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Nascar Preview: 2009 Daytona 500

Daytona 500 Preview – The Biggest Race of the Year

For the online betting community with the need for speed, February means two things—Online NASCAR betting & Daytona 500! Unlike most sports, NASCAR’s Sprint Cup series opens its season with the biggest event of the year. The Daytona 500 is NASCAR’s ”Super Bowl” and marks race 1-of-36 on the season’s schedule. The Great American Race not only starts the 2009 campaign, its the most prestigious and famed race in all of motorsports.

Lee Petty, father of ”The King” Richard, won the inaugural running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 22, 1959, pocketing a winner’s purse of $19,050. Last year, Ryan Newman won the notorious spectacle and took home a cool $1,543,045. That’s a testimony of the sport’s growth and it’s popularity has captivated bettor’s attention, because of the excitement and money-making odds.

While taking in The Great American Race, NASCAR fans will be investing in the event’s valuable odds on drivers to win, finish second and-or to run in the top-three. As well, BetUS NASCAR odds offer a large volume of driver head-to-head matchups. All variations of online NASCAR wagering options available weekly throughout the season.

With less than two weeks remaining before the command of ”Gentlemen, start your engines!” is given to begin the 51st Daytona 500, it’s time to preview the big race and start thinking about counting money in Victory Lane, following the 500 and 35 races to come in what promises to be a dynamic 2009 Sprint Cup season.

Top-10 BetUS odds on favorites to win the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 15 (3:40pm EST: FOX)—Dale Earnhardt Jr. +500; Jeff Gordon +500; Kyle Busch +500; Jimmie Johnson +800; Carl Edwards +1200; Denny Hamlin +1200; Tony Stewart +1200; Mark Martin +1500; Kevin Harvick +2000 and Kurt Busch +2000.

Among oddsmakers Top-10 favorites only four has taken the checkers at The Great American Race, which are Harvick (2007), Johnson (2006), Earnhardt Jr. (2004), and Gordon who’s the only driver owning multiply wins at the 500 with three (1997, 1999 & 2005).

What to know: With only a three-month off-season and the Daytona 500 revving up the 2009 season, what you need to know is now. A lot of shuffling and merging took place during the brief off-season, including three major mergers of teams. The Stewart-Haas’ new two-car team of Stewart and Newman came as no surprise since the announcement of the new team was made during mid-season of 2008.

The newly merged Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing was a surprise, which will send DEI’s Martin Truex Jr. and Aric Almirola’s to join forces with Ganassi’s No. 41 (Driver TBA) and No. 42 of Juan Pablo Montoya. The Ganassi cars will make the switch from Dodges to Chevrolets.

Petty Enterprises as it has been known no longer exists, as NASCAR’s most storied franchise of 60 years that won 10 Sprint Cup titles between Richard (7) and his father, Lee (3), merged with Gillett Evernham Motorsports to form what will be named Richard Petty Motorsports. A.J Allmendinger recently joined Richard Petty Motorsports’ teammates Kasey Kahne, Elliott Sadler and Reed Sorenson.

While the three mergers are official, there’s still a lot of driver shuffling going on. There will be numerous deals and signings over the next week, leaving several unknowns. However, here’s some information and tid-bits that is known as the countdown to green is underway.

—Larry Gunselman, who won races in the old Winston West Series and its most popular driver award in 1996, has formed a new team along with veteran brothers, Geoff and Todd Bodine—Gunselman Motorsports. Geoff Bodine will drive the #64 Toyota entrant in an attempt to qualify for the Daytona 500.

—A new team called Prism Motorsports will call on two-time Sprint Cup champion Terry Labonte to qualify for the 500 in a Toyota. Prism Motorsports, co-owned by former NASCAR driver Phil Parson and Randy Humphrey, plans to compete in the full Cup schedule in 2009 with Dave Blaney taking over the driving duties after Daytona.

—David Gilliland will be left out of the 500. Yates Racing co-owner Doug Yates says that David Gilliland remains under contract with the organization this season, though he does not have a Sprint Cup entry for Gilliland to drive. Gilliland, 32, drove full time for the team last season, finishing 27th in driver points and 28th in owners points. Those have been moved to the #96 team with Bobby Labonte, through an alliance with Hall of Fame Racing.

—Travis Kvapil, who finished 23rd in the driver standings in 2009, is still driving the #28 but is not guaranteed a full schedule this season as the organization continues to seek sponsorship and will most like also miss the 500. His points have been moved to the #98 of Paul Menard.

—A driver that will be in The Great American Race is 18-year old Joey Logano, who will pilot the #20 Home Depot. He will make history as the youngest driver to start a Daytona 500. If Logano can put the Joe Gibbs Racing machine into Victory Lane in his first Daytona 500 start, he will surpass Gordon as the youngest driver to ever do so. Gordon won his first Daytona 500 as a rookie back in 1997 at the age of 25. If you bet on NASCAR, keep an eye on this young driver who’s receiving high praise from the biggest names in the business, as becoming the next brightest star since Gordon.

With all the shuffling of drivers, here’s a list of drivers with new rides and sponsors:

—No. 07: Casey Mears (Jack Daniels)
—No. 8: Aric Almorola (Sponsor TBA)
—No. 12: David Stremme (Alltel)
—No. 13: Max Papis (Geico)
—No. 14: Tony Stewart (Old Spice/Office Depot)
—No. 15: Marc Davis (BobCat/Howard University)
—No. 20: Joey Lagano (Home Depot/Farm Bureau)
—No. 33: Clint Bowyer (General Mills)
—No. 36: Scott Riggs (Sponsor TBA)
—No. 39: Ryan Newman (US Army)
—No. 43: Reed Sorenson (Multiple Sponsors)
—No. 44: AJ Allendinger (Multiple Sponsors)
—No. 47: Marcos Ambrose (Little Debbie/Clorox/Kingsford)
—No. 78: Regan Smith (Furniture Row)
—No. 82: Scott Speed (Red Bull)
—No. 96: Bobby Labonte (Ask.com)
—No. 98: Paul Menard (Menards)

This is the most current notable information directly related to the 51st Daytona 500, though a lot will happen between now and then. But that’s the edge in wagering NASCAR online, as there’s countless resources that provide more insight an invaluable handicapping information than any other sport.

A great deal of information can be obtained from NASCAR Now, which can be seen daily on ESPN2. NASCAR Now returned to the air for its third season on Monday, Feb. 2, to coincide with the beginning of the 2009 NASCAR racing season. To get more in-depth information on car’s strengths, or lack thereof, and insight from driver’s interviews be sure to watch qualify for each event.

For newcomers to the world of NASCAR wagering, it’s worth mentioning the Daytona 500 is the only race of the year that uses a unique format for qualifying to set the starting grid of 43 cars. Here’s a brief overview of the qualifying events.

Qualifying Procedure for the Gatorade Duels/Daytona 500:

Daytona 500 Pole Day on Sunday, Feb. 8 (1:10pm EST: FOX) “locks in” the first two positions – the front row – for the Daytona 500. It also establishes the starting orders for the Gatorade Duel at Daytona, which are two 150-mile qualifying races for the Daytona 500 to be held on Thursday, Feb. 12 (2:00pm EST: SPEED).

The fastest car earns the pole for the Daytona 500 AND the pole for the first Gatorade Duel race. The second-fastest car earns the outside pole for the Daytona 500 AND the pole for the second Gatorade Duel race. These two 150-mile qualifying races set positions 3-39 for the Daytona 500.

The final four spots in the 43-car field will be based on the Daytona Pole Day qualifying speeds of cars that have not already earned a starting position. Note: Cars that finished in the top 35 in the car owner point standings at the end of last season automatically make the Daytona 500 field.

To curve your craving for the hunger of 43 roaring cars going 200mph in The Great American Race, you can feast on The Bud Shootout. It’s a shootout to the finish and a dash for the cash at the annual spectacle. Watch as NASCAR’s best face off in a pair of quick sprints: 20-lap runs capped off with a furious 50-lap race to the finish. The 2009 star-studded Budweiser Shootout runs on Saturday, Feb. 7 (8:00pm EST: FOX).

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