NASCAR Cup Series

NASCAR driver Joey Logano likes his odds in Austin’s COTA race, even if Las Vegas doesn’t

NASCAR driver Joey Logano likes his odds in Austin's COTA race, even if Las Vegas doesn't

Driver Joey Logano of Team Penske has been a factor in all three NASCAR races at Circuit of the Americas, with a third and two sixths, but isn’t getting much respect from oddsmakers for this week’s EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix at COTA.

The three favorites to win Sunday’s NASCAR Cup EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix just happen to be the winners of the first three Cup races at Circuit of the Americas.

Tyler Reddick, who won last year in Austin, is the solid betting favorite at 4-1. Chase Elliott, who took the rain-soaked 2021 inaugural as the betting favorite, checks in at 8-1. Ross Chastain, the 2022 winner as a long shot, is 10-1. But two-time Cup Series champion Joey Logano, a factor in all three COTA races with a third and two sixths, is nowhere to be found on the betting leaderboard.

“Odds? I don’t really care,” said Logano, the driver of the No. 22 Pennzoil Ford for Team Penske. “I don’t pay attention to what the people in Vegas say. I just don’t look at it. In my eyes, I’m the favorite every week.”

More: Defending NASCAR champ Ryan Blaney would like to win in Austin for once, too

For the record, Blaney is roughly 40-1 at the DraftKings and FanDuel sports books. Legalized sports gambling is sweeping the land. It is now legal in more than 30 states, including NASCAR’s North Carolina hub, but not Texas. NASCAR betting has increased nearly 50% year over year since 2021 and accounts for nearly 20% of all sports betting, according to Gaming Today News.

Logano, 33, sees the wisdom of NASCAR promoting gambling so hard.

“First, you’ve got to be conscious of your decisions and the effects on your life,” he told the American-Statesman. “If you do it responsibly, it helps engagement in our sport. People want to watch more when they have something riding on the outcome. Fans will study more, be up to date more on weekly updates, watching practice and qualifying.

“I can see how it definitely grows our sport and others. I think that’s why you see it exploding. It’s part of the evolution of sports.”

NASCAR Cup Series driver Joey Logano zips through a practice run at Circuit of the Americas ahead of last year’s EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix race. This year’s race will be Sunday.

COTA claim to fame: Logano knows Formula One has a powerful presence in the ATX with the U.S. Grand Prix, and it’s the only track that hosts both Formul One and NASCAR. Logano said area F1 fans should give it a look if they haven’t.

“Our race product is unique,” Logano said. “The cars are all over each other, bumping and banging. F1 is definitely interesting in its own way, but when a car makes a pass, it’s like, ‘Holy cow, do you believe a pass was made?’ If you start 15th and finish 10th, it’s like an incredible day because you passed five cars. For us, we’re passing almost every lap, shucking and jiving.

“The strategies are pretty fluid, and the whole thing is unpredictable. You don’t see the same guy win every week. There are good things about both — don’t get me wrong — but you’re asking a NASCAR guy here. We’re definitely more rough and tumble.”

Rev it up, NASCAR: Logano would like to see one major change in his sport. “I’d give the cars 1,000 horsepower,” he said. F1 cars generate 1,000 horsepower; NASCAR is roughly 750 to 800.

“Adding power would help our racing,” he said. “The cool factor would be there that fans would like. You’d see cars do something that’s unachievable to a lot of people. It’s unfathomable to think what it would feel like driving a car at that much speed and horsepower.”

Kiwi presence: Three-time Australian Supercars champ Shane van Gisbergen will make his Cup season debut Sunday in the No. 16 Chevy for Kaulig Racing. The 34-year-old New Zealander shocked fans in his Cup debut, winning the inaugural Chicago street race last summer.

“After winning in Chicago, I could not stop thinking about racing full time in NASCAR,” said van Gisbergen, who will double up and run Saturday’s Infinity Series race. “I am still stunned how quickly this came together.”

Sark to start: Texas football coach Steve Sarkisian will be the honorary starter for Sunday’s race, his first time at a NASCAR event. And Los Angeles Chargers kicker Cameron Dicker, the former Longhorn from Lake Travis, will provide the invocation before the start of the race.

“It’s such an honor to wave the green flag for this race in our home city,” Sarkisian said. “Like we say around here, ‘All Gas, No Brakes.’ ”

NASCAR at COTA

Friday-Sunday, Circuit of the Americas; tickets — weekend passes from $79 grounds to $220 main grandstand club, $25 Friday only, $30-$90 Saturday only, $70-$185 Sunday only

Friday: Speedway Childrens Charities laps, 8-10 a.m.; Fan Zone opens 2 p.m.; Truck Series practice 2:30 p.m. and qualifying 3 p.m.; Xfinity Series practice 4:30 p.m. and qualifying 5 p.m.

Saturday (FS1): Cup Series practice 9-10:30 a.m. and qualifying 10:30-11:30 a.m.; XPEL 225 Craftstman truck race 12:30 p.m.; Focused Health 250 Xfinity Series race 4 p.m.

Sunday (Fox): Entertainment, driver Q&As 10 a.m.; Riley Green pre-race concert 12:45 p.m.; military band performance 1 p.m.; EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix NASCAR Cup Series race 2:30 p.m.

This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: NASCAR driver Joey Logano discusses gambling, his own odds for Austin

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