When Kasey Kahne held off a fast-charging Denny Hamlin to win the 2012 Lenox Industrial Tools 301, it was Chevrolet’s seventh win in the last nine editions of the race.
While Chevy was one tire-change miscommunication from Hamlin’s crew away from losing their winning streak at two – and sending Toyota to the winner’s circle for the second time in four years – it appeared Chevy and its army of drivers, four of whom finished in the seven spots behind Kahne, had figured out The Magic Mile.
Ten years later, Chevrolet can’t figure out The Magic Mile.
Kahne’s win in July 2012 is the last for Chevy in the event. And if this week’s NASCAR odds for the Ambetter 301 prove accurate, the drought could continue as Ford’s winning streak extends.
As of Thursday, six drivers have race-winner odds better than +1000 at BetMGM. None are Chevy drivers:
- Ryan Blaney +600
- Kyle Busch +650
- Joey Logano +700
- Ross Chastain +750
- Denny Hamlin +850
- Martin Truex Jr. +900
One week after becoming the first three-time winner in the Cup Series this year, Chase Elliott is seeking a third win in his last four starts – he had just one win in his previous 32 starts – and is the Chevrolet favorite to do so.
“New Hampshire has been a really hit-or-miss place for us,” Elliott said before last year’s 18th-place finish, his sixth outside the top 10 in eight Cup Series starts at the 1.058-mile track. “It’s just a different track. It takes a different driving style, I feel like, than some of the other places. I look at Loudon as being more of its own animal.”
It’s a different animal Elliott and his Hendrick Motorsports team haven’t successfully tamed since Kahne’s win a decade ago. None of his current teammates – Kyle Larson, William Byron, or Alex Bowman – have won in New Hampshire, or has any Hendrick driver over the last nine races.
To land the first Ambetter 301 win for Chevy and Hendrick Motorsports since 2012, Elliott must, at minimum, finish ahead of Ryan Blaney, whom he faces in one of BetMGM’s featured matchups:
Ryan Blaney (-130) vs. Chase Elliott (+100)
The only winless driver in the top eight of the NASCAR Cup Series standings through 19 races, Ryan Blaney has four top-10 finishes in his last five races at Loudon. And he has four top-10s in his last five races overall, including last week’s fifth-place finish in the Quaker State 400.
The public doesn’t like Blaney to snap his 29-race winless drought this weekend, nor do they like him to finish ahead of Elliott. As of Thursday, Blaney has just 3.9% of the race-winner tickets (eighth-most) and 8% of the featured matchup tickets against Elliott.
Elliott, meanwhile, is a popular pick to snap Chevy’s drought; his field-leading 12.% of the race-winner tickets account for the second-highest handle (16.2%).
Denny Hamlin (-120) vs. Ross Chastain (-110)
In his age-41 season, Denny Hamlin is seeking his seventh career season with at least three Cup Series wins. This will be his 29th career start at Loudon, where he’s won three times, including the 2012 Sylvania 300, two months after that second-place finish in the Lenox Industrial Tools 301.
Ross Chastain, meanwhile, is one of the least experienced drivers in the field this weekend. He has just three career starts at the intermediate oval speedway, only one of which ended with him inside the top 20 (eighth in 2021).
Chastain’s race-winner odds have jumped from +900 at open to +750 despite modest ticket (3.5%) and handle (3.2%) shares. In his head-to-head matchup with Hamlin, he has just 33% of the handle on a 50-50 ticket split.
William Byron (-150) vs. Alex Bowman (+115)
Here are two of the Chevy drivers looking to snap the decade-long drought at The Magic Mile.
Neither William Byron nor Alex Bowman has a top-5 finish at the track, and in 14 combined starts – four for Byron and 10 for Bowman – they have one top-10. And neither driver is particularly hot right now, especially Byron. Since his win in the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 three months ago, the 24-year-old Charlotte native’s lone top-10 was a ninth-place finish at Sonoma.
Byron’s 1.5% share of the race-winner handle ranks 13th among all drivers, while Bowman’s 3.9% handle share ranks seventh. And Bowman is dominating featured matchup betting with 95% of the handle on 93% of the tickets.
Aric Almirola (-165) vs. Austin Cindric (+125)
“Team Penske has had a strong command over Loudon at times over the years and he could break through for win No. 2 this weekend,” Pat DeCola wrote of Austin Cindric in this week’s NASCAR Power Rankings, where Cindric jumped three spots to No. 12, two spots shy of his season-high.
The public is buying Cindric against Aric Almirola – with 83% of the handle on 80% of the tickets – but isn’t rushing to the book with race-winner tickets. While his 2.3% handle share is among the highest this season for a driver with mid-four-figure odds (+4000), it still ranks 17th in the field.
You can view updated Ambetter 301 odds and more online sports betting opportunities at the BetMGM online sportsbook.