Friday, April 8, 2011

Final Texas Driver Ratings Following All Practice Sessions: Roush Should Lead The Way

Micah Roberts Top 10 Driver Ratings
Samsung Mobile 500
Texas Motor Speedway
Saturday, April 9, 2011 - 4:46 pm (PDT)

Rating    Driver     Odds       Practice 1    Practice 2     Qualified    Vegas 11*

 1. Carl Edwards 9/2                  15th            3rd             2nd            1st 
Three-time Texas winner; no top-fives in 9 other races. Using new chassis this week.
 2. Matt Kenseth 20/1                 8th            16th            4th            11th 
Since winning in 2002, has a track best 7.7 average finish; debuts new car this week.
 3. Tony Stewart 12/1                 2nd           12th             26th           2nd 
2006 winner is using a chassis that never finished outside of top-10 in four 2010 starts.
 4. Jimmie Johnson 6/1              7th            38th             6th            16th 
2007 winner; average finish of 10.1 in 15 starts. Using runner-up Fontana car this week.
 5. Clint Bowyer 25/1                  9th            11th            3rd            15th 
14.5 average finish in 10 starts, career best of 4th in 2008; new car this week.
 6. Kevin Harvick 8/1                 23rd           27th           29th           17th 
12.4 average finish in 16 starts; using chassis that finished fourth twice at Pocono in 2010.
 7. Greg Biffle 15/1                     5th            30th            9th             28th 
2005 winner; finished in the top-10 in last five Texas starts. Led 224 laps in the fall Texas race.
 8. Juan Montoya 30/1               3rd             14th           14th            3rd 
Fast average speeds in both practices; using third-place Las Vegas chassis this week.
 9. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 20/1        13th           13th            28th           8th 
2000 winner, his first career Cup victory; third fastest 10 consecutive lap average in final practice.
10. Denny Hamlin 8/1                20th            7th            23rd            7th        
Swept both races last season; leads all active drivers with an 8.8 average finish at Texas.
* Results from the March 6, 2011 race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway are relevant because similar set-ups are required for Texas.

Note: Only two scheduled practice sessions with qualifying held on Friday night.

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 



Johnson using his runner-up Fontana chassis at Texas
JIMMIE JOHNSON ON HOW HE PRACTICED THURSDAY: “Yesterday was kind of tough with the tire allotment that we have — figuring out the best strategy. We elected to go with qualifying trim yesterday and worked on that through the entire session. We’ll see how today goes. In qualifying, it’s a little different because now today we’ll just focus on race runs and then in my head mentally I have to switch over to qualifying at the end of the day. It’s a challenge finding the right rhythm as a driver and trying to maximize the amount of tires you have and how the teams choose to use them with these split practice sessions and limited amount of tires we have. At the end of the day we’ll have learned a lot more. I think we’re off to a decent start.”

CLINT BOWYER ON QUALIFYING THIRD: “Actually, yesterday the air conditioner shorted out, ’bout burnt my head up (LAUGHS). Something happened, there was a little fire out of it. Real proud of Shane Wilson (crew chief) and all these guys on the Cheerios / Hamburger Chevrolet. Brought me a new hot rod. Fast. Looking forward to the race tomorrow night. I wasn’t expecting that in qualifying. Richard (Childress, team owner) came on the radio there and told me ‘Hey, Carl (Edwards) ran the outside, run right there in the middle. You need to try it.’ I did and it was a pretty good lap so pretty excited about it.”

“When I rolled down the back straightaway, I was surprised at how much sun was in turn three. Pretty excited about the lap. It was a good lap for us."

KYLE BUSCH THOUGHTS ON QUALIFYING 11TH: “It’s a far cry from where we were yesterday, but unfortunately it’s not going to be fast enough today to get us where we want to be, but overall we felt like the Interstate Batteries Camry was really good. We posted a good time. But apparently there are going to be guys that are going to go faster than us. Our draw hurt us a little bit. We weren’t fast yesterday, but we got a lot better today. Looking forward to the race. It’s great to be here in Texas in front of the hometown crowd with Interstate Batteries. I’m pumped about that.”

KASEY KAHNE ON STARTING 13TH AND HOW HE FEELS ABOUT SATURDAY'S RACE: “I just blew turn three. I actually had a really good lap going, I drove in too hard and gave up a lot of time. The car felt really good, the engine and everything felt really good. I just screwed up.”

“Hopefully practice was good enough today and we’ll be fast tomorrow — we’ll see.”

Gordon has Dupont on the hood
JEFF GORDON ON HAVING TO ADJUST THE CAR WITH CHANGING RACE CONDITIONS: "Yes, you just have to completely throw the dice at the setup and hope that you get it close. That’s kind of the box that we’re in when we don’t get to be on the track at the time of day that we’re going to be racing. It’s more of a guessing game. I still think the cars that are strong during the day are going to be strong at night. You just want to maybe have a few more adjustable components in the car to be able to change in case the conditions are much more different than you think they are.”

CARL EDWARDS ON WHAT IT WILL TAKE TO WIN SATURDAY: “We are going to have to keep doing what we have been doing. The car is good. We just got done with some qualifying trim runs and it seems pretty fast. Texas is fun. It is a fun place to race and they pay a ton if you win which is great (laughter). This afternoon we get to go for that shotgun which has definitely eluded us. We have been second in qualifying here but Bob and I want to win that shotgun so we can fight over it. I don’t know who would get it, me or him. That is the first step here, to qualify well and then 500 miles at night. It will be a little bit different racing in conditions we haven’t practiced in yet so that will be interesting. It is fun to race here. I am glad to go, ready to go, glad to be here.”

DENNY HAMLIN ON PRESSURE TO DO WELL THIS WEEK: “I’m pretty sure we’re going to run well. Finishing well is the part that we haven’t done as well this year as we’ve done in years past. It is so early and we are close to where we are last year. We’re not quite, because we won Martinsville last year at this point. For me, the panic level is not that high, but it is creeping there because ultimately it’s not about the number of points that you’re behind 10th at this point, it’s how many guys separate you from that. In my head, I know that we’re going to run well — I know that for a fact, it’s just whether we finish well is going to be the question mark. To do that, all the other aspects of the race team that we have to have together.”

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