The 2023 NASCAR Cup Series started off with a bang last weekend as Ricky Stenhouse Jr won the Great American Race, also known as Daytona 500. Now, we look ahead to the Pala Casino 400 in Fontana, California at the Auto Club Speedway, a 400-mile race with 200 total laps. Among the favorites this Sunday are Kyle Larson (+600), Chase Elliott (+1000), Joey Logano (+1000), and Denny Hamlin (+1000). Seeing Larson as the frontrunner at Bovada is no surprise since he did win this even in 2022. Keep reading for the Pala Casino 400 picks.
Before we get into the preview, odds, and predictions, check out our how-to bet on NASCAR page.
Pala Casino 400 Odds
|Martin Truex Jr||+1100|
Larson is actually a two-time winner in Fontana, while Kyle Busch took home top spot in 2013, 2014, and 2019.
Pala Casino 400 Preview
We'll start with Larson, a guy who has enjoyed no shortage of success on this Southern California track. However, the veteran is coming off a very average performance at Daytona, finishing in 18th place. That being said, he was fifth in the Clash at the Coliseum and sixth in the Duel #2 leading up to Daytona. Last year's win at the Pala Casino 400 saw Larson lead for 28 laps in total en route to the ultimate prize.
Elliott was arguably the most dominant driver in the Cup Series in 2022 but failed to show up in the playoffs. He's also off to a horrid start this season, finishing in 38th at Daytona 500 and frankly never looked to be in the mix for a win. Last year in Fontana, he ended up in 26th but did secure a fourth-place finish in 2020. Needless to say, Elliott needs a big result here after collecting a mere nine points at Daytona.
Logano is a two-time Cup Series champ and won it all last year after showing his best in the playoffs. While he's never won at the Pala Casino 400, he has five top-five finish in his last six outings there, including a runner-up showing in 2019. Logano finished in second at Daytona 500 as well behind Stenhouse Jr and won Duel #1 just days prior, although that race didn't count for any points. All in all, Logano is in good form and that should continue Sunday on a track he's enjoyed success.
Busch can't be counted out given in his track record in Fontana. Priced at +1100 odds, he was 14th a year ago and just finished 19th at Daytona 500 last weekend. Despite a sub-par campaign in 2022, you can never ignore a driver like Busch because his past accomplishments at the Pala Casino 400 just prove that he's more than capable of winning another because the confidence is sky high on this track.
Hamlin is another intriguing option with some value. He's never won here, but the Toyota star has three top-10 finishes in the last four races. Hamlin struggled at Daytona with a 17th-place finish, but ended in ninth in the Duel and Clash at the Coliseum. The Pala Casino 400 could be where he starts to get on track again. I wouldn't personally bet on Hamlin for a win, but a more specific bet, say a top-10 one, could offer some value.
Pala Casino 400 Picks
There are three specific bets I believe in. First, we're going to go Kyle Larson for a top-three finish. The writing is on the wall for that one. Next, Logano to win the Pala Casino 400 because he's been so close before and just shined at Daytona. Finally, Hamlin to finish in the top-10. Lock these in for Sunday's festivities.