The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the South Point 400 Sunday, September 15. This is the first race in this year’s playoffs system. The playoffs are a 10-race slate that will eliminate drivers every three weeks, until four drivers remain for the season finale. All 16 eligible drivers in the playoffs will be looking for the checkered flag to assure their spot into the next round.
Let’s look at two drivers who could find themselves in victory lane this weekend.
Odds to win the South Point 400
|Driver||South Point 400|
|Martin Truex Jr.||+800|
Martin Truex Jr. (+800)
I’m very bullish on Martin Truex Jr. for this race. The odds are so juicy on his No. 19 Toyota Camry. He has been a little quiet over the last few weeks, and maybe the oddsmakers have forgotten about MTJ.
Since February of 2017 no driver in the sport has more wins than Truex at intermediate tracks, with nine checkered flags to his name. In the last four races at Las Vegas, Truex has three top-five finishes and one win. He has led more laps than any other driver in those four races (252). His qualifying at Las Vegas has always been a little suspect, so you may get better odds on race day, but 8-1 or more is a gift you should accept.
— Martin Truex Jr. (@MartinTruex_Jr) September 11, 2019
Truex holds the best average finish at intermediate tracks (6.4). That’s 2.5 positions better than the next closet driver, Kyle Busch, who has an average finish of 8.9. Truex should be the favorite this Sunday night.
Longshot: Ryan Blaney (+2000)
Being so bullish on Truex gives us the ability to consider a longshot play. How about using Ryan Blaney and the No. 12 Penske Ford? If you had to pinpoint one team that runs the best at this track, it’s Team Penske. In the last four races at Las Vegas, it has secured two wins—one apiece with Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano. But can Blaney be as good as his teammates? You’re getting four times the value on Blaney than you’re getting for his teammates, and that is justifiable to consider.
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) June 9, 2019
In his career at the track, Blaney has six starts, with two top-five finishes. He usually qualifies well at this track, so consider that into your handicapping. He is a young driver, who has shown the ability to find victory lane. If he is able to qualify well and race close, he’ll have a chance. You can’t beat having a fast race car at 20-1.