Friday, April 29, 2011

Final Richmond Driver Ratings Following All Practice Sessions

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 practice page for a full list of times.

Odds courtesy of the Las Vegas Hilton Super Book.

Starting Lineup

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

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