The start of the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series has gone very similar to the start of the 2018 one. No, we don’t have three drivers dominating the show, but rather three different organizations instead.
Between them, Joe Gibbs Racing and Team Penske have combined to win all six races in 2019. If you go back to the end of the 2018 season, they’ve actually combined to win eight in-a-row and nine of the last 10 overall.
The only car not of these two organizations to win since last November has been Kevin Harvick with Stewart-Haas Racing.
Really, it’s a Penske vs. JGR show for supremacy right now with SHR fighting behind in third.
So, when thinking of who to wager on at the Texas Motor Speedway, you can’t really go wrong with these 11 combined drivers.
That’s why the top odds all favor them for Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 (3 p.m. ET/FOX/PRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Kyle Busch is the favorite (+350). Harvick, is next best at +450. Martin Truex Jr. and Brad Keselowski are +700 while Joey Logano is +800.
These are the only drivers though below +1000. Would you take them, or someone else with lesser odds?
Well, after breaking down the early odds and how these drivers have fared in the past at Texas, it’s clear that we may have some good odds are our disposal after all. You may want to be buyer beware on some of the top drivers on these respective organizations.
Busch, is the easy pick. I get it. He has five top three finishes in six tries in 2019. His worst finish is sixth. Over his last 12 Texas starts too, he’s finished in the top five in eight of them including a win in this very race last year. But, he’s also had three finishes of 15th or worse in his last four Texas starts as well. Kind of steep for +350.
Harvick, has nine straight top 10 finishes in Texas including three top two finishes in-a-row. Unfortunately though, his car has played second fiddle to JGR and Penske this season. The speed isn’t quite there yet and I don’t think he has a full race of speed in his No. 4 Ford to honestly win yet. I wouldn’t touch those odds for him either.
Keselowski, has only scored four top five finishes since 2013 (12 starts) at Texas. Four of his last six saw him finish 12th or worse. While he does have four top three finishes in his last five starts of the season, his past Texas history scares me.
Truex Jr. only has two top five finishes in his last eight Texas starts. He does have five straight top eight finishes on the season, but his car is missing a bit compared to his teammate Busch. He’s one to keep an eye on, but not necessarily ready to win yet.
Denny Hamlin has struggled at Texas too. Yes, he has three straight top seven finishes on the season and a top 11 in all six races, but since he swept both Texas races in 2010, he’s had just one top five after. He’s +2000.
So Who’s Left?
That leaves longer odds then. Logano at +800 is a solid pick. He has three top 10 finishes in his last four starts on the season to go along with six straight top seven finishes in Texas overall.
His teammate Ryan Blaney is the best bet at +1200. He has three straight top five finishes on the season and three consecutive top six finishes in general at Texas. Blaney, finished runner-up last fall there. Also, in XFINITY Series competition, Blaney has a win, three runner-ups and a third place run in six tries.
Erik Jones is worth a risk too. He’s +1600 and has recent finishes of 29th, 19th and 30th respectively, which is why his value is low, but his Texas stats are phenomenal. He has three straight top 10 finishes including two fourth place runs a year ago. In XFINITY Series competition, he has six top four finishes in as many tries including three wins.
These are three drivers, all drive for either Penske or JGR and have longer odds compared to their teammates.
Aric Almirola (+2500) is also a viable option. He has five top 10 finishes in-a-row on the season and finished eighth at Texas last fall. He drives for Stewart-Haas Racing. Enough said.
You can’t leave out Chase Elliott (+1100) either. He’s coming off of a runner-up finish last weekend in Martinsville and has never finished worse than 11th in six career Texas Cup starts.
Kurt Busch is +2000 and has four top seven finishes in his last five tries on the year. He also has four consecutive top 10 finishes at Texas and six in his last seven starts.
Don’t Touch Drivers
Clint Bowyer isn’t likely a winner this weekend. Out of six races in 2019, he’s finished outside the top 10 in four of them. His last top five finish at Texas came all the way back in 2011. He also has just one top 10 finish in his last nine Texas starts.
Daniel Suarez isn’t a favorite either. His best finish is 10th this season (twice). He’s never finished in the top 10 at Texas before.
Kyle Larson has yet to score a top five finish in 2019 and has just three top five finishes in 11 career starts at Texas. He has five finishes of 23rd or worse.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has never finished in the top 10 at Texas. Austin Dillon has a best finish of 10th and that happened just once.
Jimmie Johnson had 12 top two finishes and 14 top sixes at Texas from 2006 through 2017, but his last three finishes are 27th, 35th and 15th respectively. Four of his last five finishes on the season are 17th or worse.