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NASCAR odds: Aaron's 499

Texas Motor SpeedwaySunday's Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway marks race 9-of-36 on the NASCAR betting schedule in the Sprint Cup series. At 2.66 miles, Talladega is the largest and fastest tri-oval track on the circuit, producing speeds nearing 200 mph and restrictor plate racing at its best.

When restrictor plate racing is mentioned, two drivers come to mind: Dale Earnhardt Jr. (+450) and four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon (+500). If you bet on NASCAR, the Hendrick Motorsports duo is clearly the strongest wager listed in the BetUS NASCAR odds to win outright.

A pedigree is primarily factored in when handicapping horses, but not the variety of horses with four wheels and a whole lot of power. However, Earnhardt Jr.'s pedigree can't be overlooked when running for the finish line in restrictor plate races.

Dale Earnhardt Sr. was the undisputed “King of Restrictor” plate racing with much of his success coming at Talladega, where ''The Intimidator'' claimed ten wins for an all-time best.

Earnhardt Jr. has five Talladega victories of his own, winning four consecutive events from 2001-03. He has seven wins in 33 starts on restrictor plate tracks.

Bet at WagerwebHe finished a respectable seventh in this race last season, adding to a 70-race winless streak, but Earnhardt Jr. remains the NASCAR wagering community's most popular driver. In the first eight races this season he's raced his way to six top-10s and a third-place standing in the points.

Sunday marks a milestone in Earnhardt Jr.'s career. It will be his 300th career start in a Cup car. If he can avoid ''The Big One'' it should come as no surprise if he finds Victory Lane at the track he’s obviously already mastered.

Earnhardt Jr. has failed to lead a lap just twice in his 16 Talladega starts. The first time was his initial race there in 2000 when he finished 42nd due to engine failure. The other was the fall 2005 race when he crashed just 19 laps into the race.

After sweeping both races last year, Gordon returns to Talladega owning a series-best six wins among active drivers at the legendary track.

He won the pole and led a race-high 71 laps en route to the win in the spring race in 2007, which gave Gordon his 77th career win that put him one victory ahead of Earnhardt Sr. on NASCAR's all-time winner's list.

In the fall victory, he started 34th and led only one lap. But it was the only lap that mattered. It was just the second race won at Talladega by a driver starting 30th or worse -- Gordon did it both times. The other occasion came in the 2000 spring race when he started 36th.

Gordon is the modern day “King of Restrictor” plate drivers with 17 career wins on Superspeedways.

His season has been riddled with inconsistency in 2008, as his 13th position in the point standings indicates, but there's no better track than Talladega Superspeedway for Gordon to take the checkers for the first time this season.

Note: A Chevrolet has won 17 of the last 18 races at Talladega and Hendrick Motorsports drivers have won six of the last eight events there.

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