NASCAR Cup Series: The Real Heroes 400
For all of the uncertainty surrounding NASCAR’s return, one thing was obvious to the majority of fans heading into the first Cup Series race in over two months.
Kevin Harvick loves Darlington Raceway.
That sentiment was affirmed when Harvick celebrated his first win of the season at The Real Heroes 400 on Sunday.
With the victory, Harvick has now placed fifth or better in seven of his last eight trips to Darlington, including a pair of wins.
The No. 4 Ford’s dominance at the track is that much more relevant this week thanks to NASCAR’s revised schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Just three days after Harvick’s win, Darlington Raceway will host its second consecutive Cup Series event with the Toyota 500 on Wednesday.
It will mark the first time since 1971 that one venue has hosted multiple Cup Series races in the same week.
Unlike Sunday’s race, Harvick will be the consensus sports betting favourite to win outright this time around.
Here is a closer look at the latest updated odds from Bodog.
Kevin Harvick +350
From +400 on Monday to +350 on Tuesday, the oddsmakers continue to shorten Harvick’s number heading into the Toyota 500.
The current Cup Series points leader is the only driver to finish inside the top-10 in each of the last eight races at Darlington.
So far this season, he’s averaged a fifth-place finish while remaining the lone driver to produce top-10 results in all five races.
Just the 14th Cup Series driver ever to reach 50 career wins, Harvick will set his sights on another historic mark on Wednesday.
He has an opportunity to become the first driver in Cup Series history to win twice at one track in the same week.
In Sunday’s victory at Darlington, Harvick started in the No. 6 spot and was listed at +750 to win outright.
Three days later at the same track, Harvick is set to start in the No. 20 spot.
This time around, he’s listed at +350 to win the Toyota 500.
Next In Line
Kyle Busch +700
Busch was the betting favourite to win The Real Heroes 400.
He placed 26th.
The driver of the No. 18 Toyota hasn’t won at Darlington since 2008.
Still, Busch had finished in the top-10 in eight of the previous 10 Cup Series races at this track, so it makes sense that he’s listed among the betting favourites once again for Wednesday’s race.
With a pair of top-three finishes at California and Phoenix already this season, Busch could rebound on short notice and contend for his first win of the year at the Toyota 500.
Brad Keselowski +900
Despite a disappointing 13th-place finish, Keselowski flashed his immense potential at Darlington on Sunday.
Keselowski was the outright leader after Stage 2 of The Real Heroes 400.
He led for 80 laps – second-most behind only the winner Harvick.
Less than two years removed from a win at Darlington, Keselowski is expected to be in the mix again on Wednesday.
Don’t Sleep On
Kurt Busch +1200
Kyle’s older brother holds the record for the most career starts (24) at Darlington without a win among active Cup Series drivers.
However, he’s certainly come close before, including a third-place finish on Sunday.
The No. 1 Chevrolet also placed third at California and sixth at Phoenix in his two previous starts before the shutdown.
Considering he will be chasing his fifth straight top-seven finish at Darlington, nobody should sleep on Busch to win this race at +1200.
Erik Jones +1800
Jones has finished in the top-eight in each of his four starts at Darlington Raceway, including a win at this track last season.
Coming off an eighth-place finish on Sunday, it’s somewhat surprising to see the No. 20 Toyota listed at such long odds to win Wednesday’s race.
Ryan Newman +9000
The fact that Newman was able to start and finish Sunday’s race just three months after his devastating wreck at the Daytona 500 is an incredible accomplishment in itself.
A top-15 finish is certainly something he can build off of on Wednesday.
Newman will be a significant long shot once again.
However, it’s worth noting his 13 top-10 finishes at Darlington lead all active Cup Series drivers.
The idea that Newman could win the Toyota 500 outright isn’t as big of a stretch as his number seems to indicate at +9000 odds.
*All Betting Information appears as listed by Bodog on Tuesday, May 19, 2020.