After some rain and some failed inspections, Kevin Harvick will start on the pole and is the favorite to win Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Harvick, who won this race in 2015 and 2018, was +350 at the Westgate on Saturday to earn his third victory here.
Las Vegan Kyle Busch was the second choice at 6-1, followed by Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr. at 8-1.
Rain washed out qualifying Saturday, so drivers will start based on owners points. That meant Busch was going to be on the pole. However, his car failed a prequalifying inspection, and he will be shuffled to the back along with Denny Hamlin, who was set to start fourth, and Christopher Bell, who was going to start 22nd.
Harvick will slide up from third to the pole alongside Truex, who will stay in the second position after he failed an initial inspection Saturday before passing on the second attempt.
Westgate vice president of risk Ed Salmons said Busch’s odds should be higher, but he draws public money to keep his price down. A bettor placed a $4,000 wager on Busch to win the race at 9-2, Salmons said.
“If Kyle Busch’s name was John Smith, his odds would probably be 12-1,” Salmons said.
The past eight races at LVMS have been won by only four drivers — Brad Keselowski three times, Harvick and Truex twice each and Logano. Keselowski is 10-1 at the Westgate.
Salmons said it was difficult to back a long shot — “winning a race and running in the top 10 are just two completely different things” — but the Chevrolets performed well in practice and could put Chase Elliott (10-1), Kyle Larson (10-1) and Alex Bowman (16-1) in the mix.
Aric Almirola (25-1) also had a good practice in his Ford, Salmons said, but “he’s not a guy that wins races.”
Las Vegan Kurt Busch is 30-1.
William Hill said in a release Friday that Jimmie Johnson had garnered the most bets so far (7 percent), while Logano had the most money wagered on him (10 percent). Johnson was at 22-1 at William Hill on Saturday, and Logano was at 7-1.
Salmons said Sunday’s race would have the highest handle of the NASCAR season, followed by last week’s Daytona 500 and the fall LVMS race.
“It’s such a niche sport, with few people who really follow it,” Salmons said. “But it’s definitely worth our while.”
Pennzoil 400 odds
Martin Truex Jr.;+800
Kyle Busch finishing position
Kurt Busch finishing position