Dark Horse Picks to Win Pala Casino 400 NASCAR Cup Series

Ricky Stenhouse Jr., JTG Daugherty Racing, Daytona 500, NASCAR
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., JTG Daugherty Racing, Daytona 500, NASCAR /

One of the most anticipated races of the year, the Daytona 500, has already come and gone, but this year’s NASCAR Cup Series is just getting started.

There’s ALWAYS value to be had in picking the winner of any given NASCAR race, but the drivers we like to win the Pala Casino 400 this weekend might surprise you.

We’re giving out THREE longshot drivers who are each listed at +2800 odds or longer but have a history of strong showings at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.

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Now let’s check out why a longshot might be the best play this weekend in California.

Dark Horse Picks to win the Pala Casino 400

There are several drivers with a chance to win this weekend’s race, but let’s examine three drivers who both have a strong recent history at Auto Club Speedway and are also off to a good start this year.

Erik Jones (+2800)

Jones is coming off a strong 2022 season in which he recorded 16 top-10 finishes, including a win at the 2022 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.

In his past two runs in the Pala Casino 400, Jones finished 10th in 2020 before moving up to 3rd this past year (Race was not held at Auto Club Speedway in 2021).

The 26-year-old Jones is off to another solid start this season, qualifying for the Clash at the Coliseum and running well in the Daytona 500 before being taken out.

Don’t sleep on Jones this weekend at one of his best tracks.

Aric Almirola (+5000)

Almirola didn’t have a ton of top-10s last season, but when he raced well, he was in it until the near end. Almirola had four top-6 finishes last year and has a good history of performance at Auto Club.

Almirola has placed 8th (2020) and 6th (2022) at the past two Pala Casino 400s. This year, he’s been steady with an 18th-place finish at the Clash and a 21st-place finish at the Daytona 500.

Almirola is due for another top finish, and maybe even a win.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (+8000)

Winning back-to-back races is pretty hard to do in NASCAR, but getting the Daytona 500 champion at +8000 is also hard to come by.

Stenhouse Jr. had a strong start to last season – recording six top-10s in his first 15 races – including a second-place finish at Dover.

Stenhouse Jr. has only competed at the Daytona 500 this season, but it’s already safe to say he’s off to another good start. In his past two runs in the Pala Casino 400, Stenhouse Jr. has placed 20th (2020) and 10th (2022).

When you couple his history of strong starts with his success at Auto Club, it’s hard to see why Stenhouse Jr.’s odds are SO long.

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Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.