Kurt Busch
Chris Graythen | Getty Images

2021 Toyota/Save Mart 350 betting preview, presented by BetMGM

This article is brought to you by BetMGM.

Elevation isn’t exactly a key component of NASCAR racing, unless of course you’re talking about Sonoma. If you’ve ever visited the venue, you’ll quickly pick up on its unique attributes, as drivers actually do deal with uphill and downhill portions of the venue. It’s a once-a-year locale for stock-car drivers and forces them out of their element.

That’s what is fun about Sonoma, which will host the Toyota/Save Mart 350 on Sunday (4 p.m. ET on FS1, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Some of the drivers love this place, just north of the San Francisco bay area in wine country. Some drivers won’t admit they hate it, but you can tell by several career struggles how they probably feel — off-the-record of course.

RELATED: NASCAR BetCenter | Odds: Who’s is favored for Sunday’s race at Sonoma?


Chase Elliott (+210)

There’s a reason Chase Elliott tops the NASCAR odds this week, and it’s not only because he’s the defending NASCAR Cup Series champion. It’s because he’s dominated road-course racing over the past few years.

Elliott has won six of his 12 career Cup Series races juking-and-jiving his way through the rare road-course version of NASCAR. He’s only been on road courses 14 times in his Cup career, yet has six wins. Now do you understand?

Let’s backpedal for a second: It has taken him 14 road-course races to nab six wins and 186 to collect his other six career wins in the top circuit of stock-car racing. Think about that.

It makes a ton of sense to see him as a favorite, but keep in mind he’s in a race this weekend with four guys who’ve won a total of seven Cup races at the California track. Martin Truex Jr. (three career wins), Kyle Busch (two), Kurt Busch (one), and Kevin Harvick (one) have more experience here. How will they factor in?

OTHERS: Not surprisingly, Martin Truex Jr. (+375), red-hot Kyle Larson (+750), and Kyle Busch (+750) are right behind Elliott in the road-course racing odds at Sonoma. Truex is running well this year, Kyle Busch is Kyle Busch, and Larson is the hottest driver on the circuit right now. How will they perform? We shall see.


Kurt Busch (+5000)

Kurt has been here 20 times as of this weekend, along with Kevin Harvick (+1500). They both are tied with the most success — top 10-wise — with 10 career top-10 finishes.

Harvick and Kurt have both won here, and Kurt has seven top-five finishes to edge out Harvick’s six. They are the old men in the race, but old men have the experience to wheel around a place like this and upset the NASCAR apple cart.

Any young up-and-comer will want to keep an eye on these guys.

OTHERS: Ryan Blaney (+2000) has a road-course win in the Cup Series at Charlotte in 2018 and won a road-course race when he was in the Camping World Truck Series (Bowmanville). He has two top 10s and a top-five finish in his four career Cup Series starts at Sonoma.


Alex Bowman (+2500)

Bowman has been a consistent performer on road-course tracks. He’s only raced four times at Sonoma, and has a top 10 performance, but he’s doing well this year (12th in the Cup Series standings) and has seven top-10 finishes in 15 races this year. He also has two wins this year and is with red hot Hendrick MotorSports — do the math, right?

Erik Jones (+15000) is also intriguing, considering he has two career top 10s in three starts at Sonoma.