NASCAR

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Win Simulations: Weather Guard Truck Race

Jim Sannes
Jim Sannes@JimSannes
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Win Simulations: Weather Guard Truck Race

Saturday's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race in Bristol is going to put our betting-against-Kyle Busch tolerance to yet another test.

And let me tell you that I am not excited about that, my friends.

Busch is a menace at Bristol. Across all levels of NASCAR, he has won here 22 times. There is not a driver on the planet you'd rather have driving your vehicle at this track than him.

My model knows that, and it respects Busch. But it also knows that Saturday's Weather Guard Truck Race is just 250 laps long, and 250 laps can fly by at Bristol.

That's a situation where a poor qualifying spot can put a huge dent in your win odds. And with qualifying not having taken place yet, it bakes in extra uncertainty to the model to account for the possibility that quality trucks have to work their way through traffic.

The 2021 truck race at Bristol shows why this caution is necessary. In that race, the average green flag run was just 9.6 laps. That doesn't give you much time to make up ground if you qualify poorly or have any mistakes during the race. This rendition is 50 laps longer, but it's still a tight squeeze.

So, Busch is +125 to win in FanDuel Sportsbook's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series betting odds for Bristol. I can't get anywhere near there, given the volatility. But it is worth noting how highly sportsbooks are rating Busch before looking at what my model says prior to practice and qualifying.

Driver
Win Sims
Podium
Top 5
Kyle Busch17.5%40.9%56.1%
Christian Eckes14.8%37.1%51.0%
Corey Heim13.3%34.1%49.2%
Ty Majeski7.1%21.0%33.7%
Zane Smith5.5%16.7%28.6%
Grant Enfinger5.1%16.4%27.6%
William Sawalich4.9%15.2%26.1%
View Full Table

There's a massive gap between my model and the market, and that's noteworthy. It means we should be wary of value we see elsewhere as it's very possible my sims are undervaluing Busch. I do think some of that value is fair, though.

Before we get to that, though, I did want to touch on William Sawalich. FanDuel doesn't even have odds posted for Sawalich, I'm assuming because he doesn't turn 18 until October. That might make his 4.9% win odds in the model seem rich, but it's for good reason.

Sawalich has already flashed talent in the Truck Series. He has raced insanely tough tracks like IRP and Richmond and cranked out top-10 finishes. He also won 4 of 13 ARCA Menards Series races last year (plus his lone race this year), including the Bristol race.

We've seen youngsters pull it off at this track before. Sam Mayer won the 2020 race during his age-17 season, and Chandler Smith won the year after at 19 years old. Doing this against Busch is a different task, but I think Sawalich has a shot.

As far as those you can bet on at FanDuel, the one who intrigues me most is Stewart Friesen. At +6500, Friesen's implied odds are 1.5%, down from 2.6% in my sims.

Friesen has three top-fives in eight career races on the Bristol concrete, including a runner-up in 2018. He has a dirt-racing background, and that skillset tends to translate well to Bristol (and all concrete tracks).

Friesen's form is -- quite frankly -- doggy doo, and it's hard to pin down why. It's possible something's just fully off with that team. But I do think Friesen's worth a look given his track record here and how driver-centric of a track it is.


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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.