JEFF BYRD 500 ODDS

This should be the easiest column I write all year.

Fifty fake dollars on Kyle Busch at 7/2.

After all, Busch has four wins at Bristol over the last five years. In fact, only once since 2006 has Busch finished worse than tenth at the world’s most famous short track.

But a funny thing happened once I got down 150 fake dollars; I’m going against conventional wisdom.

 
The stories of 2011 are well documented. What hasn’t been are the engine issues at Joe Gibbs Racing. Problem at Daytona. Check. Different problem at Phoenix. Check. Problem at Las Vegas. Check.
 
And it hasn’t been one driver having all the problems. Each team consumed a portion of “Trouble Pie.”  Sure it’s early. Some teams can have pit problems. Others might struggle with qualifying configurations. But in order to win races, you need a motor that can make it the whole race. And while I appreciate Bristol’s size, or lack of it, I’m pretty sure you still need an engine in the car to cross the finish line. I might want to see this more consistently before taking a figurative plunge. With that novel concept in mind, here are my picks for Sunday.

Ten fake dollars on Dale Earnhardt Jr. at 30/1

There are only two drivers who have a better average finish at this track. Captain Amp’s former team had good results here with Mark Martin. And this season has been all about breaking streaks. Just ask the Wood brothers and Jeff Gordon. There are worse long shots at these odds.

Twenty fake dollars on Carl Edwards at 6/1:

The track record is there. There hasn’t been a driver with a better 2011 start. I would love to do keep going, but I can’t. Sorry Jack Roush.

Forty fake dollars on Kyle Busch at 7/2:

I made this column more difficult than it needed to be. And if his engine blows, my mind will blow.

Here’s what The Spread thinks. Enjoy the  race, and insert random catchphrase here.

Kyle Busch 7/2
Carl Edwards 6/1
Denny Hamlin 7/1
Jimmie Johnson 7/1
Kurt Busch 10/1
Tony Stewart 10/1
Jeff Gordon 12/1
Kevin Harvick 12/1
Matt Kenseth 15/1
Clint Bowyer 15/1
Greg Biffle 15/1
Ryan Newman 25/1
Jamie McMurray 25/1
Juan Pablo Montoya 30/1
Jeff Burton 30/1
Joey Logano 30/1
Mark Martin 30/1
Kasey Kahne 30/1
Dale Earnhardt Jr 30/1
David Reutimann 30/1
Martin Truex Jr 40/1
Brian Vickers 75/1
AJ Allmendinger 75/1
Regan Smith 100/1
Bobby Labonte 100/1
Trevor Bayne 100/1
Marcos Ambrose 100/1
David Ragan 100/1
Paul Menard 100/1
David Gilliland 100/1
Brad Keselowski 100/1
Field (Any Other Driver) 50/1