Hollywood Casino 400 Race Analysis & Picks
Race: Hollywood Casino 400
Date: Sunday October 18, 2020
Track: Kansas Speedway
Time: 2:30 pm ET
What Did We Learn From Last Weekend?
As predicted, Chase Elliott pulled off his 4th consecutive road course win, putting him securely into the round of eight in the playoffs. The best part of that number of consecutive road course wins, you ask? Well, he is in good company, with only being bested by the one and only Jeff Gordon, who maintains a record of 6 consecutive road course wins. That’s pretty impressive. Elliott is showing up to win and really letting everyone know that he’s got the talent to be where he’s at and not just riding his dad’s coattails. Elliott also tied for the most laps led during this race, only being tied with teammate William Byron for 26 laps each. The race itself was actually pretty good, with the drivers starting out the race with windshield wipers and rain tires as the rain fell across the track. It was definitely a wet start but cleared up as the race progressed. It wasn’t long until the heat from the cars dried the track enough for the drivers to get back onto slicks. The pace was initially pretty slow as none of the drivers were too sure about stock car racing on a very wet track, but it picked up tremendously as they got more comfortable. I’d love to see this trend continue in the future on all the tracks, short of superspeedways. I think that it’s more than reasonable for the stock cars to race on rain tires if the other series can manage to do it safely.
The unfortunate losers of the day were the four that were on the cutoff line. None of those drivers managed to gain the win, obviously, or the necessary points to make it into the round of eight. Most notoriously, Kyle Busch had another rough day, marked with a collision with Clint Bowyer relatively early in the race. Busch managed to make up the track position by staying out during pit stops, but older tires ended up costing him, as did fuel strategy. Needing to pit on the next to last lap for fuel left Busch with a disappointing 30th place finish. Clint Bowyer was rallying as well but still came up short. He ran almost the entire race with no power steering. If you think that’s tough on a regular course, imagine doing that on a road course and still having a top 10 finish! While he wasn’t able to cash in on the playoffs, Bowyer deserves a round of applause for persevering through very unfortunate circumstances. Almirola had a rough day all the way around. He admitted in post-race interviews that he isn’t the best road course racer, which left him unable to make up the needed 48 points he started the race with. It was definitely a Hail Mary attempt. Austin Dillon, well, honestly, I was surprised he was still hanging around in the top twelve. I’m not particularly surprised to see him fall out.
Where Are We Headed This Weekend?
As the drivers move on to the round of 8, they will be back at Kansas for another 1.5-mile track. This place is a 1.5-mile asphalt tri-oval with 17-20 degrees of banking through the turns, 9-11 degrees through the frontstretch, and 5 degrees on the backstretch. Interestingly enough, the round of eight starts with two intermediate tracks (Kansas followed by Texas) and ends with a short track at Martinsville. The setup of the playoffs is a bit odd to me, with the last playoff segment having a road course and a superspeedway in it. I guess NASCAR has to do what they have to do to make the schedule work, but they need to diversify the segments a little bit instead of sticking all the oddball races into one. A road course or superspeedway by itself is enough to through off an entire round for a team, let alone both. Regardless, this is where we’re at right now, and we will likely see more aggressive driving as we head into the last four races of the season.
Odds and Value Picks
Kansas is a track where track position is king, as is the case with all intermediate tracks. The drivers that qualify well and get out front and stay out front will be hard to catch. Three particular drivers have a strong record here and a great chance of winning. Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, and Kevin Harvick are all at the top of the list. With two wins in his last eight races here, Harvick is a strong pick. His consistency throughout the season is something to take note of. The thing about Harvick is that he is doing so well with the points; he doesn’t have to win. I’m not saying he won’t fight for one, but he might not be the risk-taker that some of the other drivers are. If all goes well, though, Harvick will sail to the front of the pack as per usual, but I don’t intend to see him make any crazy moves. Let’s take a look at our potential winners heading into Kansas this weekend:
Favorite: Denny Hamlin (+425). Bet Hamlin for FREE at Bovada Sportsbook, where they’ll give you a 50% bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500. Example: Deposit $500 and they’ll give you an extra $250 in free bets! Click here to sign up now!
Mid-Range Pick: Kurt Busch (+2500)
Dark Horse: Alex Bowman (+2000)
So, you may wonder how Bowman can be a dark horse pick being that he is moving into the round of eight. Well, without having a win here and still being a bit of a high-risk odds pick, Bowman isn’t exactly a favorite week in and week out. The thing about him is that he’s shown vast improvement throughout this entire season. When they raced here back in May, Bowman pulled off a 2nd place finish, in fact. With a championship on the line, Bowman might be the one to break out some moves and really go for a win this weekend. I don’t put it past him. Kurt Busch is another driver to watch. While his little brother has fallen out of championship contention, Kurt has maintained his spot and is coming into Kansas with 8 top 10 finishes in his last 11 starts here. Again, he’s not a winner at this track, but there’s a first time for everything, and he seems to be coming on stronger as the season goes on. They will all be chasing Denny Hamlin, though. I think that Hamlin is looking for a win after a few weeks of bad luck on the track. He’s won the last two races here at Kansas and will look to match that here on Sunday. Let’s take a look at your current top 8 in the standings after the cutoff at Charlotte.
- Kevin Harvick (+400)
- Denny Hamlin (+400)
- Brad Keselowski (+800)
- Chase Elliott (+500)
- Joey Logano (+1200)
- Martin Truex Jr. (+550)
- Alex Bowman (+2000)
- Kurt Busch (+2000)
Anyone below 4th place is scrambling. It may seem like there’s plenty of time, but there are only 3 races before the champion is crowned at Phoenix. That’s really not much time at all. Those 4 guys below the cutoff are all fierce competitors. I think that these next three races are going to produce some of the best racing we’ve seen all year long. Stay tuned for a great afternoon of racing as the drivers head to Kansas for the battle of eight! Want more free bets? Deposit $300 and get $300 FREE at one of the web’s biggest NASCAR betting sites —> MyBookie