• The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series visits Kentucky Speedway for 400 miles under the lights.
  • The propensity for mayhem at this track provides for some potential underdog wins.
  • I'm targeting three specific outright bets for tonight's race that I think hold value in the futures market.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series visits Kentucky Speedway for 400 miles under the lights. Kentucky was reconfigured and repaved prior to the 2016 race — and in each of the two night races held there since, 11 of the 40 drivers encountered major problems.

That increased the potential for a late caution to throw a wrench in the proceedings, which may allow some underdog plays to have a shot at the win. We saw that exact scenario play out last year when Martin Truex Jr. lost a 15-plus second lead after Kurt Busch blew an engine with two laps to go. Fortunately for Truex, he held off a charging Kyle Larson — despite Truex staying out on old tires, while Larson grabbed four fresh rubbers prior to the final restart.

Aside from the propensity for a bit of mayhem, Kentucky behaves similar to most other 1.5-mile tracks when predicting finishing position. As a result, my machine learning model places a premium on:

  • Long-run speed
  • Year-to-date driver rating at all non-restrictor plate tracks
  • 1.5-mile oval average finish and fastest laps so far this year

I use the RotoViz Driver Sim Scores to gauge race-winning upside.

As always, make sure you shop around for the best lines.

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Credit:

© Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Brad Keselowski (2) drives across the start finish line during practice for the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway.