- Kyle Larson is the favorite this week at the Cook Out Southern 500 on Sunday, September 5th, 2021
- Does the “Race For The Chase” impact how some drivers race the opening chase event?
- We’ve got you covered with all the odds and trends ahead of Sunday evening’s race at Darlington
NASCAR heads to Darlington with a Sunday night drive under the lights. This is after the race at Daytona, where Ryan Blaney simply found a way to do it again while Bubba Wallace enjoyed one of his best finishes ever. Blaney held off Bubba Wallace and Chris Buescher. The odds do seem a bit back to normal this week. Most will notice the numbers tilt back towards the dominators once again. Kyle Larson is the early favorite at +300. Martin Truex Jr., who excels at Darlington, comes in at +500.
Let’s take a look at the Cook Out Southern 500 odds from Darlington and figure out which drivers are the best bets.
NASCAR Cook Out Southern 500 Odds
|Driver||Odds at DraftKings|
|Martin Truex Jr.||+500|
Odds as of September 2nd
Kyle Larson Back to Favorite at Darlington
NASCAR drivers will run on the 2.5-mile Darlington Motor Speedway when the flag drops for the Sunday night race beginning around 6:00 PM EST. The Labor Day weekend is an intriguing one because “The Chase” does add more to the mix along with other drivers just trying to finish out the season well.
At Daytona, Larson tried to race easily but got caught up in a crash on the last lap anyway as things intensified. Daytona featured a ton of lead changes and much chaos. Darlington is one of those tracks that is tough to tame, and there could be more attrition and accidents.
Not a shock here, but Larson is only at +300 in the Cook Out Southern 500 odds. Fellow Hendrick Motorsports Racing drivers Chase Elliott and William Byron come in at +850 and +1200 respectively.
Now, part of the reason why the numbers may have come back to reality is because of this.
In 4 of his last 5 Darlington races, Kyle Larson has finished in either 2nd or 3rd.
Overcame a speeding penalty this year to finish 2nd
Absolutely dominated in 2018 and should've won (led 284 laps) but then late cautions came out and he made not so smart restart decisions. pic.twitter.com/DKN0keBGhK
— Ryan (@ifantasyrace) August 30, 2021
It just shows that Kyle Larson has the car to handle the high-wear tire package from NASCAR. More importantly, he can carry the speed around the Darlington banks and turns like few other drivers before him.
Also, Larson will be an easy favorite because he has led over 31% of the laps in his last three appearances on the Darlington track. If not, for a few questionable restart decisions, the No. 5 car would have at least one win, maybe two.
Cook Out Southern 500 Recent Winners
|Year||Race Winner||Pole Position||Most Laps Led|
|2020||Kevin Harvick – Stewart-Haas Racing||Kevin Harvick — Stewart-Haas Racing||Joey Logano — Team Penske|
|2019||Erik Jones — Joe Gibbs Racing||Joey Logano — Team Penske||Austin Dillon — Richard Childress Racing|
|2018||Brad Keselowski — Team Penske||Chase Elliott— Hendrick Motorsports Racing||Ricky Stenhouse Jr. — Roush Fenway Racing|
|2017||Denny Hamlin — Joe Gibbs Racing||Dale Earnhardt Jr. — Hendrick Motorsports Racing||Brad Keselowski — Team Penske|
|2016||Martin Truex Jr. — Furniture Row Racing||Greg Biffle — Roush Fenway Racing||Brad Keselowski — Team Penske|
The race is normally 367 laps, and overtime has been rare of late for the summer race at Darlington. The last six full races have gone no laps over the normal distance.
Can Ryan Blaney Win Yet Again?
Sports bettors have some negative history at Darlington when it comes to the Ford driver. However, Ryan Blaney is trending upward in the NASCAR Cup Series odds, but here is where it gets crazy. Despite his success in the last couple of races, the No. 12 car may be more remembered by what happened in last year’s start to the “Playoff Chase”. Blaney wound up enduring all sorts of issues, and never recovered becoming one of the first drivers eliminated.
Oh, did we mention that few drivers perform well from the pole here?
Only ONE Darlington pole winner has won here since 1997! (Kevin Harvick in 2014).
Harvick's 2014 win is also the most recent from a Chevy at Darlington! 🤯 pic.twitter.com/7javCOUtud
— Ryan (@ifantasyrace) September 1, 2021
The question becomes can he get off to a better start in these playoffs? Blaney comes in at a reasonable +2000 odds for the Sunday night race.
Is Kyle Busch a Safer Bet than Martin Truex Jr.?
The driver of the No. 18 has been rather good at Darlington with five top-ten finishes in his last six races on the track. He also has been given high praise and a higher prediction by a former NASCAR standout.
'@DaleJarrett's Championship 4 is…
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) September 1, 2021
For those wondering, the younger Busch has been one of the most consistent drivers over the past two months. He has the fourth-best average finish at Darlington (8) and has led 6.7% of the laps. His No. 18 car is one of the fastest out there on high tire wear tracks.
There are some other things to consider too. Playoff points matter. Busch is fourth in the standings by virtue of his 22 playoff points, but he has accumulated the second most over the past three months. As for Martin Truex Jr., he won twice in his last six races at Darlington including the Spring domination (led 248 of 293 laps). He finished outside of the top ten in the last three summer races, however.
Does someone else surprise at Darlington? Can Denny Hamlin win one here? It’s possible. He did lead 124 laps en route to victory in 2017 and always seems to run near the front at the track “too tough to tame”.
Here are our best bets:
- Top Pick: Kyle Larson to win (+300)
- Medium Shot: Denny Hamlin (+700)
- Longshots: Ryan Blaney (+2000), Chris Buescher (+10000)