NASCAR betting: Subway Fresh 500 preview

Feb 28, 2013 |
NASCAR betting: Subway Fresh 500 preview
Kurt Busch returns to his Southwest racing roots in Phoenix Sunday.
Photo By - USA Today Sports
Kurt Busch returns to his Southwest racing roots in Phoenix Sunday.
Photo By - USA Today Sports
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to the desert for the second race of the new season, the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. The 1-mile oval track is a far cry from the restrictor-plate racing at Daytona, so drivers with success in the season opener may not carry that over at Avondale.

Odds on favorite: Jimmie Johnson (+600)

Johnson is coming off a victory at Daytona last weekend and is no stranger to Phoenix International Raceway. The No. 48 car owns an average finish of 6.68 – tops among active drivers – and has visited Victory Lane four times in 19 career starts at Phoenix. Johnson has placed among the Top 5 in 11 of his last 13 races there but finished a disappointing 32nd in the AdvoCare 500 last November.

Live dog: Kevin Harvick (+1,500)

Harvick is the most recent winner at Avondale, taking the checkered flag at the AdvoCare 500 last November. He boasts an average finish of 12.9 at Phoenix, with three wins and 10 Top-10 showings in 20 career starts. During Speedweek at Daytona, Harvick won both the Sprint Unlimited and Budweiser Duel 1 but finished 42nd in the Daytona 500 after getting into a wreck.

Long shot: Kurt Busch (+6,000)

Busch is no stranger to the desert heat, growing up in Las Vegas and cutting his teeth in the Southwest racing circuits. He’s one of the most consistent drivers at Phoenix, completing 99.7 percent of laps (6299 of 6317) in his 20 Sprint Cup races at PIR. The elder Busch brother also has a win (2005 Subway Fresh 500) at Phoenix and ranks third among active drivers in most laps led with 750. Chevrolet has dominated this race over the past few seasons, winning six of the last eight Subway Fresh Fit 500 events.

Key Stat:

Between 2003 and 2009, three drivers – Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kevin Harvick – won eight of 12 Phoenix races. Eight different drivers have graced Victory Lane since the opening race of the 2009 season.

Notable quotable:

"This weekend will be one of the most difficult and challenging ever. Our new Chevy SS has significantly more downforce than last year's car. With the new Gen-6 car, the new rules, a new tire compound and new inspection process, we don't really have anything that we can base this weekend off of.” - Alan Gustafson, crew chief for Jeff Gordon.

Odds to win Subway Fresh Fit 500 (Courtesy of JustBet)

Jimmie Johnson 6-1
Kyle Busch 8-1
Denny Hamlin 8-1
Brad Keselowski 8-1
Kasey Kahne 10-1
Matt Kenseth 10-1
Jeff Gordon 12-1
Tony Stewart 12-1
Kevin Harvick 15-1
Carl Edwards 15-1
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 15-1
Clint Bowyer 15-1
Greg Biffle 15-1
Martin Truex Jr. 20-1
Mark Martin 20-1
Ryan Newman 30-1
Joey Lagano 30-1
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 50-1
Kurt Busch 60-1
Jamie McMurray 100-1
Paul Menard 100-1
Aric Almirola 100-1
Juan Montoya 100-1
Jeff Burton 100-1
Marcos Ambrose 100-1
Bobby Labonte 300-1
Danica Patrick 300-1
Field (Any Other Driver ) 50-1

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