NASCAR Quaker State 400 Betting Preview, Odds and Predictions

by Rick Rockwell
on July 12, 2018
15

Minute Read

For the second weekend in a row, NASCAR’s Monster Energy Cup Series will race on a Saturday evening as they head to Kentucky for the Quaker State 400 presented by Walmart. This race is scheduled to begin at 7:30 PM ET on July 14th, and will be televised live on NBCSN.

Here are the top sites we recommend for betting on the Quaker State 400:

The Quaker State 400 is the 19th race of the season and will be a 400 mile battle at the Kentucky Speedway, which is a 1.5 mile, tri-oval track with an infamous Turn 3. This is the 8th installment of the Quaker State 400 race and it’s certainly going to be filled with plenty of action as drivers do their best to inch closer to a playoff position.

A Quick look at the Race Details:

  • Stage 1: First 80 laps
  • Stage 2: Laps 81 to 160
  • Finish: Laps 161 to 267
  • Track Distance: 1.5 miles
  • Total Miles: 400
  • TV Broadcast: NBC Sports Network

A Look Back at the 2017 Quaker State 400

Last year, Martin Truex Jr. dominated the race by leading 152 of the 274 laps and winning both stages before going on to take the checkered flag. The race went into Overtime, which is why there were 274 laps instead of the scheduled 267. Kyle Larson finished in second place while Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch rounded out the top 5. Kyle Busch started the race on the pole, but ended up finishing 5th. The race winner Martin Truex Jr. started in second place.

Coming into Kentucky this Weekend

This will be the third race at the Kentucky Speedway since the track was repaved in 2016, and the drivers are eager to not only race each other, but to also conquer the track that has defeated them on many occasions by mastering the infamous Turn 3.

With that said, the Big 4 of Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and Clint Bowyer look to keep their stranglehold on the series as they head into Kentucky. The Big 4 have won 15 of the 18 races so far this season.

Last weekend in Daytona, multiple wrecks took out many of the race favorites. Ultimately, it led to Erik Jones getting the first win of his career. In a season where one win could solidify a playoff spot, every race counts even more.

Storylines to watch this weekend are:

  • Can anyone outside of the Big 4 win this weekend?
  • Will Martin Truex Jr. become the 3rd multi-time winner at this track?
  • Can Brad Keselowski get his first win of the season?
  • Will any of the young guns duplicate Jones’ good fortunes from last weekend?
  • Will “Turn 3” claim any drivers this weekend?

Previous Quaker State 400 Winners

The inaugural race began in 2011. However, there have only been 4 different drivers to win this race. This weekend’s running at the Kentucky Speedway will mark the 8th time that NASCAR has raced at this track. The following is a list of previous Quaker State 400 winners, courtesy of Wikipedia:

Year Winning Driver Winning Race Team Car Manufacturer
2011 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
2012 Brad Keselowski Penske Racing Dodge
2013 Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
2014 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford
2015 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
2016 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford
2017 Martin Truex Jr. Furniture Row Racing Toyota

Brad Keselowski has won this race three times and is followed by Kyle Busch with two wins. Both Matt Kenseth and Martin Truex Jr. will be racing this weekend and could possibly join Busch and Keselowski as multi-time winners. Joe Gibbs Racing and Team Penske have won this race 3 times apiece, claiming 6 of the 7 races at this track.

2018 Quaker State 400 Betting Odds

The following Quaker State 400 Betting Odds are courtesy of 5Dimes:

  • Kevin Harvick (+275)
  • Martin Truex Jr. (+365)
  • Kyle Busch (+365)
  • Kyle Larson (+525)
  • Clint Bowyer (+1600)
  • Brad Keselowski (+1700)
  • Denny Hamlin (+2200)
  • Joey Logano (+2200)
  • Erik Jones (+2200)
  • Ryan Blaney (+2200)
  • Kurt Busch (+2700)
  • Aric Almirola (+3100)
  • Chase Elliott (+3100)
  • Jimmie Johnson (+5500)
  • Daniel Suarez (+8300)
  • Paul Menard (+11000)
  • Jamie McMurray (+11000)
  • Alex Bowman (+11000)
  • William Byron (+20000)
  • Austin Dillon (+27700)
  • Ryan Newman (+30000)
  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (+30000)
  • Matt Kenseth (+30000)
  • Kasey Kahne (+50000)
  • Darrel Wallace Jr (+50000)
  • Chris Buescher (+50000)

The Quaker State 400 Favorites

It should come as no surprise to NASCAR fans and sports bettors that the following 5 drivers are listed as this weekend’s odds on favorite to win the race:

Kevin Harvick (+275)

Once again, Kevin Harvick is the odds on favorite to win the NASCAR race of the week. It seems that oddsmakers feel he’s going to win every race as they continue to have him lead the pack. I agree that Harvick is one of the best in the business, but I’m not sure I agree with Kevin being the favorite this weekend. In 7 races at the Kentucky Speedway, Harvick has an average finish of 10th place. He also has an average start of 10.4. Harvick has never won here, has zero Top 5 finishes, but does have five Top 10’s.

For the season, Harvick is second in the standings and is tied with Kyle Busch for the most race wins with 5. Harvick also has 2 poles, 13 Top 5’s, and 14 Top 10’s this year. He’s finished Top 10 or better in 14 of the 18 races so far. Last weekend, Harvick ended his run of 4 straight races finishing 4th or better as he finished 19th due to a crash. You can bet Kevin will bounce back this weekend and compete for the checkered flag.

Martin Truex Jr. (+365)

As mentioned, Truex Jr. dominated the race in Kentucky last year. He led 152 laps, which brings his career total to 199 laps led at this track. In addition to his win, Truex also has one Top 5, four Top 10’s, and an average finish of 11.4. Martin Truex Jr. has completed all of the laps that he’s ran here in 7 career races and looks to duplicate his success from 2017.

Currently, Truex is third in the standings behind Busch and Harvick with 629 points. Martin has 3 wins, 3 poles, 12 Top 5’s, and 12 Top 10’s this season. He’s finished in the Top 10 in 66.7% of his races this year and there’s a great chance he does it again this weekend. On the season, Martin Truex Jr. has an average finish of 9.9. He came in 2nd place last weekend at Daytona and has a streak of 3 straight races of finishing 4th or better.

Kyle Busch (+365)

On the season, Kyle Busch is leading the Monster Energy Cup Series with 749 points. In 18 races, he has 5 wins, 3 poles, 12 Top 5’s, 14 Top 10’s, and an average finish of 8.3. Busch did crash out of last weekend’s race in Daytona, where he finished 33rd overall. That broke a streak of 5 straight races of finishing in the Top 5. With that said, Busch is the man in Kentucky.

Out of all of the current drivers, Kyle Busch has the best average finish in the Quaker State 400 at 5.1. He’s scored two wins in 7 career races and has also tallied five Top 5’s and six Top 10’s. That’s a Top 5 finish in 71.4% of his Kentucky races and an even better Top 10 finishing rate of 85.7%

Busch is one of only two drivers to have won more than once in Kentucky and he’s definitely poised for a strong run this weekend.

Kyle Larson (+525)

Like Busch, Larson’s performance at Daytona was a disappointment as he also crashed out and finished 29th. However, it once again showed Larson’s inconsistency in 2018. Two weeks ago in Chicago, Larson finished 2nd and three weeks ago he finished 14th in Sonoma. If Larson can get some luck and some consistency going forward, then he will definitely be a threat to the Big 4.

On the season, Larson sits in 10th place with 544 points. He has yet to win a race this year. However, he does have 2 poles, 6 Top 5’s, and 10 Top 10’s on the year.

At Kentucky, Larson hasn’t fared well in his career. In 4 races at the Kentucky Speedway, Larson has an average finish of 24th. He crashed out of his first race here in 2014, improved in 2015 to 35th place, fared even better in 2016 with a 19th place, and then steamrolled everyone except for Truex Jr. last year as he finished in 2nd place. Personally, I think these odds are a bit too high. Until he can be more consistent week in and week out, I’m avoiding my home town driver. Yes, that hurts to say.

Clint Bowyer (+1600)

The 4th member of NASCAR’s Big 4 currently sits in 4th place at 594 points. He’s won two races this year and also has 6 Top 5’s and 10 Top 10’s. Last weekend, Bowyer was also caught up in a crash and ended up finishing 22nd. It broke a 3 race streak where he finished 5th or better. Although Bowyer has an average finish of 10.6 on the season, I’m not excited about his chances in Kentucky.

Like Kyle Larson, Bowyer hasn’t run well at Kentucky in his career. In 7 races, he has an average finish of 18.9 and 1 DNF. He only has one Top 5 and one Top 10 finish on his resume for the Quaker State 400. And, that was due to his 3rd place finish back in 2013. Since then, his best finish was 13th last year. As fun as it’s been to see Bowyer compete with the other top drivers, I don’t see him hanging in there this weekend.

Betting Value for the Quaker State 400

After scouring through the betting odds, and the career success that each driver has had at this racetrack, I believe that the following drivers provide fantastic betting value for this weekend’s Quaker State 400:

Brad Keselowski (+1700)

Let me start by saying that I love these odds. At 17-to-1 odds (+1700), Keselowski offers the best betting value this weekend. So far, the 2018 season has not been a great one for Brad. And his frustrations boiled over after the Dayton race last weekend where he said he was going to wreck drivers who intentionally block him in upcoming races. Keselowski was caught up in a wreck that ended his day with a 36th place finish. On the season, Brad sits 8th at 596 points. He has 4 Top 5’s, 10 Top 10’s and an average finish of 14.4 with 4 DNFs.

As I typed those stats, I could feel Keselowski’s frustrations. But, if there was a track that could cure his 2018 season woes, it’s this one. Brad leads all drivers with 3 wins at Kentucky: 2012, 2014, and 2016. Do you see the trend here? He wins in even years. Last year, Brad crashed out and finished 39th. He has 3 Top 5’s, 5 Top 10’s and an average finish of 12.6 at the Kentucky Speedway. I believe Brad is going to bounce back this weekend from a frustrating race at Daytona and compete for the checkered flag.

Denny Hamlin (+2200)

Like Keselowski, 2018 hasn’t been a great year for Hamlin either. Currently, Denny sits in 11th place with 538 points. He has 0 wins, 0 poles, 6 Top 5’s and 10 Top 10’s for the year.  Hamlin was also one of the many unfortunate drivers to crash out at Daytona last weekend. Hamlin ended up finishing 38th, which broke a streak of 3 straight races of finishing 12th or better.

In 7 Quaker State 400 races, Hamlin has 3 Top 5’s, 3 Top 10’s, and an average finish of 16.1. Last year, Hamlin finished 4th. In fact, he’s had two Top 4 finishes out of the last 3 years. Hamlin’s Kentucky average finish would be higher if he didn’t crash out in 2013 and 2014. I believe Hamlin is going to have a strong showing this weekend.

Joey Logano +2200

Typically, I try to only choose two drivers for betting value. But, it was hard for me to pick between Hamlin and Joey Logano. They both offer the same betting odds and they both are going to finish at least in the Top 10 this weekend. Logano has 2 Top 5’s, 4 Top 10’s, and an average finish of 14th at Kentucky. Like Hamlin, his career average finish at this track would be higher if he didn’t crash out of the race in 2016.

For the season, Logano is one of only 6 drivers to have won a NASCAR Monster Energy Cup race. He currently sits 5th in the standings with 618 points. Joey has already compiled 5 Top 5’s and 13 Top 10’s in 2018. For you math wizards, Logano is quietly finishing in the Top 10 in 72.2% of his races.

The Quaker State 400 Longshot

Each week, I try to pick a longshot who has a somewhat realistic chance of winning the race or at least finishing in the Top 10. This week, I really feel that the dark horse driver is Kasey Kahne and his staggering odds of +50000. No other longshot offers these massive odds with a possible chance, albeit a very slim one, of winning. Kahne has had some bad cars this season and some unfortunate crashes that have hindered his success. Currently, Kahne sits in 26th position with 269 points and is 157 points outside of the last playoff position. The only way he can make the playoffs this year is with a win.

I believe he turned his season around last weekend at Daytona with a 4th place finish. A crash here or there could leave a major opening for Kahne to crack the Top 10 and maybe even steal the race this weekend. With his hopes for the playoffs coming down to scoring a victory during the regular season, Kahne is going to need to race for wins and not points.

At Kentucky, Kahne has 1 Top 5, 2 Top 10’s, and an average finish of 16.1 in 7 career races. However, he crashed out of last year’s race. If you throw out last year’s result, Kahne has an average finish of 12.5 over his first 6 races at Kentucky Speedway.

2018 Quaker State 400 Driver Matchups

Typically, I have been looking at driver matchups that only feature two drivers. This week’s race, I wanted to explore the NASCAR wager option of Driver Group Matchups, which pits 4 drivers against each other. The goal for this type of wager is to pick which driver you think will win out of each group. Now, they don’t have to win the race, they just have to finish higher than the other drivers in their group. The following matchups are courtesy of 5Dimes:

Driver Group Matchup 1

This Driver Group Matchup is a battle of 4 drivers all within the top 13 in the standings.

Brad Keselowski +240

I’ve already made my case for Keselowski in the Betting Value section above.

Kurt Busch +265

Kurt, who currently sits 9th in the standings with 566 points, already has 2 poles, 3 Top 5’s and 9 Top 10’s on the year. At Kentucky, Busch has an average finish of 12.9 in 7 career races. He also has 1 Top 5 and 4 Top 10’s, but didn’t complete the race last year due to engine problems. Two years ago, Kurt finished in 4th place and is looking to duplicate that success on Saturday.

Ryan Blaney +265

Blaney, who sits in 13th place in the standings, also has 2 poles like Busch, 3 Top 5’s and 8 Top 10’s on the season. Unfortunately, he only has two career starts at Kentucky and an average finish of 22.5. Last year, Blaney finished 10th in the race.

Aric Almirola +275

Almirola might be 12th in the standings, but he has had an abysmal record at the Kentucky Speedway. In 5 races, Almirola has zero wins, zero Top 5’s, and zero Top 10’s. He has an average finish of 22.4, 1 DNF, and his highest placing was 12th in 2015. Almirola didn’t race last year in the Quaker State 400.

Group 1 Winner: I’m going with Keselowski in this one. Kurt Busch will crack the Top 15 for this race and may even flirt with a Top 10 finish. But, Keselowski is going to have a Top 5 finish and maybe even win the race. Almirola and Blaney will be non-factors in this matchup.

Driver Group Matchup 2

This Driver Group Matchup features the 23rd through 26th drivers in the standings:

Kasey Kahne +220

I’ve already laid out my argument for Kahne in the Betting Longshot section above.

Darrel Wallace Jr. +250

Darrel “Bubba” Wallace Jr. currently sits in 25th place with 1 Top 5 and 2 Top 10’s. He has one career start at Kentucky, which came last year and he finished in 11th place. Bubba has led 15 laps this year and has completed over 98% of the laps in 2018. However, he remains an unknown at Kentucky and one that doesn’t instill betting confidence in me.

Chris Buescher +295

Buescher is currently 24th in the standings with 2 Top 5’s and 2 Top 10’s this year. He finished 5th at Daytona last weekend, which matches his 5th place finish in the 1st race at Daytona back in February. Unfortunately, Kentucky is not the same as Daytona and he has not had much success in the Quaker State 400. In 2 career races at this track, Chris has an average finish of 26.5 and 1 DNF. Last year he finished in 16th place.

AJ Allmendinger +295

Allmendinger sits in 23rd place, the best position of the drivers in this group. He has 1 Top 5 and 3 Top 10 finishes in 2018 so far. He is coming off a strong showing at Daytona last weekend where he finished 3rd overall. That was his best finish of the year. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have the best luck at the Kentucky Speedway. In 7 races, AJ only has 1 Top 10, an average finish of 23.3 and 1 DNF. His best finish was 9th place back in 2012. Last year, AJ finished in 20th place.

Group 2 Winner: I’m going with Kasey Kahne. He has the most experience out of these drivers and he’s had more success at Kentucky than the rest. Buescher and Wallace have very little Monster Energy Cup Series racing experience on this track and Allmendinger hasn’t had any luck.

2018 Quaker State 400 Checkered Flag

This weekend’s pick from the Big 4 to not make the Top 5 is Clint Bowyer. In his career, he just hasn’t fared as well at this track as the other 3 drivers. Although Harvick is a threat at every track he races in, I believe Busch and Truex will finish higher than him this weekend. However, all 3 of these drivers will finish in the Top 5. Joining them will also be Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski. It was a toss-up between Logano and Hamlin this weekend, but I like Joey’s overall consistency this year better than Hamlin’s. Additionally, Logano has fared a little better at Kentucky than Hamlin.

Now, for my winner, I’m going with Brad Keselowski. He’s won 3 of the 7 Monster Energy Cup Series races at this track and I feel like he’s on the cusp of winning this year. Brad is certainly coming into this race irritated over last weekend and will look to dominate the competition. He’s led 483 laps in 7 races, which is about 25% of the total laps raced as this Speedway. I see Brad getting a stage victory and taking the checkered flag before it’s all said and done.

My Top 5 Drivers:

The following list is in no particular order:

  • Martin Truex Jr.
  • Kyle Busch
  • Kevin Harvick
  • Brad Keselowski
  • Joey Logano

Quaker State 400 Betting Recap

  • Race Winner: Brad Keselowski (+1700)
  • Betting Value: Keselowski (+1700), Hamlin (+2200), Logano (+2200)
  • Longshot: Kasey Kahne (+50000)
  • Group 1 Winner: Brad Keselowski (+240)
  • Group 2 Winner: Kasey Kahne (+220)

Quaker State 400 Fun Facts

The following is a list of fun facts compiled from various sources: Wikipedia, ESPN and others:

  • The track officially broke ground in 1998.
  • The inaugural NASCAR race was in 2011.
  • There has only been 4 drivers to win this race.
  • Brad Keselowski leads all drivers with 3 wins.
  • Team Penske and Joe Gibbs Racing have each won this race 3 times.
  • Toyota has won 4 of 7 Quaker State 400 races.
  • The 2017 race is the only one to go into overtime.
  • The 2012 race had the fastest average speed or 145.6 mph.
  • The 2012 race was also the quickest at 2:45 minutes.
  • The track was repaved in 2016.
  • Quaker State has been the only sponsor of this race since its inception and it will continue to be the main sponsor through 2022.
  • The 2013 races is the only one to be moved from Saturday to Sunday and that was due to rain.
  • 18 different drivers have started in all 7 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series races.
  • Brad Keselowski has the best average finish amongst current drivers at 5.3.
  • Kyle Busch (26 years old) in 2011, became the youngest driver to win this race while Matt Kenseth (41 years old) became the oldest to win this race.
  • Four out of Seven races have been won by the front row.
  • The furthest starting position in the field to win this race was Matt Kenseth at 16th.
  • Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch hold the record for most top 10 finishes with 6 apiece.
  • Kyle Busch has the most top 5 finishes with 5.
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