2011 Points: Busch vs. Hamlin
This season NASCAR has changed up its point system, significantly cutting down the total number of points one can earn in a race. The maximum number of points one can earn is 48 and there is an added emphasis on winning in 2011.
43 drivers will contend in each race and the winner will receive 43 points, second 42, third 41, all the way down to last, which gets just one point. The winner will also get three bonus points and one bonus point is given to each driver that leads at least one lap in the race and to the driver that leads the most laps in the race. So essentially, the winner of each race gets at least 47 points.
Oddsmakers at online sportsbook Sportsbook.com consider Denny Hamlin the clear favorite to finish better than Kyle Busch as Hamlin has betting odds of -210 while Busch has odds of +152.
Last season, Hamlin was runner-up to champion Jimmie Johnson. He finished just 39 points back while Busch was eighth in the standings, 440 points out of first. Hamlin led the series with eight wins in 2010 while Busch had three.
Hamlin has been getting progressively better over recent years as he finished eighth in the season standings in 2008, fifth in 2009, and second last year. Hamlin has 12 wins over the last two years and had at least 12 top 5’s in each of the last four seasons. Many believe Hamlin will be the eventual driver to unseat Johnson, who is the five-time defending champion.
Kyle Busch has never finished higher than fifth in the point standings, and that was in 2007. Busch wins races, as he has 15 wins over the last three seasons, but he also has 7 DNF’s in the last three years as well. His aggressive style has earned him plenty of enemies, but also makes him a threat on the track each week.
Busch is very competitive and he has to know that Hamlin enters with more momentum this season, but his nature makes him want to be the one to take out Johnson, not Hamlin. Still, Hamlin showed he can consistently win and finish high when he is not winning in 2011. The bonus points for winning will be a big factor this year, which is why Hamlin has the odds on his side.
2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Futures Odds – More Points in 2011 (Both drivers must contend in 33 races)
Kyle Busch +152
Denny Hamlin -210