2017 Go Bowling 400 Race Picks

May 13, 2017 by Nascar Wagers

2017 Go Bowling 400 Race Picks

2017 Go Bowling 400 Race Picks
NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series Betting Preview
Saturday May 13th, 7:47PM (EST) at Kansas Speedway
by Jay Horne of NASCARWagers.com, NASCAR Handicapping Service

For the first time this season, the Monster Energy Cup Series will go night racing when the green flag is waved in the Go Bowling 400 at Kansas Speedway. Judging by Friday’s practices, things could get wild under the lights this evening as teams continue to battle extremely loose race conditions. We seen a few single car accidents on Friday as a result of those conditions. Even points leader Kyle Larson, possibly the best wheelman in NASCAR, could not avoid trouble as he lost control of his #42 machine in turn 2 in final practice and had to go to a backup car. We expect race conditions will continue to be on edge tonight when 40 cars take the green flag. As we anticipate a wild Saturday night, we take this time to preview tonight’s race and provide our 2017 Go Bowling 400 race picks!

If you are wondering why track conditions caused so much chaos and ill handling racecars throughout practices, then you are not the only one. To some extent, loose conditions were expected as the Monster Energy Cup Series come to Kansas under this new lower downforce package. We have seen this package in action throughout the season and at several other 1.5 mile tracks like Atlanta, Las Vegas, and Texas. However, Kansas has less banking than all of the other 1.5 mile tracks that the Cup Series has visited this season but is just as fast as those other tracks at the same time. If you combine that fact along with other factors such as a relatively hard GoodYear racing tire and at Kansas Speedway surface that has not aged much since it’s 2012 repave, then I think it becomes clear why we are seeing drivers struggle with the handling of their cars.

The good news is that these loose conditions are not that uncommon from what we have seen throughout the majority of the season. I am still concerned we may have a few extra accidents tonight but we cannot deviate our betting strategy because we have had similar conditions going into several races this season especially at the 1.5 mile tracks. In comparison to 1.5 mile tracks, I usually liken Kansas most closely with Kentucky Speedway because the banking at the two tracks are nearly identical. Both tracks have also been repaved in recent years which draws some comparisons as well. While this race will be the first at Kansas under this new downforce package, this package debuted at Kentucky last season in a race that was won by Brad Keselowski.

Keselowski has been one of the best drivers in under this new rules package. Keselowski has added 2 victories this year to that Kentucky win and one of those victories come on another 1.5 mile surface at Atlanta earlier this year. I think Kyle Larson and Jimmie Johnson are the only guys that can even compare to the success that Keselowski has had under this package. The #2 was decent in practices on Friday but let’s not forget that the practices were in the middle of the day which will be much different than the conditions we will see under the lights this evening. I have not seen much talk about the #2 car going into tonight’s event but I don’t understand why. I think he is the guy to watch tonight when the sun fades into the lights of Kansas Speedway.

If we look at this new package from an overall standpoint, then I think you have to pay attention to tracks like Atlanta, Texas, Auto Club, and Las Vegas that give us some type of indicators as to expectations for tonight’s race. If you look at those races, then you cannot look past guys like Kyle Larson, Jimmie Johnson, Martin Truex Jr, Joey Logano, Chase Elliott, Brad Keselowski, and Kevin Harvick. If you are looking for a track to narrow down your research, I would put my focus towards Texas. The GoodYear tire that is being used this week is new for Kansas Speedway but it closely resembles what teams used at Texas. If you like at the way practices unfolded, it seemed as it followed a linear trend to the guys that ran well at Texas. Don’t believe me? Well race winner Jimmie Johnson posted the best 10 lap average in final practice. Kevin Harvick finished 2nd in 10 lap averages in final practice and he finished 4th back at Texas. Kyle Larson was 4th on 10 lap averages and finished runner-up back at Texas.

I believe we are seeing speeds resemble Texas because of the tire compound and its effect on handling of these cars. If I could make another comparison to prove my point, remember Ryan Blaney had his strongest run of his career back at Texas leading a race high 148 laps before a late race pit road mistake pushed the youngster back to a 12th place finish. On Friday, the #21 car earned his first pole for tonight’s Go Bowling 400 and has emerged as one of the top threats for tonight’s race. Therefore, I think the drivers that performed well at Texas are the perfect baseline for handicapping tonight’s event.

If you are looking for drivers to consider for match-up or fantasy situations, then let me steer you away from the Joe Gibbs Racing cars. It should not be a secret by now that JGR cars have struggled heavily this season especially at the 1.5 mile tracks. At the 3 prior 1.5 mile tracks of Atlanta, Las Vegas, and Texas, Daniel Suarez has a best finish of 19th and Kyle Busch has a best finish of 15th. Denny Hamlin did score a 6th place showing at Las Vegas but his other two finishes were 38th at Atlanta along with a 25th place finish at Texas. Surprisingly, Matt Kenseth has been the best of the group with finishes of 3rd, 9th, and 16th. However, it is easy to see that the entire group is missing some speed and perhaps those guys are worthy of fade consideration until they can turn things around.

2017 Go Bowling 400 Race Picks

*More plays to come closer to race time

Jimmie Johnson +850 (1.25 units): 3-time Kansas winner, Texas winner, best 10 lap average in final practice
Brad Keselowski +900 (1 unit): 2011 winner, has been great under this package, starting 17th

Two Team Parlay

Kevin Harvick/Martin Truex Jr +339 wins Go Bowling 400
Dale Earnhardt Jr +140 over Denny Hamlin
Risking 1.25 units to win: +1192

H2H Matchups and Props

Brad Keselowski -130 over Chase Elliott (2 units)
Dale Earnhardt Jr -140 over Kasey Kahne (2 units)
Trevor Bayne -115 over Daniel Suarez (2 units)
Jamie McMurray +900 finishes Top 3 (.5 unit)

Total Cautions over 7.5 -135 (2 units) courtesy of Bovada

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