Kevin Harvick defends his Budweiser Shootout title driving for the title sponsor.
Kevin Harvick will step into the Budweiser No. 29 as the reigning Bud Shootout winner this Saturday night. Harvick started his season off with a bang by capturing the crown last season and will be looking to place his new sponsor in their own Victory Lane with a win this weekend.
According to the Las Vegas Hilton Superbook Harvick is one of the favorites to bring home the hardware Saturday but the longest shot in the event is only a 35-1 shot to win. Betting on the Bud Shootout is a bit of a crap shoot but it is always fun to have a little money riding on the event.
Most Las Vegas sportsbooks will book the action but for our purposes we will be using the lines posted by the Las Vegas Hilton Superbook.
Kasey Kahne looked solid in the Red Bull No.4 during the Daytona test on the new asphalt in January.
Kasey Kahne at 25-1 for the Bud Shootout? The longest shot on the board is Kasey Kahne but he may not remain be the long shot once Saturday arrives. Kahne is the best value bet on the board at the Las Vegas Hilton Superbook. He has not shown well in restrictor plate races in the past but Kahne finished second to Harvick in last years event. Kahne is the best bang for the buck at 25-1.
Biffle has won races at Daytona and he has wadded up some sheet metal on the high banks also.
Greg Biffle has run well at Daytona in the past but he has never taken the Bud Shootout seriously. Biffle's best finish in the exhibition race is a fifth place finish in his first Shootout in 2005. Since that race Biffle has never cracked the top ten in the Bud Shootout.
Ryan Newman has the equipment to run up front in the Bud Shootout.
Ryan Newman is another driver that rarely takes the Bud Shootout seriously. He ran second in 2005 and fourth in 2003 aside from those two top fives Newman has never finished better than 15th in the Bud Shootout. Newman has the Hendrick motor under the hood and the benefit of Hendrick Motorsports engineering department as well. The only issue with Ryan Newman is the desire to win a Bud Shootout.
Joey Logano's Bud Shootout ended with this incident in 2010.
Joey Logano's 2009 Bud Shootout was his first and he didn't get much experience in his rookie season. Logano wrecked out three laps into the event. In 2010 Logano ran with his teammates and earned respect in the Bud Shootout finishing seventh. This season Logano will have four full races at Daytona under his belt along with two Gatorade Duel races and one full Bud Shootout in his career. Logano is a live dog at 20-1.
Mark Martin has one Bud Shootout win in 1999.
Mark Martin has one Bud Shootout win under his belt but his best finish since then was a fourth place in 2004. Martin is a driver that many will work with and he is a sentimental favorite in what could be his last Bud Shootout in superior equipment.
Martin crashed out of last years Bud Shootout but this season at 20-1 he could be a good long shot to watch. Martin is a smart restrictor plate driver and he has the instincts required to move through the field with surgeon like precision.
Matt Kenseth's 2010 Bud Shootout ended with his first DNF in the event.
Matt Kenseth is not the greatest qualifier in NASCAR Sprint Cup and this is why he only has four starts in the Bud Shootout. He has three top tens in the four Bud Shootouts and in his last start he ended up in the garage after a late race crash just a few laps from the finish.
Kenseth is not a terrible restrictor plate racer and the 20-1 odds make him a decent value bet. Look for Kenseth to test the waters early in this race and if he does not have the horse look for him to ride around the back of the field.
Juan Montoya has shown he has the horses on the restrictor plate tracks but he is not very delicate in tight spaces.
Juan Montoya drives for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing and their restrictor plate engines have the horses to run up front on the high banks of Daytona. What Montoya has under the hood does not help him with his mental attitude on the big tracks.
Montoya is in great equipment but his patience level is not at the right level for driving in close quarters at high speed. Montoya's frustrations have cost him in aerodynamic department after he crinkles his fenders while he bangs wheels with his fellow NASCAR drivers. Montoya is a gamble but at 20-1 he may be worth the risk.
Jeff Burton is only in his fifth Bud Shootout of his career.
Jeff Burton is another driver in this years Bud Shootout that benefits from the new system for the Bud Shootout. Burton has only competed in five Bud Shootouts in his career with fifth place finish being his best result. Burton could finish in the top five if he can keep up with his RCR teammates Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer.
Carl Edwards 2010 Bud Shootout ended in a pile up with teammate Matt Kenseth.
Carl Edwards will be competing in his fifth Bud Shootout this weekend and he has never fared well in NASCAR's opening event. Edwards best finish in the Shootout is a seventh place finish in 2009. The new FR-9 engine may help Edwards compete but he will be hard pressed to find victory lane.
Kurt Busch is another driver that ended the Bud Shootout on the infield.
Kurt Busch has done well in the Daytona 500 over the years but his performance in the Bud Shootout has not been stellar. Busch has three top tens in the Shootout and only one top five in his career. Busch is known as a good partner among his fellow competitors and he will be in the mix when the white flag comes out. The question will be where will he finish once everyone begins jockeying for position.
Clint Bowyer's teammate Kevin Harvick has won the Bud Shootout the last two years.
Clint Bowyer has learned plenty from his teammate Kevin Harvick when it comes to restrictor plate racing. Bowyer has been in the mix in several restrictor plate races of late but this will only be his second Bud Shootout. Look for a top five for Bowyer in this one.
Jimmie Johnson's 2009 Bud Shootout ended on the wrecker.
The five time champ Jimmie Johnson at 12-1? Looks like a good bet but don't be deceived. Johnson does have five top fives in the Bud Shootout but his last two appearances have resulted in finishes out of the top ten. Johnson isn't a bad price at 12-1 but his odds will be bet down by the time the field takes the green flag.
Denny Hamlin won hist first ever Bud Shootout.
Denny Hamlin's best Bud Shootout was his first. In 2005 Hamlin took home the trophy and served notice that he would be a contender for years to come. Since the win in 2005, Hamlin's best finish has been his fifth place finish in the Shootout last season.
Jeff Gordon the winningest restrictor plate driver of all time.
The best active restrictor plate driver is Jeff Gordon. He has won more races in the discipline than any other driver and this season he will be racing with a chip on his shoulder. Gordon has two wins and ten top tens in his 17 Bud Shootout appearances. With odds of 10-1 it is tough to pass up on Gordon.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. won his first Bud Shootout with Hendrick Motorsports.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. also has a nice price to win the Bud Shootout at 10-1. Dale Jr. did not show much in Daytona testing in January but he can give his confidence a huge boost with a win in this event.
He won the Bud Shootout in his debut in the No.88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy and now that he is working with the No. 48 team more closely maybe something will rub off.
Dale Jr. has raced in 10 Bud Shootouts and has five top fives in the event. Despite two dismal finishes in his last two Shootouts, Dale Jr. has a second and a win in his last five. At 10-1 Dale Earnhardt Jr. is a great price to win the Bud Shootout and the best bet.
Jamie McMurray has developed into a strong super speedway talent.
Jamie McMurray's price of 10-1 is directly related to his win in the Daytona 500 last season. McMurray has developed into a good restrictor plate driver and in his last two Bud Shootouts he does have a second and a third in the event. McMurray will be up front when the race gets down to the hectic last laps but it will be a challenge for him to find someone to work with him.
Tony Stewart had to answer difficult questions upon his return from Australia.
Tony Stewart's record in the Bud Shootout is impressive. in 11 races he has only failed to finish out of the top 10 once. He also has eight top fives in his 11 starts which include three trips to Victory Lane.
Stewart's last win came in 2007 while racing for Joe Gibbs and he has finished third and ninth in his Stewart Haas Chevy's. Stewart will be a player from the start of the race and he will also have plenty of drivers that will work with him. At 8-1 Stewart could be considered a cover bet.
Kyle Busch is never afraid to stick his car in precarious spots at Daytona.
Kyle Busch is a Las Vegas native but he is rarely a good bet. Busch is always ranked with short odds but for this race he is getting 8-1. He will be up front for the Bud Shootout but the question will be can he get anyone to work with him on the last lap.
Busch has superior equipment with his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota engines and their fabricators always give them an advantage when it comes to drafting and running out front on the super speedways of Daytona and Talladega. Not a bad cover bet at 8-1 but resist the temptation with the higher odds.
As always to be the man you must beat the man Kevin Harvick has won last two shootouts.
To be the man everyone must beat the man and Kevin Harvick is the man at Daytona and all restrictor plate races. Harvick has fit the seat of the legendary Dale Earnhardt well and has now begun to embark on an impressive run at the two largest NASCAR tracks.
Harvick has started six Bud Shootouts and he has two wins and four top fives in his six Shootouts. The horsepower and aero packages on the RCR cars have been dominant over the last couple of years on the big tracks and this race will be no different. Although Harvick is the favorite the 5-1 price makes it a tough bet.
Focus on the longer shots for this race and Kasey Kahne and Mark Martin are the best long shots and Jeff Gordon are the best drivers at 10-1. Remember to shop the lines for the best price as each Las Vegas sportsbook's numbers will vary.