Saturday, March 17, 2012

Final 2012 Bristol Food City 500 Driver Ratings Following All Practices

Micah Roberts’ Top 10 Driver Ratings
Food City 500
Bristol Motor Speedway
Sunday, March 18, 2012 - 10:16 am (PDT)

Rating    Driver     Odds      Practice 1   Qualified   Practice 2   Practice 3

 1. Kyle Busch 5/1                   10th            13th          2nd              2nd
Five time winner, including ‘11 spring race and four of his last six starts; new chassis this week.
 2. Brad Keselowski 15/1         23rd            5th           21st             4th
2011 fall winner; had a great final practice on long runs, using new chassis this week.
 3. Kasey Kahne 12/1              21st           10th           6th               5th
2007 runner-up; best average speeds in practice 3, best 10 consecutive lap average in practice 2.
 4. Jeff Gordon 10/1                  6th             4th          14th              9th
Five-time winner, the last coming in 2002; five top-5 finishes in last 11 starts
 5. Ryan Newman 25/1             5th             3rd            3rd              1st
2004 runner-up, his last top-5 finish. Stellar final practice with best 10 consecutive lap average.
 6. Greg Biffle 12/1                  11th             1st            4th             15th
11.8 average finish in 18 starts with no career short track wins; team is in a groove right now.
 7. A.J. Allmendinger 50/1        2nd             2nd           1st             17th
Outstanding two days of practices with fast average speeds; using new chassis this week.
 8. Martin Truex Jr. 25/1            9th           15th            5th              8th
2011 fall runner-up; had third fastest average speeds in final practice.
 9. Matt Kenseth 12/1               17th           21st           9th              9th
Two time winner with 6.2 average finish in last four starts; using new chassis this week.
10. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 25/1      15th           18th          12th            12th  
2004 winner with 11.7 average finish; second fastest average speeds in final practice.

Note: Kahne, Earnhardt Jr and Truex Jr’s fastest average speeds are based among all drivers that ran at least 60 laps in final practice. Jeff Burton ran a session high 108 laps, Jimmie Johnson 102.    

Odds courtesy of the Las Vegas Hilton Super Book.

Micah Roberts, a former sports book director, has been setting NASCAR lines in Las Vegas since 1995. For more Roberts insights and post-practice analysis on the race, go to, or follow MicahRoberts7 on Twitter.

Betting Notes:
Kasey Kahne has been driving me nuts the last three weeks with his practices. His car has looked the best at Phoenix, Las Vegas and now Bristol. He didn’t fare well in either of the two previous races, but I still have to take a shot on him to win.

Kyle Busch is the driver to beat not only because of his five wins at Bristol, but also because of his speed in Saturday’s practice. He’s got some power, especially on short runs, and if it comes down to Busch on re-start with 10 laps to go, he won’t be beat.

Because Busch’s odds are so low (5/1), it makes the betting equation a little more difficult. You can’t leave him out, but you also can’t deny how good some of the others like Kahne looked. In addition to Kahne, Brad Keselowski, A.J. Allmendinger and Martin Truex Jr look great and all of them have great prices. Ryan Newman and Dale Earnhardt Jr are even worth pondering a play.

Match-up of the week: Anyone against Tony Stewart
For some reason, this just isn’t one of Stewart’s best tracks. He’s only had three top-5 finishes in his last 20 starts and his only win came in 2001. His last three starts have seen him finish 28th, 19th and 27th.    

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