This season has not been normal. The Southern 500 was not the normal Southern 500. Everything has changed. As always, trust the spreadsheet but also trust your eyes. Here are the best bets for the NASCAR Cup Series Hollywood 400 Casino in Kansas, which begins Sunday, September 11th at 3 p.m. ET.
JGR Toyotas should win every week. Somehow, they rarely win. How can a team run so many laps inside the top five without winning? The next generation car is the answer. This is the least reliable car with the least reliable parts ever. Sometimes it feels like these cars just went out of place at the local dealer and some hobbyist sprayed a number on the door.
Sorry to exaggerate, but JGR dominated the cup series in 2022 and doesn’t have much to show. These Toyotas are fast, but there is a lot beyond the control of teams and drivers this season.
It is wise to chase long shots but making an argument for them in writing is difficult. This argument is not analytical or data driven. Longshots can win because it’s 2022 and the next generation car is a disaster. Look no further than last week’s disaster. It was real life Mario Kart with lightning bolt after lightning strike that knocked out the contenders. The same thing happened in the first Kansas race. Every 30 laps the tire explodes and damages the race.
There are two ways on Sunday and every Sunday it goes forward. Play the favorites and hope they run a clean race and don’t open the door to another dimension, unleashing the inverted. Or play long shot and embrace the chaos.
Race winner – Hollywood Casino 400
Favorite – JGR Toyotas
Kyle Bush +600
Denny Hamlin +550
Martin Truex Jr +700
Christopher Bell +1000
Dietrich Datta, formerly Real Rating, is a creative statistic that comprehensively aggregates a driver’s race performance. Drivers score on a scale from 0.00 to 1.00. I now name it after myself because I can. JGR Toyotas ranked first to fourth in Dietrich’s data on traditional tracks dating back to Dover in the spring (11 race sample size).
Christopher Bell – 0.85 DD
Martin Truex Jr – 0.85 D
Denny Hamlin – 0.84 D
Kyle Bush – 0.82 D
Top 5 laps in the first Kansas Grand Prix:
Christopher Bell – 29%
Martin Truex Jr. – 50%
Denny Hamlin – 36%
Kyle Bush – 70%
JGR is my favourite. The numbers indicate that it is a wise bet. The numbers also indicate that this is a foolish bet. The important number – although not analytically relevant – is the number in the earnings column, and this number is not impressive. There’s a new winner every week, thanks to a poorly designed next-generation car and exterior parts. Not only is it hard for a team to dominate this car, it’s hard for cars to simply finish. Embrace 2022. Take a look at the long shots each week.
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The Long Shots
Bubba Wallace (+2000)
Toyotas are fast and that includes the Bubba Wallace. Kurt Busch, his 23XI teammate, won his first Kansas race. Bubba finished 10th in the spring race despite starting 24th, two penalties (pit crew errors) and an ill-timed warning.
Daniel Suarez (+3500)
The #99 Trackhouse is fast. Unfortunately, Suarez cannot win. Suarez cannot win without luck. However, if Suarez gets a break, he could easily defend his lead late in the race in Kansas. He was fourth when he got out of the first Kansas race.
Alex Bowman (+3500)
The last time Bowman had a top-10 score for Dietrich Datta was in Kansas. This has always been a good racetrack for Bowman. In order to win the long throw, it will be necessary to be careful in the late sprint. That is exactly how Bowman won earlier this season. He had a top 5 Las Vegas car, a similar intermediate track, and a two-tire gamble at the end that paid off.
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