The first eight races of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup season are in the books and while there are quite a few of the same names atop the current point standings that were also in last year’s Chase, there are few newcomers to the party most notably NASCAR’s most popular drive Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Indy legend Juan Montoya.
Sportsbook.com currently has Kyle Busch as the odds-on-favorite at +300 to win this year’s racing title. He is off to a great start with four top five finishes including a victory at Bristol on March 20. Busch is sixth in the standings with a total of 257 points; 28 points out of the lead. He dropped four spots after last week’s wreck at Talladega left him in 35th-place for the race.
Jimmie Johnson is second in the standings with 290 points and the second-favorite at +400 to win his sixth-straight Sprint Cup title. He is coming off his first victory of the season after taking the checkered flag at Talladega for first time since 2006. It was his fourth top five finish in the first eight races, so you get the feeling he is going to remain right in the thick of things all season long.
The third favorite to win it all this season at +450 is the current Sprint Cup point leader Carl Edwards, who has 295 total points. He is off to one of the best starts in his career with a win at Las Vegas and a couple of second-place finishes including one in the Daytona 500. Edwards finished fourth in the standings last season with nine top five finishes in 36 races. He already has four in the first eight races this season.
Kevin Harvick is the only driver this season with multiple wins after back-to-back victories at Fontana and Martinsville. He also has two other top five finishes and is fourth in the standings with 268 points. He is listed at +500 to win this year’s Sprint Cup after finishing third and just 41 points behind Johnson in last season’s standings.
The biggest surprise so far this year in the Sprint Cup series has been the resurgence of Dale Earnhardt Jr. as a legitimate contender for this year’s championship. He is currently listed at +800 to win his first ever NASCAR title. This year he five top 10 finishes including a second and fourth-place finish in his last three races after posting just eight all last year. Junior is third in the standings with 276 points and just 19 points out of first.
The three other drivers that have won this season are Trevor Bayne, Matt Kenseth, and Jeff Gordon. Bayne will always be remembered for his improbable win at Daytona in just his second career Sprint Cup race. Kenseth was fifth in the Sprint Cup standings last season, but failed to win a race in 36 starts. He took the checkered flag at Texas this season and is +1000 to win the championship. Gordon broke a 66-race drought with a win at Phoenix in the second point race of the year. He is at +1200 to win the title.
DJ is a freelance writer that concentrates on his true passion in life; the world of sports. He produces a number of articles each week for BangTheBook.com as well as a select group of other websites that specialize in providing the most up-to-date information for the sports gaming industry. His goal is to write insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player.