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NASCAR tackles season's 1st road course Sunday
By: Brian Graham - StatFox
Published: 6/22/2014  at  3:50:00 AM
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NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Toyota-Save Mart 350

Sunday, June 22 – 3:00 p.m. EDT
Sonoma – Sonoma, CA

The NASCAR drivers take to the road, literally, when they tackle Sonoma’s road course on Sunday for the Toyota-Save Mart 350. The course was originally constructed in 1968 as a 2.52-mile course, but was re-designed in 1998 to the current 1.99 miles, increasing the distance of the event to its current 218.9 miles covering 110 laps. The course has 10 turns with varying elevation changes. Turn 3a reaches 174 feet, while Turn 10 is the lowest elevation at a mere 14 feet. Since 1998, Jeff Gordon has five wins on this track (1998-2000, 2004 and 2006), while Tony Stewart is the only other driver with multiple wins in this 15-race span, taking the checkered flag in 2001 and 2005. Martin Truex Jr. is the defending champion.

Here is the Bet DSI breakdown on Sunday's big race:

Odds to Win Race

DriverOdds
Marcos Ambrose5-to-1
Jeff Gordon6-to-1
Kurt Busch7-to-1
Kevin Harvick7-to-1
Jimmie Johnson7-to-1
Tony Stewart8-to-1
Kyle Busch12-to-1
Joey Logano12-to-1
Brad Keselowski12-to-1
Kasey Kahne18-to-1
Clint Bowyer18-to-1
A.J. Allmendinger30-to-1
Jamie McMurray30-to-1
Carl Edwards35-to-1
Martin Truex Jr.35-to-1
Brian Vickers35-to-1
Greg Biffle50-to-1
Paul Menard60-to-1
Ryan Newman60-to-1
Dale Earnhardt Jr.60-to-1
Denny Hamlin60-to-1
Justin Allgaier75-to-1
Kyle Larson75-to-1
Matt Kenseth75-to-1
FIELD (Any other driver)100-to-1
Austin Dillon100-to-1
Boris Said100-to-1
Danica Patrick300-to-1
Aric Almirola300-to-1
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.300-to-1
Casey Mears300-to-1
David Gilliland300-to-1

Drivers to Watch

Jeff Gordon (6/1) - Winning at Sonoma is all about experience, and Gordon certainly has that with five victories, 13 top-5’s and an average finish of 8.2 at this track, which are all easily the best among all drivers at this venue. He hasn’t won this road course since 2006, but Gordon continues to run with the front of the pack with finishes of 7th, 3rd, 9th, 5th, 2nd, 6th and 2nd in the seven Sonoma races since that last victory. The No. 24 car has been consistently excellent all season with top-10's in 11-of-15 starts (73%) and only one finish outside the top-15 all year long (39th at Talladega). The payoff for the current points leader is understandably minimal, but Gordon is certainly worthy of your largest wager on Sunday.

Martin Truex, Jr. (35/1) - These are some pretty sweet odds for the defending champion of this race. Sure Truex has had an awful 2014 season, where he currently sits in 25th place in the standings with zero top-5 finishes, but he thrives at this kind of venue. In 16 career starts on road courses, he has seven top-10's, including four top-5's. This includes placing 8th at the 2011 Sonoma race and leading for 15 laps in the 2012 Sonoma race before last year's victory. You won't find any better value on the board than Truex, who is desperate for a strong showing to climb up the points standings.

Clint Bowyer (18/1) - This price is a lot more desirable than Bowyer's 10-to-1 billing last year when he tried to defend his 2012 Sonoma win. Bowyer nearly paid off at that price with a fifth-place start and fifth-place finish, marking his fifth top-5 showing in eight career starts at this track. Bowyer's 9.1 average finish at Sonoma trails only Jeff Gordon and the late Dale Earnhardt among all drivers at this track. Bowyer is also quickly ascending in the points standings, jumping six places over his past three races where he has finished 4th, 11th and 10th at Michigan last week. This darkhorse is worthy of a small wager for Sunday's race.

Kasey Kahne (18/1) - Over the past five races at Sonoma, only Jimmie Johnson (466) has earned more points than Kahne's 447. This has been achieved with three top-6 finishes, including a win in 2009. He also won the pole in 2010 and placed sixth in last year's installment. Kahne is also starting to turn his erratic 2014 season around with three top-8 finishes over his past six starts, which includes a fifth-place showing last week. With favorable darkhorse odds, don't forget about the No. 5 car on Sunday.

Matt Kenseth (75/1) - Our longshot of the weekend has to go to Kenseth, whose odds have more than doubled from the 30-to-1 price he commanded last year. Kenseth has never won a road course in 28 tries, and has only five top-10's at this type of venue, but has helped himself out with top-10 starting positions in seven of his past 12 races at Sonoma. He's also in the midst of an excellent NASCAR season with 10 top-10's and five top-5's to put him currently in fourth place in the points standings. At 75-to-1, go ahead and drop a one-unit wager on this talented driver.

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