NASCAR betting is under the lights at Richmond International Raceway this weekend. The top drivers in the Sprint Cup Series do battle in the Crown Royal 400 on Saturday night. Here’s a look at the oddsmakers’ favorites to ride up front:
Kyle Busch +500
The wild things come out at night. That stands true for NASCAR’s wild child, Kyle Busch, who won last year’s Crown Royal 400. Busch went wire-to-wire, earning the pole and leading 226 laps before taking the checkered flag for his second win at the ¾-mile oval. Busch is on pace for another stellar showing at Richmond, where he owns an average finish of 5.25 – the best among active drivers. This season he’s climbed to sixth in the point standings and is out for redemption after getting swallowed up in a wreck at Talladega two weeks ago.
Jimmie Johnson +500
Jimmie Johnson is very hit-and-miss in Virginia. He’s won three races at Richmond since 2007, but he has also placed 30th or higher twice in that span. Johnson’s three most recent runs on the D-shaped course have produced an average finish of eighth, including a third-place showing there in the fall. He is coming off a win at Talladega two weeks ago, jumping to second in the points, which surprisingly was the first victory of the year for the No. 48 team.
Carl Edwards +600
While most of the Sprint Cup Series enjoyed the down time over the Easter weekend, Edwards was putting the pedal to the metal in the Nationwide Series, winning at Nashville this past Saturday. The No. 99 car will be looking to keep that momentum, and the top spot in the standings, at Richmond this weekend. Edwards has a spotty history in Virginia, boasting an average finish of 16.9. He won the pole there in the fall race but fell to 10th. He’s only posted one Top-5 finish at Richmond, which came at last year’s Crown Royal 400, moving from 28th to lead two laps and place fifth.
Ryan Newman +3,000
Racing fans looking for a longshot wager in the NASCAR odds this weekend should throw something down on Ryan Newman, who is giving plenty of value at Richmond. He’s won there before, taking the checkered in the fall of 2003, and remains one of the best active drivers on the track with an average finish of 11.4. In his last four trips to Richmond, Newman has placed inside the Top 10 three times with the other race being an 11th-place finish last fall. He was running well at Talladega two weeks ago before spinning out twice while bump drafting down the stretch, leaving him to finish 25th. He’s seventh in the points and still very much in contention for the Cup title with three Top-5 showings in 2011.