The bad news when it comes to Vegas odds for Wednesday night’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway is its relatively short distance (312 miles, 208 laps) creates an unpredictability factor that makes picking a winner even more difficult than usual. Teams’ strategies will be much different than those used for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600.
The good news is this is the second NASCAR Cup Series night race at Charlotte in the span of four days. So we at least have a decent idea of which drivers might thrive in another race at NASCAR’s home track, and whose struggles might continue.
Brad Keselowski stole the victory in Sunday’s race after a late caution ruined what would have been an easy win for Chase Elliott. Which is part of the reason Elliott is at the top of the odds board for Wednesday night’s race.
Below are the Vegas odds to win Wednesday night’s NASCAR Cup Series at Charlotte, plus our top three picks of drivers who could end up taking the checkered flag.
NASCAR race odds to win at Charlotte
Elliott led 38 laps in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, including what was supposed to the final one on Lap 400. But he pitted during a late-race caution and lost the lead (and the win). But that speed is why Elliott has joined Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. atop the odds board for Wednesday night’s race.
Courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook, below are the complete odds to win Wednesday night’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Charlotte.
Of the drivers in the field, Jimmie Johnson has the best career driver rating (108.9) at Charlotte, but he will start last because of his disqualification from the Coca-Cola 600 results. Johnson’s car failed post-race inspection with illegal rear alignment.
Below are the top 10 career driver ratings at Charlotte (not including Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600):
History says the first and second starting positions are the most proficient in the field, producing more winners (17 each) than any other starting position at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Which is good news for Hendrick Motorsports teammates William Byron and Alex Bowman, who will start first and second, respectively, on Wednesday night since the top 20 starters are an inversion of the top 20 finishers from Sunday’s race.
NASCAR at Charlotte expert picks
1. Alex Bowman
Bowman’s spot on the front row to start the race helps, as the driver who started second has won roughly 14 percent of all NASCAR Cup Series races at Charlotte. But this pick is more about the speed HMS cars have shown this year.
Elliott should have won Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600, and Johnson finished second before failing post-race tech and being given last-place points. Only Kevin Harvick (328 laps) has led more than the 318 laps Bowman has led through seven races in 2020.
All Hendrick drivers will be threats to win Wednesday night’s race, even Johnson from the back of the field. But we’ll go with the one who already has a win on the season.
2. Martin Truex Jr.
Among active drivers, only Johnson and Kyle Busch have led more career laps at Charlotte than Truex’s 972. His 91.3 driver rating at the track is the third best behind Busch’s 107.4 and Hamlin’s 97.0 among drivers currently in the top 10 in points.
Two crashes in the first four races this season set Truex back in points, but last year’s Coca-Cola 600 winner proved with his pair of top-10 finishes last week at Darlington followed by a strong run in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 that his team still has the speed to win.
3. Erik Jones
Speaking of speed from Joe Gibbs Racing, Jones had a hot rod for parts of Sunday’s race. He will start Wednesday’s event on the outside of Row 5, the best starting position of the four JGR teams in the field, which is notable for a race that’s roughly half the distance of the Coca-Cola 600.
Jones is a relative long shot based on the odds for Wednesday night’s race, but he is every bit as capable as his powerhouse teammates of winning. While his driver rating at Charlotte (68.6) is not great, it comes from a small sample size. Wednesday night’s race will be Jones’ sixth at Charlotte in a Cup car.
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