The Cup Series will travel 2,750 miles from Charlotte, N.C. to Sonoma Valley, California this week for some more road course racing. Sonoma is an awesome track and it should be on your bucket list for tracks to visit. The elevation from the start/finish line to the top of the hill does not do it justice on TV. But the best part of Sonoma is outside the track. Napa Valley is just a cool place to visit.
Picking the winner at Sonoma is not hard. The list of winners is the who’s who of road course racing in the Cup Series. The last five winners included Martin Truex Jr. (twice), Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart. There are no long-shots on that list.
One of the favorites will likely be in Victory Lane again Sunday, but I am willing to take a gamble on some long-shots. Matt DiBenedetto almost won the last race at Sonoma and his odds were 66-1. You just never know what is going to happen in a race where fuel millage usually determines the winner.
DraftKings Odds for Toyota Save Mart 350
* The odds could change between the time of this article and the time you place your bet
** The first number is the amount of money based on the second number (the amount of the wager). So if you bet $1 on Chase Elliott you will win $2.
Here are my “Best Bets” for the race at Sonoma…
Of course Chase Elliott (2-1) and Martin Truex Jr. (4-1) are great picks to win the race Sunday but I do not like their odds. Instead I will take the other Joe Gibbs Racing drivers..
Kyle Busch (8-1): Kyle Busch has been feast or famine on the road courses but he has been better on the more technical tracks than he has been on the Rovals. Busch finished 2nd, 5th, 5th, 7th and 1st in his last 5 trips to Sonoma. The only driver who has been better in those races is Martin Truex Jr. Busch has two wins at Sonoma on his resume. I will bet that he can make it a hat trick this week.
Denny Hamlin (12-1): Denny Hamlin is still looking for his first win in 2021. The No. 11 car has had speed, but they have not been able to put together a complete race. I am willing to bet that Hamlin can get to Victory Lane Sunday. He finished 5th, 10th, 4th and 2nd in his last four races at the track. He nearly won in 2016, but Tony Stewart beat him on the last lap. The No. 11 car will be fast this week.
Kevin Harvick (16-1): Kevin Harvick is another driver who is looking for his first win in 2021. He has a history of running well at Sonoma and crew chief Rodney Childers is one of the best at mapping out fuel strategy to get Harvick to the front. Harvick finished 6th, 2nd, 1st, 6th and 4th in his last five races at Sonoma. 16-1 odds are pretty good for a driver with that kind of production at a track.
Christopher Bell (30-1): You cannot have too many Joe Gibbs Racing cars in your betting portfolio this week. Bell won the Daytona Road Course race in February. Can he win again? Erik Jones finished 7th and 8th in his two races at Sonoma in the No. 20 car. Bell is a better road course driver than Jones, so I will place a few bucks on the No. 20 car to get to Victory Lane Sunday.
Long-Shot Special: My Long-Shot Special this week is Matt DiBenedetto (80-1): Could this be the week Matt DiBenedetto wins his first Cup Series race? The Grass Valley, California should be extra motivated to compete at his home track. DiBenedetto had a good chance to win the last race at Sonoma. He the 4th best driver rating, the third-best average running position and finished 4th in the race. I am sure the Wood Brothers will bring a similar setup to the track this week. You do not need to bet a lot to win a lot with DiBenedetto Sunday.
Good luck this week!
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