Updated March 6, 2021 - 4:57 am
If the year of the long shot in NASCAR continues Sunday, all Dollar Loan Center customers in Nevada could be off the hook and Circa sportsbook could be on the hook for $10 million.
Dollar Loan Center founder and CEO Chuck Brennan placed a $10,000 bet to win $10 million at Circa on Josh Bilicki at 1,000-1 odds to win the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Dollar Loan Center is the primary sponsor on Bilicki’s No. 52 Rick Ware Racing Ford Mustang and the company (dontbebroke.com) will pay off all Nevada customers’ loans if he wins his first career NASCAR race.
“We’re going all in on Josh Bilicki this year,” Brennan said of the Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, native.
Brennan’s bet is a hedge on the potential losses on the promotion, similar to the millions of dollars in hedge bets made in recent years by Houston furniture store owner Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale.
“Chuck has always loved a good promotion, and we’re happy to take part by accepting his bet on Josh Bilicki to win the Pennzoil 400 to the tune of $10 million,” Circa owner Derek Stevens said.
The first two races of the 2021 season were won by first-time Cup winners and 80-1 shots as Michael McDowell won the Daytona 500 on Feb. 14 and Christopher Bell won on the Daytona road course Feb. 21.
William Byron cashed 30-1 tickets when he won Sunday’s Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway for his second career Cup win.
Martin Truex Jr. is the 6-1 favorite at the Westgate to win the Pennzoil 400. Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott are 7-1, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano are 8-1 and Kyle Larson is 10-1.
“Truex was really fast last week in the Joe Gibbs Toyota. He sure looks like a guy that can win this week. He’s got a decent history here,” Westgate vice president of risk Ed Salmons said. “Without practice, you really have no idea what’s coming. All you can really go by now is the race and history.
“This race is definitely wide open.”
Logano won last year’s spring Cup race at LVMS, and Las Vegas native Kurt Busch won at LVMS in the fall.
The Team Penske tandem of Logano and Brad Keselowski have excelled at LVMS. But Salmons noted that they were way down on speed at Homestead as he crossed them off his list of potential plays this week.
“It used to be you could almost take each race and lower it to three people who can win. But this year that number can be six, seven or eight people,” he said. “Kyle Busch has struggled and I don’t think Byron can go back-to-back so that gives me the other three cars for Hendricks — (Alex) Bowman, Larson and Elliott.
“And you have Truex, Hamlin and Harvick. I think the winner will be among those six.”
Bilicki is in a pack of eight drivers at the Westgate tied for the longest odds on the board at 10,000-1.
Up to 25-1
Martin Truex Jr.; 6-1
Kevin Harvick; 7-1
Denny Hamlin; 7-1
Chase Elliott; 7-1
Brad Keselowski; 8-1
Joey Logano; 8-1
Kyle Larson; 10-1
Kyle Busch; 14-1
Ryan Blaney; 14-1
Alex Bowman; 18-1
William Byron; 20-1
Kurt Busch; 25-1