Micah Roberts’ Top 10 Driver Ratings
Sunday, August 5, 2012 - 10:16 am (PDT)
Rating Driver Odds Practice 1 Practice 2 Qualified Brickyard*
1. Jimmie Johnson 7/1 1st 10th 10th 1st
Swept 2004 season; track best 8.8 average finish in 21 starts; chassis has recorded two wins.
2. Kyle Busch 12/1 2nd 4th 20th 2nd
Career best runner-up last fall; looked to have the best car overall in Friday’s practices.
3. Denny Hamlin 5/1 28th 15th 2nd 6th
Four-time winner, last coming in spring of 2010; starting on front row a huge early advantage.
4. Greg Biffle 12/1 5th 3rd 12th 3rd
2010 winner; great practices coming off strong Indy run; using chassis last run at Kentucky.
5. Mark Martin 18/1 9th 11th 18th 11th
NASCAR record seven-time runner-up without a win; using runner-up Pocono chassis from June.
6. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 8/1 8th 1st 8th 4th
Five top-5 finishes in 25 starts, three straight top-10’s; using eighth-place Pocono chassis.
7. Kasey Kahne 10/1 6th 25th 4th 12th
2008 winner; good practices and start position; using winning Coca-Cola 600 chassis from Charlotte.
8. Matt Kenseth 12/1 4th 2nd 7th 35th
Career best of third-place in 2003; 13.9 average finish; using seventh-place Pocono chassis.
9. Brad Keselowski 20/1 14th 16th 31st 9th
Won this race last season with broken ankle; using runner-up chassis from All-Star race.
10. Joey Logano 30/1 7th 29th 14th 33rd
Captured win in June, using same car this week; changed transmission following practice 1.
* Results from last weeks Brickyard 400. Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 2.5 mile layout with long straightaways and flat turns requires a similar set-up at Pocono.
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 or follow on Twitter: MicahRoberts7.
Pennsylvania 400 Starting Lineup - Montoya on Pole
From everything I saw in practice, Kyle Busch looks to have the best car. The only thing that keeps him from the top rating slot is that Jimmie Johnson is far too consistent -- unless at a restrictor-plate track -- and he also comes off a dominating Brickyard win. It’s very convenient for the No. 48 team to just roll off the hauler and be strong because they did it at a very similar track last week.
Kyle Busch, on the other hand, has had so many lost opportunities this season because of a multitude of errors that have riddled the team. It was just last June at Pocono when Busch started the race in the second-row and had good clean air with plenty of room to maneuver. He should have been in a great position to contend for the win, but on lap 76 of a scheduled 160 laps, the engine blew on the No. 18. End of day. Thanks for coming. Good luck next time.
That was the second week in a row Busch’s engine blew. His runner-up finish last week was his first top-5 since late May when he finished third in the Coca-Cola 600. It’s been a long time since Busch had something to smile about, but it looks as though they’ve gotten something figured out. The momentum from last week is huge and it's why I like Busch the most.
Carl Edwards ran just as well as his Roush teammates, Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth, but he’s on a worse top-5 drought than Busch was. It’s been since Fontana in March that Edwards finished in the top-5. He picked up fifth-places at Las Vegas and Fontana, and hasn’t been seen there again. It just seems he’s more probable to finish 14th than crack the top-10.
Having Edwards being in the role as kamikaze pilot as he desperately tries to hunt down a win to make the Chase with only six chances remaining, he makes it very easy to bet against in driver matchups. The toughest thing about betting against Edwards in matchups is that you know he’ll bring the car back in one piece and finish with solid results despite not contending for a win. He should at least be entertaining on the track being overly aggressive.
Denny Hamlin will tough to beat since he’s starting up front and will be getting all that clean air. He may be in or near the lead for the first two pit stops, but I do think a handful of cars are better. We’ve kind of given Hamlin this mystique regarding Pocono because he’s won there four times, but really, it’s been four races and two years since his last win.
In all those races Hamlin won, he was one of the best in practice. This week, he is not. He just gets the respect because of his past and also good runs at Pocono and Indy this year. If it was based on practice alone, Hamlin would be rated far lower than third.
Two drivers that present a good opportunity this week and large adjusted odds are Joey Logano and Martin, the drivers that finished 1-2 in the June race. They didn't fare well in practice, but I think they got enough notes from the testing and practices from June as well as last week at Indy. I have more reason to believe they're closer to being similar to what they were in June as opposed to what they showed in Friday's practice.
Updated LVH Super Book Pocono Odds
SUNDAY, AUGUST 5, 2012
JIMMIE JOHNSON 7
TONY STEWART 15
MATT KENSETH 12
GREG BIFFLE 12
DENNY HAMLIN 5
KYLE BUSCH 12
KASEY KAHNE 10
JEFF GORDON 15
DALE EARNHARDT JR 8
CARL EDWARDS 12
BRAD KESELOWSKI 20
KEVIN HARVICK 25
MARK MARTIN 18
MARTIN TRUEX JR 35
CLINT BOWYER 35
RYAN NEWMAN 30
JOEY LOGANO 30
JEFF BURTON 100
JUAN MONTOYA 35
PAUL MENARD 50
JAMIE McMURRAY 100
KURT BUSCH 50
MARCOS AMBROSE 40
SAM HORNISH JR 100
ARIC ALMIROLA 200
DAVID GILLILAND 1000
REGAN SMITH 100
BOBBY LABONTE 1000
DAVID RAGAN 1000