Micah Roberts Top 10 Driver Ratings
Crown Royal 400
Richmond International Raceway
Saturday, April 30, 2011 - 4:46 pm (PDT)
Rating Driver Odds Practice 1 Practice 2 Qualified Phoenix*
1. Kyle Busch 6/1 6th 34th 20th 2nd
Won last two spring races; 10 top-five finishes in 12 RIR starts. Using third-place Martinsville car.
2. Kevin Harvick 12/1 17th 2nd 12th 4th
2006 winner has 11 top-10 finishes in last 12 starts; using winning Martinsville car.
3. Denny Hamlin 5/1 13th 40th 11th 11th
Native Virginian won last two fall races and has 8.0 average finish in 10 career starts.
4. Clint Bowyer 15/1 3rd 5th 3rd 27th
2008 winner with third best average finish of 9.8 in 10 starts. Using Martinsville chassis.
5. Jimmie Johnson 7/1 18th 22nd 30th 3rd
Three-time winner, the last coming in 2008. Finished third last fall. Using Phoenix car.
6. Jeff Gordon 10/1 10th 28th 6th 1st
Two-time winner, the last coming in 2000. Runner-up last spring, eight straight top-12 finishes.
7. Tony Stewart 12/1 21st 10th 31st 7th
Two-time winner and four-time runner-up. Using Phoenix car that led four times for 59 laps.
8. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 18/1 1st 26th 24th 10th
Three-time winner; using Phoenix chassis. In midst of seven straight top-12 finishes in 2011.
9. Ryan Newman 30/1 4th 8th 13th 5th
2003 winner finished in the top-10 of last seven spring races; 11.4 average finish in 18 starts.
10. Carl Edwards 6/1 2nd 3rd 8th 28th
His only top-five finish happened in this race last year; debuts new chassis this week;
* Results from the February 27, 2011 race at Phoenix International raceway, a track that requires a similar set-up to Richmond.
Both practices were a jumble on Friday with different teams trying different things in regards to qualifying at different junctures of each practice. The most valuable tool -- to not distort the the practice times with qualifying trim on -- is to look at the 10 consecutive laps times for each session. Those times are generally exclusively in race trim and are the best indicator to what may happen in the race.
In the final session, all four Hendrick cars made the top-five in that category with Kasey Kahne, an HMS driver for next year, crashing the party. In the early session, Regan Smith led the way with Hamlin, Stewart, Bobby Labonte and Martin Truex Jr filling out the top five fastest averages. Check the Jayski.com practice page for a full list of times.
Odds courtesy of the Las Vegas Hilton Super Book.
Micah Roberts, a former race and sports Director, has been setting NASCAR lines in Las Vegas since 1995. For more Roberts insights and post-practice analysis on the race, go to VegasInsider.com.