weeks ago, the weather that is expected at Kansas Speedway on Saturday could produce high winds, large hail, and possible tornadoes.
Need To Know
The 1.5-mile tri-oval is one of the newer additions to the schedule, hosting its first Cup event in 2001, but Saturday’s race will already be the fourth of the season at a 1.5-mile oval. It's smart to look back at the results from Atlanta, Las Vegas and Texas to help set decide your wagers.
Eight different drivers have won the first 10 Sprint Cup races of the season, but those numbers suggesting parity are slightly skewed. Six of the races – the ones on restrictor-plate and short tracks – aren't affected as much by the NASCAR's 2015 rules package. For the second time this season, NASCAR runs back-to-back races on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks. In Weeks 2 and 3 of 2015, the Folds of Honor Quik Trip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway and the Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway allowed eight drivers to develop momentum and score back-to-back Top-10s.
Kevin Harvick was on his incredible run of first- and second-place finishes—and wound up taking the trophy at Vegas after narrowly missing at Atlanta. Dale Earnhardt Jr. also scored consecutive top-fives, while Joey Logano, Matt Kenseth, Martin Truex Jr., AJ Allmendinger, Brad Keselowski, and Ryan Newman backed up one top-10 with another.
Kevin Harvick (7/2): Even though Jimmie Johnson has won two of the three races on 1.5-mile tracks so far, and is a two-time Kansas winner, it's Harvick who opens as the top betting choice. Harvick still has a blistering 6.6 average finish through the series' first 10 races. With the circuit hitting an intermediate track, Harvick will certainly top the list of favorites. He has won three straight pole awards at Kansas and has finished no lower than 12th in his past nine races there. Harvick also has the most green flag passes (1,000) in the loop data era.
Jimmie Johnson (6/1): Since a poor showing at one of his better tracks in Martinsville, Johnson has a win, two runner-up finishes and an average finish of 2.0 in the ensuing four races. Some of those results came at tracks that aren't remotely close to being the 48 team's best. Now, Johnson heads to a Kansas track where he has the best average finish among drivers with at least three starts (9.5) and the most laps led (586).
Brad Keselowski (8/1): After six straight top 10s, Keselowski fell off the last three. Perhaps Kansas comes at a great time for the 2012 champion. The 1.5-mile track is his fifth-best in terms of average finish (13.1), although his last three finishes there have been no better than 13th place.
Joey Logano (8/1): Logano was caught up in a 15-car wreck at Talladega last week and ultimately ended up with his second finish of 33rd or worse in the past three races. Still, the 22 team has shown speed all year and the Penske program has feasted on intermediate tracks. Logano was the winner of the fall race at Kansas and has three straight top-four finishes there.
Jeff Gordon (8/1): Perhaps a return to the track where he got the first of his four wins last year will help him reach Victory Lane. Also of note, Gordon won the first two Sprint Cup events at Kansas Speedway. He's still looking for a top-five finish on this type of track this season.
Number of previous races: 18.
First Sprint Cup race: September 30, 2001, won by Jeff Gordon.
Last Sprint Cup race: October 5, 2014, won by Joey Logano.
Won from pole: 4, last time by Kevin Harvick in 2013.
Won from top-5 starting position: 9 times in 18 races (50%).
Won from top-10 starting position: 11 times (61%).
Won from 21st or worse starting position: 2 times (11%).
Worst starting spot for race winner: 25th, by Brad Keselowski in 2011.
Most laps led: 197, by Jimmie Johnson in 2011.
Fewest laps led by a race winner: 5, by Tony Stewart in 2006.
Fastest race: 144.122 mph by Denny Hamlin in 2012.
Fastest qualifying speed: 197.621 mph by Kevin Harvick in 2014.
Most lead changes: 26 in 2009.
Closest finish: Joe Nemechek's .081 second margin over Ricky Rudd in 2004.
Most caution flags: 15 in 2013.
From 2010-2014 a typical Kansas race had 19.2 lead changes, 8.0 cautions for 38.6 laps, and an average green-flag run of 25.5 laps.
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