Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
- Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has shown plenty of speed at 1.5-mile racetracks this season, highlighted by a fifth-place finish at the Coca-Cola 600.
- Despite the solid performances, sportsbooks have yet to make major adjustments to Stenhouse's weekly betting odds.
- We analyze Stenhouse's performances on 1.5-mile racetracks so far this season and explain how NASCAR bettors can take advantage.
After visits to Pocono Raceway, Michigan International Speedway and Sonoma Raceway, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) heads to Chicagoland Speedway for the Camping World 400.
Sunday’s race marks the first at a 1.5-mile racetrack since the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway back in May.
This is significant because the MENCS has already visited five 1.5-mile tracks (Atlanta, Las Vegas, Texas, Kansas and Charlotte), providing bettors a nice sample of data at tracks similar to Chicago.
Over that span of races, many are pointing toward Alex Bowman as the driver who will make the leap from early-season longshot to race winner, but Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has also made major strides this season.
Here’s a look at Stenhouse’s starting positions, finishing positions and average running positions (ARP) at the five races run at 1.5-mile racetracks this season.
Stenhouse’s average finish of 11.2 over these five races ranks 10th among full-time MENCS drivers, while his ARP is even better: Just five drivers (Kevin Harvick, Ky. Busch, Elliott, Truex and Kurt Busch) are better than Ricky’s 11.6.
If we remove results from Atlanta — which is reasonable considering the extreme tire wear experienced at that track compared to the other 1.5-mile circuits — Stenhouse’s stats improve to an average finish of 9.5 (tied for sixth) and an ARP of 10.3 (fourth).
While Stenhouse has run toward the front of the field at these races, he hasn’t truly been contending for wins. Despite the sixth-ranked average finish and fourth-ranked ARP, he has led just 16 laps (15th in the series) and has run only 14 fast laps (tied for 18th with Paul Menard).
So while Ricky is putting together good finishes, he’s not out front leading laps or running lap times comparable to heavy-hitters like Ky. Busch, Harvick, Truex, Elliott, etc.
Perhaps this is the reason why sportsbooks have yet to move Stenhouse from a longshot in terms of NASCAR betting odds.
For example, Stenhouse opened at 200-1 at the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas to win the Coca-Cola 600. Eighteen drivers opened with better odds to win the race.
Sportsbooks have given Stenhouse a small bump for this week’s Camping World 400, as Westage opened Ricky at 100-1, but that’s still tied for 18th in terms of best odds to win at Chicagoland.
I’ll be considering him this weekend, especially in top-five and top-10 finish props.