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2006 NASCAR preview
January 29, 2006
The season is upon us already. To get you all up to date on some of the major changes, here’s a quick update. Rusty Wallace retired, kind of, while Mark Martin decided to go one more year with Roush Racing. Kurt Busch signed with Penske and will drive the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge and taking over for Busch at Roush will be Jamie McMurray. Roush had such a sour taste for Busch after last season that he switched the car number to 26, retiring No. 97.
Taking over for McMurray with Ganassi Racing is Casey Mears with Reed Sorenson coming up from the Busch series to take over Mears old ride. Ganassi also said goodbye to Sterling Marlin and hello to David Stremme. Marlin becomes to new driver for the No. 14 MB Motorsports Chevy. Scott Riggs take over the 3rd car for Ray Evernham’s Dodge team, while Bill Elliott is now in a Chevy for MB2 Motorsports.
Advertisement Former Cup Champion Bobby Labonte now drives for Petty and Busch series driver J.J. Yeley becomes Gibbs new No. 18 pilot. Michael Waltrip is gone from DEI and drives for Bill Davis, but still will have NAPA as his sponsor…it’ll just be painted on a Dodge with No. 55 on it. Taking over the full time ride at DEI with Waltrip gone is Busch Series Champion Martin Truex Jr, who should have no problem following orders and Junior in the draft. Kenny Schrader will have one of his more competitive rides in some time as he drives for the much improved Wood Brothers No. 21.
How ‘bout them Cowboys
We also welcome Hall of Fame racing into the Cup series with former Dallas Cowboy QB’s Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman financing the venture. Two time Cup Champion, and Texas native, Terry Labonte will drive at Daytona, the next 4 races after, and both road courses with Tony Raines filling in for the remaining schedule.
Upcoming NASCAR schedule:
Jan 30, 31, Feb 1st: Testing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Feb 11th: Budweiser Shootout @ Daytona
Feb 12th: Daytona 500 Qualifying
Feb 16th: Gatorade Duel race 1 & 2 @ Daytona
Feb 17th: Daytona Truck Series Race
Feb 18th: Daytona Busch Series Race
Feb 19th: Daytona 500
Daytona 500 Props and Odds to Watch for
The first thing to look for is wagering on a Chevrolet. Anything that can found at less than -300 presents great value. They are clearly the most dominant group of drivers. Between recent history in the 500, all recent restrictor plates races, and the Daytona test session from a few weeks ago, there really isn’t any reason to indicate that a Ford or Dodge will be able to win this year’s race.
Drivers to win: Obviously, It would serve well to find steals on Jeff Gordon (6/1), Dale Earnhardt Jr (6/1), and Tony Stewart (7/1), but that’s not likely to happen. The drivers that present value are those that may have flown under the radar for several reasons such as drivers and crew chiefs changing teams, change of engine makers or manufacturers, and of course, just a poor line.
Sterling Marlin may be the strongest case for a driver falling under the radar at the books. He’s been seen at odds as high as 100 to 1. the reason for those odds are likely because the car number on all driver bios and preseason reports show him in the No. 14 car, a car that been garbage with the likes of Larry Foyt driving in the past.
This team is not that same team. No, this happens to be the old No. 10 team that Scott Riggs drove for last season to a 4th place finish in the Daytona 500. The motor is a Hendrick engine and he managed to propel the Chevy to 6th overall fastest in the non-draft Daytona test session and 7th overall in drafting. Let’s also not forget about Marlin winning two Daytona 500’s and also almost winning another. That was until he got out of his car late in the race attempting to fix his fender himself during a red flag. He’s knows a little something about how the air works at Daytona, just not so much about the rules.
Even though he is not likely to win the race going against the Chevy big boys, at 100 to 1 he can help cover a lot of ground with wagering strategies. It only takes $10 to make $1,000 and he can offset the chance that one of the big guys doesn’t win at short odds. Scott Riggs was in the same position last year at 100 to 1 and I must say that it was very exciting having a ticket with odds like that knowing he has just as much chance to win as any with 5 laps to go. His true odds should be somewhere in the 30 to 1 range.
Joe Nemechek falls into the same group as Marlin because of the Hendrick engine powering his No. 01 Army Chevrolet. Nemechek’s teammate for this race will be Bill Elliott, which will be funny seeing him in Chevy. Elliott ran the 3rd fastest overall lap in Daytona testing and has a wealth of knowledge on the track. Elliott has been seen in most instances on “Field” wagers at around 25 to 1, while Nemechek can be found up to 60 to 1.
Kyle Busch was 2nd fastest in Daytona testing. He shouldn’t sneak up on anyone because he actually runs for Hendrick Motorsports in one of those Golden engines, but he can still be found in the 20 to 1 range. He has a real legitimate shot of winning not only the Daytona 500 but also the Cup Championship. He broke through in a big way last season and because of his organization, it’s easier to believe he’ll run better like Jimmie Johnson evolved into, than someone else going through a sophomore slump.
Odds and Ends
All the big names of NASCAR will be at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway the early part of this week testing for their cookie cutter race track set-ups. It’s a can’t miss event for the under-nurtured NASCAR fan that missed the smell of burnt rubber and high octane fuel during what seems like a long off-season, not to mention it’s free to the public.
Team Owner Rick Hendrick is offering a $1.2 million bonus for his 4 drivers to split if they all make the chase for the championship. This coming on the heels of last season where Jack Roush placed all 5 of his cars in the chase…..except the “Cat in the Hat” didn’t hand out bonuses quite as generous, if at all. Safe to say Kurt Busch didn’t get one. Rumor ahs it Jack is cheap and believes anyone of his Gong Show drivers can win in his cars with a little tutoring.
The Toyota Camry will make its debut into the Cup series in 2007. It’ll take a while for the NASCAR nation to get on the purchasing bandwagon, but after 5 years I’m betting that the Camry rolls strong in many NASCAR consumers parking lot.
Tony Stewart visited the White House for the 3rd time, one of the rewards for winning the Championship. President Bush has been a long time supporter of NASCAR, not only for the “NASCAR Dad” vote, but because he actually really does like the sport. Car owner Joe Gibbs may have just passed Marilyn Monroe on the unofficial White House visit log with his 3 Super Bowl titles in D.C. and 3 NASCAR Cup titles.
We’ll have some futures selection next week for the Championship and also discuss the Bud Shootout, Gatorade Twins, and of course, the Daytona 500.
RE:2006 NASCAR preview
Nice work mvbski [img]i/expressions/beer.gif[/img]
I agree on Kyle Busch having a great chance for the championship as well, already loaded up on him at 25/1. Will have a look round when more of the European books have thier prices up and possibly go in for him again but as each way bet. Also on him at 30/1 for Daytona (VIP).
So far am also on Hamlin for the Rookie of the Year at 7/2 but think Bowyer could be great value at 15/2...