NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Betting Guide – Toyota/Save Mart 350
The week the NASCAR Sprint Cup series makes a stop in Sonoma, California for the running of the Toyota/Save Mart 350 on the road course at Sonoma Raceway. Sunday’s race is slated to get underway at 3 p.m. (ET) and it will be broadcast nationally on FOX.
There are only two road courses in Sprint Cup’s 36-race schedule, so when one does pop-up it has a tendency to shake-up the odds for the traditional favorites to win the race. That is why former open-wheel racer Marco Ambrose is at the top of this week’s list to win at +500. His past experience racing on road courses provides a major advantage against a majority of Sprint Cup drivers that only run this type of race twice a year.
Ambrose and the No.9 car are still looking for their first Sprint Cup win at this track, but this team has come close with four-straight top-10 finishes in this race including an eighth-place finish last season after starting from the pole position.
Tony Stewart has spent the majority of his racing career in NASCAR, but at one time he was one of the best road course drivers in open-wheel racing. He is one of three drivers opened as +700 second-favorites to win this week. Not only does past experience racing road courses add value to these odds, so does current form. Stewart raced the No.14 car to a first-place finish earlier this month at Dover and the team is currently holding down the 10th spot in the Sprint Cup standings with 417 points.
Looking back at his past performance at this track, he has already won this race twice with the last victory coming in 2005. Since then, he finished second at Sonoma in 2009 and added another second-place finish with a solid run in last year’s race.
This could be a good week to take a hard look at another elder statesman of NASCAR’s Sprint Cup series; Jeff Gordon, who is also listed at +700 to win this week. The No.24 car has pretty much been a non-factor so far through the first 15 point races of the season, but it still has three top-five finishes to its credit.
The real value in these odds lie in Gordon’s past track record at Sonoma. Over the years he has taken the checkered flag in this race five times and has an average finishing position here of 8.6. Recent form has also been strong with a second-place finish in 2011 followed by a sixth-place finish in last season’s race.
You could put Jimmie Johnson behind a shopping cart and he would be favored to make it to the check-out counter first, so it should come as no surprise that the current Sprint Cup point leader has also been opened at +700 to win this week. The No.48 car has already won three point races this season as well as the non-point All-Star Race. It should have won again last week at Michigan but a wreck with just three laps to go while in second place ended its chance.
Johnson has already proven he can win on road courses just as well as oval tracks with a victory in this race in 2010. He has not finished higher than seventh place in his last four races at Sonoma which also adds quite a bit of value to his odds to win.
If you are looking for a driver with longer odds to win this week, then you might want to make a small play on Juan Montoya at +1000. The main attraction of this pick is his past experience with road courses as part of a previous open-wheel racing career. The other plus is his recent form with a second-place finish at Dover on June 2.
Some of the value in these odds is lost when you take into account that Montoya has failed to crack the top-10 in this race in his last three tries, but going back a bit further in his record at Sonoma, you find that he won this race in 2007 and posted back-to-back sixth-place finishes in 2008 and 2009.