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  • Writer's pictureByrds

Sonoma Means Road Courses Are Back For Cup

We take Cup & Trucks to Sonoma this week. Two road courses in the next three weekends means right and left turns are available options.

Gateway went well for subs, with the Any Ford to Win bet at +430 early week hitting and 4-0 on matchups. Nailed it. Would have preferred a Briscoe or Blaney win to Logano, but can't get too greedy.

This week, we get the two mile or so road course in northern California, this time without the "most of a circle" Carousel Turn. That makes the track shorter and straighter and a little more advantageous to whichever team we think still has a meaningful horsepower advantage.

Cup runs Sunday, Trucks Saturday with no rain expected either day.

Five full-time Cup drivers will run Trucks, and you'd expect the cream of those (Bowman, Chastain & Kyle Busch) to be the top favorites when odds finally hit. Including those guys, only a dozen in the Trucks field have ever run meaningful laps here. Could be a mess.

In Cup, we rolled out our early DARTs and best deals on price Monday night. Remember, buy numbers and not drivers at that point.

Larson (+800 at BS), Allmendinger (+1400 at CZR) are too cheap. Chastain is just about right (+1200 FD & DK).

Byron is a play on massive CLV when his qualifying speed will likely cut his +3000 price in half.

Bell is a deal if you can get him at CZR at +1800.

Reddick and Cindric and Briscoe could all be great in qualifying as well.........but do not have big track time or success on their resume here. Tread lightly.

Kyle Busch has won here three times and will probably be coming off a Trucks win for Sunday. Love him and Logano and maybe even Hamlin for Top 5s if priced well. Logano even feels cheap at +2000 to Win if you have Barstool or PointsBet. Is coming off the Gateway win and strengthening the pre-season prop bet we gave out to win the Championship.

Only early matchup we loved early was the Allmendinger > Cindric one, long as it hasn't gotten pricier than -120.

Season long obsession with Erik Jones continues, either in matchups or soft pricing for a Top 10.

So, why are we in love with Larson & Allmendinger?

Well, the early fave Chase Elliott is priced at +600 or more expensive and has never won here or out-qualified Larson.

Last year, as he kicked off his ownership of Summer 2021, Larson did this at Sonoma........won the pole, led 57 laps, won the race. Elliott was second.

Before that? Larson won the pole in 2017....and 2018....and 2019 at Sonoma. Wasn't favored last year either.

Larson also qualified 4th in 2016 and 2015. In his first race here, he qualified 3rd. That was 2014.

Larson has run here 7 times, won four poles and had an average starting spot of 2.14

Literally cannot think of such a dominating performance by anyone at a track on Pole Day in recent years.

Road courses are won by track position, and starting first is a great way to do it. So a pole bet on Larson might not be a bad idea either.

Elliott only has led a significant number of laps here last year.....when he came in second to Larson. He's good on road courses, but it feels like his strength is more to the Rovals, the flatter road courses held on the infields of Indy & Charlotte. You could bet both these guys for Top 3s or Top 5s and feel fairly safe. But Larson is a far better deal at +800 than Elliott is at +600.

The only guy regularly better on road courses than these two above is Xfinity regular AJ Allmendinger. Allmendinger used to run Cup and have success here. But his Kaulig equipment may be just a tick behind the Hendrick Chevys. He is a technical whiz.

In addition to ten road course NASCAR wins, AJ has always been like Larson at amazing qualifier.

Qualified 2nd in 2014, on the pole in 2015, qualified second & led 20 laps in 2016, qualified 5th & led laps in 2017, qualified 5th and led laps in 2018. You get it.

He's as expensive as +900, but you can get +1400 at CZR right now. Converts to a +200 for a Top 5 most likely.

There was no race here in 2020, which meant no punishment for Kyle Larson in missing one of his best tracks.

But, it also means that some of the young guys we have been betting nearly every week as longer shots have little or no experience here. Reddick, Briscoe and Bell each have just one race here. Cindric has never run a race here. Chastain has only run twice, a 7th last year and a crowd-pleasing 33rd years before.

Will Byron has been awful for six weeks after winning twice early this year, but he looks a lot like the template of a young Larson or Allmendinger. He's qualified Top3 the last two Sonoma races, led laps and had bad finishes. The speed is there. That's why we nibble him at +3000 and for Top 5/10 this week.

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