Oddsmakers pick Marcos Ambrose as Sonoma favorite

Leave a comment

There’s nothing like putting a little pressure on Marcos Ambrose.

Okay, make that a LOT of pressure now.

It’s tough enough for Ambrose as he’s doing his best to make this year’s expanded 16-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup.

But now Ambrose has even more pressure on his shoulders after the Las Vegas Hilton sports book, one of the biggest in Sin City, has anointed the Australian native as the man to beat in Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway.

According to a report and video on SportingNews.com, the LVH has made Ambrose a 5-1 pick to win Sunday’s race.

Being picked to win is a pretty lofty selection for a guy who has never won at Sonoma (although Ambrose has two career Sprint Cup wins at the other road course on the schedule, Watkins Glen).

What’s more, Jeff Gordon (five wins) and Tony Stewart (two wins) are the winningest active drivers at Sonoma.

Ironically, while there have been nine different winners in the last nine races at Sonoma, including first-timers Kurt Busch in 2011, Clint Bowyer in 2012 and Martin Truex Jr. last season, Gordon and Stewart dominated before that stretch, combining for seven wins in the previous nine starts there (before 2005).

Kevin Harvick has knocked on victory’s door numerous times at Sonoma, always to come up short. But because his car has indeed been so freaky fast this season, he’s a potential contender to win for the first time at the serpentine track.

Six-time and defending Sprint Cup champ Jimmie Johnson, who has won three of the last four Cup races, has only one win at Sonoma, but the momentum he brings in could potentially lift him to his second career there – and 4th win in 5 starts, if he has his way.

Drivers with VERY long odds to win include Dale Earnhardt Jr. (60-1), Denny Hamlin (60-1), rookie Kyle Larson (75-1), road course ringer Boris Said (100-1), Danica Patrick (300-1) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (500-1).

Ouch, 500-1, really? That has to hurt that the oddsmakers have so little faith in Stenhouse on the Sonoma road course.

Still, for now, Ambrose is the man to beat, according to LVH.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

Here’s a complete look at the Sonoma odds offered by the LVH and The Linemakers and SportingNews.com:

Marcos Ambrose 5-1

Jeff Gordon 6-1

Kevin Harvick 7-1

Jimmie Johnson 7-1

Kurt Busch 7-1

Tony Stewart 8-1

Brad Keselowski 12-1

Joey Logano 12-1

Kyle Busch 12-1

Kasey Kahne 18-1

Clint Bowyer 18-1

Jamie McMurray 30-1

AJ Allmendinger 30-1

Carl Edwards 35-1

Martin Truex Jr. 35-1

Brian Vickers 35-1

Greg Biffle 50-1

Dale Earnhardt Jr. 60-1

Denny Hamlin 60-1

Paul Menard 60-1

Ryan Newman 60-1

Kyle Larson 75-1

Matt Kenseth 75-1

Justin Allgaier 75-1

Austin Dillon 100-1

Boris Said 100-1

Aric Almirola 300-1

Casey Mears 300-1

Danica Patrick 300-1

David Gilliland 500-1

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 500-1

Field 100-1

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

 

BREAKING: John Force taken to hospital after Phoenix eliminations crash

Photo courtesy NHRA
Leave a comment

16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force has been taken to a local hospital for evaluation and examination following a wicked crash with fellow Funny Car driver Johnnie Lindberg.

The crash occurred during the quarterfinals of Sunday’s final eliminations in the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix.

Force was headed for a win when the engine on his Peak Chevrolet Camaro blew up just as it crossed the finish line, destroying the body. Lindberg, meanwhile, lost traction about one-third of the way down-track, but then got back into the gas to try and catch Force.

Force appeared to lose control of the body-less car and went across from the left lane he was in to the right-hand lane, where he hit the retaining wall in front of Lindberg.

Lindberg tried to avoid Force, but couldn’t. To make matters worse, the body on Lindberg’s car then came off and Force’s and Lindberg’s cars got tangled up in Lindberg’s parachute, sending both chassis’ into the left retaining wall.

Lindberg emerged from his Funny Car under his own power and was checked at the medical center before heading back to his pit.

Force, meanwhile, was helped out of his mangled wreck by the NHRA Safety Safari and was transported by ambulance to the hospital due to the severity of the impact.

Even though Force will be credited with the round win, he obviously will not be able to continue for the remainder of the eliminations.

To add insult to injury, NHRA officials charged Force with oiling down the racetrack, his third of the season in just the first two races. That will cost him 15 points in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series standings and a fine of $4,000.

Here are several posts from social media, including video of the incident from NHRA:

This is the second time Force has had an engine explode and the body blew off in the last two weeks. He also wrecked during the qualifying Feb. 9 for the season-opening Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, California. Here’s the video of that wreck:

MORE: John Force taken to hospital as a precaution after Funny Car motor explodes.

Force’s daughter, Top Fuel driver Brittany Force, suffered a hard wreck at Pomona, but recovered in time to race this weekend in Phoenix.

We’ll update Force’s condition when it becomes available.

Follow @JerryBonkowski