Oddsmakers like Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s chances in Sunday’s race at Las Vegas

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We’re not saying that his fans are going to go out and bet the farm, but Dale Earnhardt Jr. has some pretty good odds heading into Sunday’s Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

So say some of the bigger oddsmakers in the business.

After winning the season-opening Daytona 500 and finishing second in last Sunday’s race in Phoenix, Junior comes into Sunday’s dash in Sin City as among the top picks to win – or at least do very, very well.

According to SportingNews.com, William Hill, one of the biggest bookmakers in the world, is rather bullish on Earnhardt, giving him 8-to-1 odds to win.

But there’s a caveat: Earnhardt is not the favorite to win Sunday.

That honor, according to Hill, goes to six-time Sprint Cup champ Jimmie Johnson at 7-1 odds, followed by Phoenix winner Kevin Harvick and last year’s winner at Las Vegas, Matt Kenseth, both at 15-2.

Then comes Junior at 8-1.

By comparison, Vegas Insiders has Johnson as a 5-1 favorite, followed by Kenseth and Kyle Busch (both at 7-1), a big surprise in picking Kasey Kahne (8-1) and finally Junior, Harvick, 2012 Sprint Cup champ Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin, all at 10-1 odds.

Hill also likes Keselowski’s chances, scoring him at 10-1 odds as well as Hamlin and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch.

One thing that both Hill and Vegas Insiders agree on is the ultimate longshot: Danica Patrick.

Hill gives Patrick 200-1 odds to win Sunday, while Vegas Insiders isn’t as kind, making Patrick a 500-1 pick to win.

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Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.