To bet successfully on a NASCAR race we must pay attention to several different factors, starting by the last free practice session known as “Happy Hour”,
where the pilots normally test their cars on a race situation, which can give us a good indicator about the real speed of the car.
After that we have the qualification, which is very important on smaller tracks, like Martinsville or Bristol, where there is less space for overtaking but this factor is less important on bigger tracks, like Talladega, Daytona or Michigan, where there is a lot of space for clean and successful overtakes.
The qualification is also important, in every track, to define the “box” for each pilot during the race. That happens because it is very common, especially on “yellow flag” situations, to have everyone coming to the “boxes” at the same time, which makes the decision of choosing a good “box” as important as the efficiency of the mechanics.
What is a good box?
The best box, the one that will be chosen by the winner of qualification, is the last one before re-entering the track. Why? Because you don’t have anyone in front of you to worry about and you can get on track without having to make any manoeuvres.
The other good boxes are the ones that don’t have no one behind or in front of the box, giving the pilot more freedom, both entering and exiting the box, which will save him some few precious seconds over the course of the race.
Every track is different in terms of distance, surface and turn angulation, which makes pilots prefer or do better in determined tracks or surfaces.
The more technical races, such as the smaller oval ones and the road tracks, since they have another kind of demand when compared to the superspeedways, where the speed is what matters the most.
In this sport, with so many differences from race to race, there are some trends that we can take advantage off with the match-ups that the bookmakers offer us on “head-to-head” markets.
Before betting on a certain pilot vs another, we should pay attention, besides what I’ve already said, to:
- Record of the brand in that particular circuit: check if there are any trends related to the brand that usually wins that race, for example, Chevrolet won 19 of their last 22 races in Talladega.
- Record of the pilot on that circuit: if the pilot usually does well on the circuit he will race there, if he has given up a lot of times, etc.;
- Pilot’s history on similar circuits: if he usually does well on similar circuits, for example, if he usually struggles on short tracks or if he doesn’t have a car suited to compete on superspeedways;
- Form: the last races are important to check if the car is stable and reliable because there isn’t much time between races to perform major changes in the cars.
- If the starting position on the race is important, which is more relevant on short tracks, you should check the starting position, if he is or isn’t starting too many places behind his direct opponent.
After that, we compare the information with his suggested opponent’s one and we reach a conclusion about the odds offered, if they are fair or not, and if we have an advantage on either side.
Most of this article is also relevant when we talk about Indycar, where there are 3 different types of circuits: Urban circuits, regular tracks and oval tracks.
Here the starting position is super relevant, because it is very hard to overtake on urban and regular circuits, so the winner usually starts somewhere in the top 6 and generally most races are decided between Team Penske’s and Chip Ganassi Racing’s riders