Capital City 400
Richmond International Raceway
Saturday, April 28, 2012 - 4:46 pm (PDT)
Rating Driver Odds Practice 1 Practice 2 Qualified Phoenix*
1. Kyle Busch 5/1 23rd 5th 5th 6th
Won last three spring races; has a track best average finish of 5th in 14 career starts.
2. Clint Bowyer 25/1 4th 6th 23rd 30th
2008 winner with 10.5 average finish; was the star of both practices using Phoenix car.
3. Denny Hamlin 6/1 10th 15th 7th 1st
Two-time fall winner with a second best 7.6 average finish position for the native Virginian.
4. Jimmie Johnson 7/1 6th 11th 27th 4th
Three-time winner, the last coming in fall of 2008, with 17.6 average finish; using new car.
5. Mark Martin 30/1 1st 13th 1st 9th
1990 winner with 17 top-5’s and average finish of 12.2; had second best overall practices.
6. Kevin Harvick 9/1 12th 25th 3rd 2nd
Two-time winner, including last fall, with average finish of 11.5; using runner-up Phoenix chassis.
7. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 20/1 15th 1st 10th 14th
Three-time winner, the last coming in 2006, with an average finish of 14.4; using Phoenix chassis.
8. Martin Truex Jr. 30/1 11th 20th 8th 7th
Best finish of fifth came in 2008, but is currently in great form had great average practice speeds.
9. Jeff Gordon 8/1 14th 4th 6th 8th
Two-time winner, last coming in 2000, with average finish of 14.5 that includes 24 top-10’s.
10. Brad Keselowski 12/1 8th 12th 16th 5th
Ran more practice laps than anyone in both sessions with fast 10 consecutive lap averages.
* Results from the Phoenix Cup race held March 4, 2012, a track that translates well to Richmond because of its similar banking and size.
Note: Practice 1 was a two-hour session that offered the most valuable data of the two practices.
Odds courtesy of the LVH 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 VegasInsider.com, TheLinemakers.com or follow MicahRoberts7 on Twitter.
|Denny Hamlin won at Phoenix in March (Getty)|
This race should probably come down to Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch again, just as it did last spring when they finished 1-2. They weren’t necessarily the stars of practice, but Kyle Busch showed enough on longer runs to suggest he’ll be back up to his usual Richmond self and Hamlin has all that winning information from Phoenix, a track that translates very well to Richmond.
The stars of Friday’s practices were Clint Bowyer, Mark Martin and to a degree, Brad Keselowski, all of whom are worth taking a shot at with some of the high prices offered between them. Bowyer not only has a great history at the track, but looked to be the star in practice. Same goes for Martin who goes for his first win at Richmond since 1990, yes, over two decades ago.
Keselowski’s team found all kinds of good stuff in practice as they were fast in single laps, average times and 10-consecutive lap averages while running the most laps. If I had to pick one driver to knock off the Gibbs duo, it probably would be the No. 2 car.
Matchup of the Week: Brad Keselowski +110 vs. Kasey Kahne
For all the reasons above, I like Keselowski in this match-up, on top of his great Phoenix run. It gets even better if getting plus-money.
You never want to bet against Jimmie Johnson, but over the years he’s been kind of feast or famine which is why he has such a high average finish at Richmond. He’ll be matched up against several top tier drivers that might present some value.
I also find it hard to back Greg Biffle here even though he’s on a career run. He hasn’t finished inside the top-10 since 2006 and just by the law of averages, a bad luck race always hit’s the points leader at some juncture and Richmond seems like the ideal spot for him to experience his.