Tuesday, March 30, 2010

NASCAR Odds To Win - Las Vegas Hilton Super Book: Phoenix Subway Fresh Fit 600

Odds to Win 2010 SUBWAY FRESH FIT 600


NASCAR on Twitter: Insights From Tweets Can Assist In All Angles of Sports Handicapping

Gaming Today :: Sports Betting, Football Gambling, Sports Betting Odds :: Articles

NASCAR on Twitter

by Micah Roberts
Gaming Today - Las Vegas

One of the biggest social networking outlets out there is Twitter. At first, I was a bit dismissive about it. I was never into MySpace and use Facebook as means to keep in touch with relatives, but Twitter has now become much more than a place where you state what you’re doing.

I use it regularly to keep up-to-date with all things going on in the sports world, in particular, with NASCAR. There are over 45 drivers on Twitter that tweet regularly. While many of the tweets are comedic, there is also lots of insightful information that can help and assist with your weekly handicapping.

The drivers give up-to-date and honest information regarding their cars and teams after each practice. That type of information was never available in the past. Most of the time when handicapping a race, you look at straight numbers only, but when someone like Kasey Kahne tells you straight up before the race that his car is terrible and doesn’t know what to expect in the race, it’s much more telling than any kind of number on paper.

NASCAR is the largest group of any sport that regularly tweets, but the information gained for other sports is invaluable as well. Real time injury updates and other information that impact games hit Twitter first in many cases before the news even hits the wire. For people that regularly make wagers on all sports, that type of information is huge, especially before the news hits the Sports Books and a line is taken off the board.

On the lighter side, you can also get to know a NASCAR driver’s true personality by things they say. NASCAR driver Scott Speed is an absolute nut job; he and his wife Amanda tweet non-stop and it’s almost like a reality show with their banter.

You find things out that maybe you wouldn’t otherwise know, like when Speed tweeted Saturday regarding Danica Patrick after her qualifying run for the St. Petersburg IRL race. "She Qualified 21 out 24 cars, LOL," meaning laugh out loud.

Las Vegan Kyle Busch is a regular tweeter and is probably the most fan friendly with all his tweeps, meaning Twitter people following. He gets thousands of tweets a day and somehow manages to reply to most, something that most of the drivers don’t do.

There still are a few major drivers that don’t tweet like Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr, but they’ll likely come around. Stewart says he has better things to do than tell people he’s going to bed, but he’ll catch on soon like radio talk show host Jim Rome did.

Rome went on a half-hour comedic rampage about how stupid Twitter was a year ago. Just last month, Rome got an account and now has half of his nation following his tweets.

For sports purposes, Twitter is an absolute must follow just to get all the information. I use it religiously for that and also to send out my thoughts and articles to whoever wants to read them out there. You can follow me on Twitter at Micah Roberts7. You can follow GamingToday at GamingTodayNews.The

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is off week this weekend, and then onto Phoenix where the Childress cars look to be the ones to focus on.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Hamlin Weathers The Storm, Wins at Martinsville for Third Time

Associated Press

MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- Denny Hamlin won the rain-delayed NASCAR race at Martinsville Speedway, surging to the front in a wild finish after a blunder.

Hamlin gave up the lead with less than 10 laps left Monday when he headed to pit road for tires. He then rallied from ninth place to the lead in a span of just four laps.

The finish was a two-lap sprint in which he started fourth. He pushed Ryan Newman out of his way, then slipped inside Matt Kenseth and leader Jeff Gordon for the victory.

The race originally was scheduled for Sunday but was postponed a day because of rain.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Chevy Bow-ties and Virginians Set To Battle at Martinsville; Jeff Burton Looks Strong

by Micah Roberts
Las Vegas Review-Journal

The top story coming into this week's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway centered on Jimmie Johnson capturing the last four season championships, winning three of the first five races this season, and dominating nearly every season at Martinsville since he’s been on the circuit.

Following Saturday’s practice sessions, the story has shifted to how good some of the other drivers have been in practice, in particular Jeff Burton. The native Virginian, who grew up 64 miles away in nearby South Boston, tied for the fastest lap during the first practice session and was second fastest during happy hour in final preparation for Sunday’s Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500.

Burton not only had the best showing during Saturday’s practices, he also ran the most laps in each with 60 in the first and 99 in the final session. He looks to have his best chance at winning since finishing third in this race in 2008. His only Martinsville win came in the fall of 1997.

Burton’s success during Saturday’s practice comes a week after NASCAR tested the new spoiler at Charlotte, where he and his Childress teammates were stars of the two-day session. The spoiler debuts on the short track of Martinsville this week. It won’t have near the same impact this week that it will have on larger downforce tracks, but it is a sign — along with Martinsville’s practice — that the Childress organization is going to be a thorn in Johnson’s quest to win five straight titles.

Johnson has won six career races at Martinsville, including five of the last seven. He’s finished outside of the top 10 only once in his 16 career starts, and that was his first Cup start on the track. No one comes close to Johnson at Martinsville, but things may be a little different this week.

Johnson’s cars usually come right off the hauler ready to dominate with little tinkering throughout the practices. But this week they looked like a normal team scrambling to get the optimum setup during practices rather than the team that always has it figured out. Their average speeds and times were not Johnson-like at Martinsville.

However, they still have the best crew in NASCAR and chances are they will have that car set up good enough to compete while making the necessary changes as the race goes on. Nine straight top-five finishes coming into this race is pretty strong and chances are it will happen again, but winning is definitely a question mark.

One of the top candidates Johnson will have to go through to get his seventh win on the track will be his teammate and boss, Jeff Gordon, who has seven career wins at Martinsville. Gordon could have probably tacked on four more wins, but Johnson has pigged them all over that span. Over the past 10 races, Gordon has finished in the top five each time, with two wins and three second-place finishes.

Gordon was strong in every practice, whether in qualifying trim on Friday, where he was fourth quickest, or in race trim Saturday, where he was fifth and fourth. respectively. Look for a strong run out of Gordon this week who is searching for his first win since Texas almost a year ago.

Two other Hendrick cars joined Johnson and Gordon as top contenders to win this week after stellar practice sessions. Mark Martin practices well every week and has the look of being able to win on any track, but the surprise came with Dale Earnhardt Jr., who was fastest in average speeds during happy hour.

Read More Here.....
Includes Updated Las Vegas Hilton Super Book odds, Martinsville facts, and Final Driver Ratings

Martinsville: Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500 Ratings Following All Practice Sessions

Micah Roberts Top 10 Driver Ratings
Las Vegas Review-Journal

Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500
Martinsville Speedway
Sunday, March 28, 2010 - 10:15 am (PT)

Rating - Driver - Odds                            Practice 1         Qualifying*           Practice 2          Practice 3
1.Jeff Burton 15/1                          21st               7th                 1st                2nd
Ran the most laps in Saturday’s practice with best results. Converted 2009 Charlotte chassis for this race. One career win with average finish of 14.6 for the Virginian.

2.Dale Earnhardt Jr 20/1                15th                8th                22nd            7th
Best average lap times in happy hour. New Chassis for this race. Fifth best NASCAR loop rating at track with career best finish of second-place in 2008.

3.Jeff Gordon 6/1                           4th                 11th                5th               4th
Seven-time winner with average finish of 6.8. Has top-5 finish in last 10 starts. Strong in every practice with single lap and average times.

4.Denny Hamlin 5/1                       5th                 19th                 7th               5th
The native Virginian won two of the last four; solid practice times while debuting new chassis. Fourth best NASCAR loop rating.

5.Jimmie Johnson 7/2                     7th                 3rd                  16th              9th
The six-time winning is debuting new chassis and the team struggled (by their standards) with it. He has nine straight top-5 finishes.

6.Juan Pablo Montoya 18/1           6th                 22nd                 4th              6th
His best statistical non-road course track on schedule with average finish of 11th including third-place in last race there. Third fastest average speeds in happy hour.

7.Mark Martin 15/1                       2nd                16th                 1st               8th
Last of his two career wins came in 2000. Using same car that finished eighth at Martinsville last fall. Second fastest average speeds in happy hour.

8.Tony Stewart 12/1                      13th                5th                  8th               28th
Debuts new chassis this week. Two career wins and average finish of 12.0. Finished third in this race last year.

9.Jamie McMurray 35/1              10th               15th                  9th                1st
Fastest in happy hour on what is his third-best track with an average finish of 15.6.

10.Kevin Harvick 12/1                 16th                1st                  13th              13th
Using Chassis that teammate Clint Bowyer won with at New Hampshire (2007) and Richmond (2008). Huge advantage of pitting out of first box. Winner in Nationwide and Trucks, but no Cup wins at Martinsville.

* Qualifying rained out and set by driver points.
Odds courtesy of the Las Vegas Hilton Super Book.
For more insights on the upcoming race, log onto http://www.lvrj.com/ under Motorsports, available on-line every Saturday evening.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Newman Fastest in First Martinsville Practice, Qualifying Rained Out

It doesn't appear that the Cup Series will be able to get qualifying in today which means that the starting lineup will be set by points. That's bad news for several drivers who were fast with qualifying trim on late during Fridays practice, but are mired way down in points. Drivers such as Denny Hamlin, Ryan Newman, and Juan Pablo Montoya all looked to have strong qualifying runs, but they'll have to traverse through the tight field of traffic on race day.

Saturday's two practice sessions will be interesting to see who looks good in race trim, in particular on the long runs. Jimmie Johnson, who has won five of the last seven Martinsville races, brought a new chassis to the track this week and didn't miss a beat. He had the seventh fastest time, but over the 30 laps he ran, no one was faster in average speeds.     

Friday's Top 5 Practice Times
1) #39-Newman 96.934
2) #5-Martin 96.859
3) #47-Ambrose 96.849
4) #24-Gordon 96.815
5) #42-Montoya 96.691

See Practice Page Link For Complete List of Speeds

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Martinsville Driver Chassis Selections: Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500

compiled by Jeff Wackerlin

1. Kevin Harvick: Coming off seventh top 10 in 17 starts; Has not led a lap since the 2004 fall race when he was up front for 104 laps; 15.2 average finish in the six races with the new car; Will race the same chassis (No. 212) that his teammate Clint Bowyer drove to victories at New Hampshire (Sept. 2007) and Richmond (May 2008).

2. Matt Kenseth: Last of six top 10s came in the 2008 fall race; Best finish (second) came in the Spring race of 2002; Finished 23rd in this event last year after getting involved in a late accident; 15.0 average finish in the six races with the new car.

3. Jimmie Johnson: Six-time winner; Has won five of the last seven races; 5.1 average finish leads all drivers; Has led 1,551 laps in 16 starts; Will debut a new chassis (No. 590) in the Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500.

4. Greg Biffle: Only top 10 (seventh) in 14 starts came in the 2007 fall race; 20.7 average finish in the six races with the new car; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 667) in the Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500.

5. Tony Stewart: Finished third and ninth, respectively, in first two track starts with Stewart-Haas Racing in 2009; Posted 11 top 10s and two wins in previous 20 starts with Joe Gibbs Racing; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 587) in the Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500.

6. Kurt Busch: 23.1 average finish in eight starts with Penske Racing; Four top 10s, including one win, came in previous 11 starts with Roush Racing; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 722) in the Goody’s Fast pain Relief 500.

7. Jeff Burton: Has posted three top 10s in 11 starts with Richard Childress Racing; Scored one win and 11 top 10s with Roush Racing; Chassis No. 283 will be the car of choice for the No. 31 team this weekend; This car was converted to a short-track car after its most recent finish, of 14th, last October at Charlotte.

8. Dale Earnhardt Jr: Fifth best track on the circuit based on 14.1 average finish; Has posted an 11.3 average finish in four starts with Hendrick Motorsports; Best finish came in the 2008 fall race in second; Will debut a new chassis (No. 562) that was tested at Rockingham.

9. Paul Menard: Has yet to finish in the top 15 in five starts; Best finish came in this event in 2006 in 16th; Will debut a new chassis (No. 619) that was tested at Rockingham last week.

10. Kyle Busch: Coming off first top-20 finish (fourth) in four starts with Joe Gibbs Racing; Previous four top 10s came with Hendrick Motorsports; Led 106 laps in the 2007 fall race; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 249) that most recently finished eighth at Charlotte last October.

11. Jeff Gordon: Leads active drivers in wins (7), top fives (22), top 10s (28), laps led (2,796) and poles (7); Has finished ninth or better in last 14 starts; Led 147 laps in this event last year en route to a fourth-place finish.

12. Clint Bowyer: Ended a streak of four consecutive top 10s last fall with a 19th-place finish; Fifth-best average finish (10.5) among drivers that have raced in all six events with the new car; Has yet to lead a lap in eight starts; Will be back behind the wheel of the same car (chassis No. 267) that he tested at Darlington (Goodyear Test) and Rockingham.

13. Carl Edwards: Only top 10s came in both races in 2008; Third-place finish in the 2009 fall race was best in 11 starts; Has yet to lead a lap.

14. Brian Vickers: Only top 10 in 10 starts came in the 2006 spring race with Hendrick Motorsports; Has posted a 19.5 average finish with Team Red Bull in four starts; Best finish with Red Bull is 11th, which he accomplished in the last two fall events.

15. Jamie McMurray: Third best track on the circuit based on 15.6 average finish; Coming off eighth and ninth top 10s in 14 starts; Will make his first track start in a Chevrolet.

16. Mark Martin: Finished seventh and eighth, respectively in first two track starts with Hendrick Motorsports in 2009; Won the spring race in 1992 and 2000 with Roush Racing; 13.2 average finish in 44 starts; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 561) that he raced at Martinsville last fall.

17. Joey Logano: Making third Cup start; Finished a best 12th in last fall's race.

18. Scott Speed: Has finished 30th or worse in three starts.

19. Denny Hamlin: Coming off second victory and has finished sixth or better in last seven starts; Combined to lead 502 laps last season; Second-best average finish (3.0) in the six starts with the new car; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 267) in the Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500.

20. Martin Truex Jr: Only top 10 in eight starts was 10th-place finish in fall of 2008; Average finish is 23.9.

21. AJ Allmendinger: Scored first top-10 finish in five starts (ninth) in this event last year; 26.2 average finish; Piloting chassis No. 276 which was last raced at Phoenix last fall to a 13th-place finish.

22. Juan Pablo Montoya: Best oval on the schedule based on his 11.0 average finish; Posted a 7.5 average finish in 2009 in first two track starts in an Earnhardt-Ganassi Chevrolet; Led 37 laps last fall en route to first top five.

23. Kasey Kahne: Has a 19.7 average finish in 12 starts; Last of two top 10s came in the 2006 fall event; Finished second in the spring of 2005.

24. David Reutimann: Yet to finish in the top 10 in six starts; Best finish was 16th in last fall's race; 24.8 average finish.

25. Elliott Sadler: Returns to hometown track where he's made 22 starts; One top five and three top 10s with an average finish of 24.8; Driving brand new chassis No. 270.

26. Ryan Newman: Finished sixth and seventh, respectively, in first two track starts with Stewart-Haas Racing in 2009; Scored six top 10s in previous 14 starts with Penske Racing; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 492) that raced in both Martinsville races last season.

27. David Ragan: Best finish in seven starts was 11th-place finish in this event in 2008; 19.9 average finish; Primary chassis RK-635 was last run at Loudon in June of 2009 to a 33rd-place finish.

28. Regan Smith: Last of three races was in October of 2008 with a 42nd-place result; Scored a best 14th-place result in this event in 2008.

29. Bobby Labonte: Winner of this event in 2002 with Joe Gibbs Racing; 17.0 average finish after 34 starts; Six top fives and 13 top 10s.

30. Brad Keselowski: Making first Cup Series start; Has made four Truck Series starts with a best finish of 18th in 2005; Driving a brand-new chassis PRS-723.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Martinsville Preview: Goody's Relief Will Be If Anyone Can Stop Johnson; Good-Luck!

By Micah Roberts

Last week Jimmie Johnson went into the short track racing season on the high banks of Bristol, a place he had never won at, and won. This week, Johnson visits another short track at the much flatter Martinsville Speedway, a track that he has thoroughly dominated like no other.

Quick trivia time: When was the last time Johnson didn’t finish in the top-5 of a Martinsville race? How about the last time he finished out of the top-10?

In this race back in 2005, Johnson finished eighth and in his rookie year of 2002, his very first race on the track, Johnson finished 35th.

It seems hard to comprehend that someone could be so consistently good for such a long period of time at one particular track, especially when he ran so mediocre -- by his lofty standards -- at Bristol over the same span.

Johnson has six career wins at Martinsville including a stretch from the fall of 2006 to this race last year where he won five of the six races run. That is a pretty remarkable feat for any type of racing in all classes, but to do it in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series which has some of the largest starting fields and bank rolls to make great competitive cars really shows just how good Johnson is.

He may not give us the banter we all want to hear. He doesn’t have a lot of choice words for any other drivers. He hasn’t got caught up in any rivalry or payback threats. No, all Johnson does is win Championships and there is no better evidence of his machine-like performance that display all his perceived vanilla traits than at Martinsville.

We could also look at the beginning of 2010 if further evidence is needed to just how great Johnson is. He’s generally a slow starter, but he’s already got three wins in five races giving him 50 for his career. Only three drivers in NASCAR history -- Jeff Gordon, Darrell Waltrip, and David Pearson -- have gotten to 50 wins faster than Johnson.

From every aspect of NASCAR racing, Johnson and his crew chief Chad Knaus have it all covered. The driver usually gets most of the credit, but it starts with the team who always has his chassis set up ideally for each race right when it comes off the truck.

The question this week is who may be the top contender to give Johnson a run for the money on his most successful track? The two races that Johnson hasn’t won over the last races there have been won by Virginia native Denny Hamlin. Over those last seven races, Hamlin has finished out of the top-5 only once, and that was a sixth-place run.

Martinsville could be the perfect place to get Hamlin out of his current funk that has seen him go the first five races without a top-10 finish, numbers that are well below expectations for a driver many picked to be the one to topple Johnson’s quest for a fifth straight Championship.

Jeff Gordon is the current active leader in wins at Martinsville with seven. He hasn’t there since 2005 when he swept the season, but has been competitive at the highest level while Hamlin and Johnson have pigged all the wins. Since sweeping in 2005, Gordon has eight straight top-5 finishes that include three second-place runs. Overall Gordon has 22 top-5 finishes in his 34 career starts on the track.

Tony Stewart showed some signs of life last week at Bristol and its about the same time last year that he showed the NASCAR world that he would be able to contend at a high level with his new team. The same turnaround occurred for his teammate Ryan Newman.

Last week Stewart got his first top-5 of the season by finishing second. Both his cars should be primed for good runs this week. Newman finished sixth and seventh in last years Martinsville races while Stewart was third and ninth.

Two other candidates who could run well are Jamie McMurray and Juan Pablo Montoya. Both cars looked terrific in their first run on the short last week as teammates. Both had great practice sessions that translated well in the race with Montoya leading laps on four separate occasions and McMurray finishing eighth. Montoya had a career best third-place finish in the fall Martinsville race last season.

Kurt Busch had a great run last week leading the most laps and finishing third, but Martinsville always seems to get the best of him. He does have one career win on the track -- back in 2002 -- but only has one top-5 finish on the track since. His brother Kyle has been just a little better, but the short track excellence they show at Bristol hasn’t translated over to Martinsville as pronounced, almost an opposite to what Johnson has shown between the two short tracks.

Kyle Busch has three fourth-place finishes mixed in with four finishes of 24th or worse.

TOP 5 Finish Prediction:
1) #14 Tony Stewart (12/1)
2) #11 Denny Hamlin (8/1)
3) #48 Jimmie Johnson (6/1)
4) #24 Jeff Gordon (8/1)
5) #42 Juan Pablo Montoya (18/1)

Visit VegasInsider.com for more stats and info on this weeks Race.

Odds To Win Goody's Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville - Las Vegas Hilton Super Book


SUNDAY, MARCH 28, 2010


Monday, March 22, 2010

Martinsville Speedway Facts: Goody's Headache Powder 500

compiled by Mike Forde
NASCAR Media Services

At Martinsville Speedway:

· Opened in September 1947 by H. Clay Earles, Martinsville, originally a dirt track, is one of the oldest continuously-operating race tracks in the United States.
· The first NASCAR-sanctioned race at Martinsville was on July 4, 1948.
· The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race was Sept. 25, 1949.
· The track was paved in 1955.
· The first 500-lap event at Martinsville was in 1956.
· Concrete corners were added atop asphalt in 1976.

· There have been 122 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Martinsville Speedway, one in the inaugural year and two races per year since 1950.
· Curtis Turner won the pole for the first NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville in 1949.
· Red Byron won the first NASCAR Sprint Cup race.
· 55 drivers have won poles, led by Darrell Waltrip with eight. Jeff Gordon, with seven poles, can tie that mark this weekend.
· Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin and Darrell Waltrip share the consecutive pole record, each with three.
· 45 different drivers have won, led by Richard Petty’s 15.
· Jeff Gordon leads active drivers with seven wins. Jimmie Johnson has six.
· 18 races have been won from the pole, the last by Jimmie Johnson in October 2008.
· Petty Enterprises has won 19 races, more than any other organization. Hendrick Motorsports, with 18 wins, can tie that mark this weekend.
· Kurt Busch won the 2002 fall race from the 36th starting position, the furthest back a race winner has started.
· Three active drivers average a top-10: Jimmie Johnson (5.1), Jeff Gordon (6.8), Denny Hamlin (7.2).
· The last three races that have ended under green have had a margin of victory under one second.

Martinsville Speedway Data
Race #: 6 of 36 (3-28-10)
Track Size: .526 mile
Race Length: 500 laps/263 miles
· Banking/Corners: 12 degrees
· Banking/Straights: 0 degrees
· Frontstretch: 800 feet
· Backstretch: 800 feet

Driver Rating at Martinsville
Jimmie Johnson 125.5
Jeff Gordon 123.0
Tony Stewart 112.5
Denny Hamlin 109.1
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 98.8
Kevin Harvick 90.8
Kyle Busch 89.7
Mark Martin 87.5
Jamie McMurray 87.5
Juan Pablo Montoya 87.4
Note: Driver Rating compiled from 2005-2009 races (10 total) at Martinsville Speedway.

Qualifying/Race Data
2009 pole winner: None (inclement weather)
2009 race winner: Jimmie Johnson, 75.938 mph, 3-29-09)
Track qualifying record: Tony Stewart (98.083 mph, 19.306 secs., 10-21-05)
Race record: Jeff Gordon (82.223 mph, 9-22-96)

Estimated Pit Window: Every 140-150 laps, based on fuel mileage.

NASCAR in Virginia
* There have been 266 NASCAR Sprint Cup races in Virginia.
* 158 drivers in NASCAR’s three national series (all-time) have their home state recorded as Virginia.
* There have been 18 race winners from Virginia in NASCAR’s three national series:

Johnson Gets NASCAR Win No. 50, and Win No. 1 at Bristol

by Motor Racing Network

Jimmie Johnson erased Bristol Motor Speedway from the list of tracks where he had never won a Sprint Cup Series race at with a victory in Sunday's Food City 500.

A good restart in the final 10-lap shootout proved to be the winning move for Johnson after the team took four tires on the last pit stop. When the field went back to green Johnson stormed around Tony Stewart for the top spot with six laps-to-go and went on to score his 50th career Sprint Cup Series win.

"We have worked so hard for this. I thought we were in trouble there but those four tires were everything – and I was in the outside line, which was helpful," said Johnson, who has one victory in 17 career starts at the track. "It's about time.

"Yes, it has been one of the most difficult for us. It is so great to set some goals and go out and accomplish them as a race team. I am so proud of what we have done as a group. We've been off here over the years. We focused on what we needed to do and got it done today."

With the win, Johnson became the fourth fastest driver to 50 Cup wins (296 races), trailing only Jeff Gordon (232), Darrell Waltrip (278) and David Pearson (293).

Read More Here...



MotorRacingNetwork.com - Edwards-Harvick Feud Continues

MotorRacingNetwork.com - Edwards-Harvick Feud Continues

Drivers Chassis' Selections for Bristol

1. Kevin Harvick: Best track on the circuit with 10 or more starts based on average finish of 12.3; Winner of the 2005 spring race; Finished 30th and 38th, respectively in 2009; 15.7 average finish in six starts with the new car; Will race the same car (chassis No. 281) that finished second at Atlanta last September.

2. Matt Kenseth: Winner of the 2005 and 2006 summer races; Coming off 12th top 10 in 20 starts; 18.7 average finish in six starts with the new car.

3. Greg Biffle: Coming off fifth top five in 14 starts; Qualified fourth and finished 39th in this event last year after the engine expired; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 608) that finished 10th at Las Vegas last month.

4. Jimmie Johnson: Has finished in the top 10 and led 195 laps in last two starts; Equaled best finish (third) in this event last year; 16.5 average finish in six starts with the new car; Will pilot the same car (chassis No. 480) that finished eighth last summer at Bristol.

5. Clint Bowyer: Second-best average finish (9.2) among all drivers that have competed in all six races with the new car; Best finish is third, where he has finished twice (August 2007 and March 2008); Will be back in the same car (chassis No. 268) that finished 10th at Dover last June and third at Pocono last August.

6. Jeff Burton: Winner of the 2008 spring race; Has recorded six top 10s with Richard Childress Racing; Finished eighth in this event last year; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 293) that finished 11th at Las Vegas last month.

7. Mark Martin: Won both poles and posted an average finish of 4.0 in first two starts with Hendrick Motorsports; Previous 21 top 10s came with Roush Racing; Last of two victories came in 1998.

8. Tony Stewart: Winner of the 2001 summer race; Posted a 25.0 average finish in first two starts with Stewart-Haas; 18.5 average finish in six starts with the new car; Scored seven top 10s in 20 starts with Joe Gibbs Racing; Will pilot the same car (chassis No. 530) that posted three top 10s in 2009, most recently Martinsville in the fall.

9. Paul Menard: 24.2 average finish in five starts; Best finish (16th) came in the 2008 night race; Will be behind the wheel of a car (chassis No. 556) that raced on many occasions in 2009, but has been rebuilt for this season.

10. Kurt Busch: Five-time winner; Has posted one win and three top 10s in eight starts with Penske Racing; Four other wins came with Roush Racing; 13.3 average finish in six starts with the new car; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 709) in the Food City 500.

11. Jeff Gordon: Five-time winner; 10.8 average finish in six starts with the new car; Finished in the top five in two of his last three starts; Leads all drivers with 2,438 laps led.

12. Scott Speed: 21.5 average finish in two starts; Coming off best finish in 15th after starting third.

13. Dale Earnhardt Jr: 11.5 average finish in four starts with Hendrick Motorsports; Scored one win and nine top 10s with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. in previous 16 starts; Will pilot the same car (chassis No. 556) that recently finished 16th at Las Vegas in February.

14. Joey Logano: 36.0 average finish in two starts; Finished 38th in this event last year after the engine expired; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 231) that finished 34th in the 2009 Bristol night race.

15. Kyle Busch: Swept both races in 2009; Has combined to lead 861 laps in last three races; Won the 2007 spring race with Hendrick Motorsports; Will make fifth track start with Joe Gibbs Racing in the same car (chassis No. 254) that most recently finished eighth at Homestead.

16. Brian Vickers: Has yet to post a top-10 finish in 11 starts; Posted an average finish of 23.0 in five starts with Team Red Bull; Equaled best finish last summer in 12th.

17. Kasey Kahne: Recorded fourth top five in this event last year; Led 305 laps en route to a runner-up finish in this event in 2007; 16.8 average finish in six starts with the new car.

18. David Reutimann: 18.5 average finish in four starts; Best finish came in this event last year in 12th.

19. Jamie McMurray: Will make first track start in a Earnhardt-Ganassi Chevrolet; 23.0 average finish in the new car with Roush Fenway; Scored three consecutive top 10s with Ganassi early in his career; Will pilot the same car (chassis No. 031) that finished 19th at New Hampshire last season with driver Martin Truex Jr.

20. Carl Edwards: Winner of the 2007 and 2008 summer races; Finished 15th in this event last year; Fourth-best average finish (10.2) among drivers that have competed in all six races with the new car; Has led 266 laps with the new car; Will race the same car (chassis No. 596) that finished 16th at Bristol last fall.

21. Juan Pablo Montoya: One top-10 finish in six starts came in this event last year; Average finish is 19.5; Will pilot the same car (chassis No. 903) that finished in the top 10 at Michigan in June and Chicagoland in July in 2009.

22. Denny Hamlin: Came from the back of the field and a lap down to finish fifth last summer; Has finished in the top 15 in each of his eight starts; Top-five finishes in last three races, with a best finish of second last spring; Has led 282 laps in three races; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 259) in the Food City 500.

23. AJ Allmendinger: Best 16th-place finish last year in this race; 32.4 average finish in five starts; Piloting chassis No. 288, which was last run as the No. 44 last September to a seventh-place finish at Dover.

24. Martin Truex Jr: Yet to score a top-10 finish in eight starts; Best finish of 11th came in August of 2007; Average finish is 25.0; Tied with Kyle Busch for passing the most cars (426) under green while running in the top 15; Site of first career NASCAR Nationwide race in 2004.

25. Elliott Sadler: Scored his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup victory in this race in 2001 while driving a Ford; Three top fives and four top 10s with an average finish of 22.9 in 23 starts; Last top-10 finish was in this race in 2005; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 278) in the Food City 500.

26. Regan Smith: Average finish of 23.0 in four starts; Best finish of 14th came in summer event of 2008.

27. David Ragan: Best finish in six starts was 10th in fall of 2008, which is his only top 10; Won the 2009 summer NASCAR Nationwide Series race; Will be behind the wheel of the same car (chassis RK-670) that last raced to 18th-place finish at Homestead-Miami in 2009.

28. Marcos Ambrose: Two top-10 finishes in both career starts; Finished third last summer; Has best average finish (6.5) of all active drivers.

29. Ryan Newman: One top-five finish in 16 starts came in second 2004 race; Finished seventh and sixth in two track starts with Stewart-Haas Racing in 2009; Nine total top-10 finishes; Holds the current qualifying record of 128.709 mph from this race in 2003; Piloting the same car (chassis No. 516) that earned top-10 finishes in four events on concrete in 2009.

30. Bobby Labonte: Making 35th career track start; Three top fives and 10 top-10s with an average finish of 19.9; Last top 10 was an eighth-place result in summer of 2007 with Petty Enterprises; Will debut a new chassis (No. 248) in the Food City 500.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Food City 500 Preview: Busch Brothers Love Bristol

by Micah Roberts

The first four weeks of NASCAR Sprint Cup racing brought us to some of the tours fastest tracks beginning with the restrictor plates at Daytona and the last three weeks at high speed down force tracks. This week at Bristol is the beginning of the short track season where we’ll see cars bumping at banging at much lower speeds, which often springboards into some heated confrontations among the drivers.

We saw NASCAR open “Pandora’s Box” last week with their lack of punishment on Carl Edwards for punting Brad Keselowski in Atlanta. It was good a decision on NASCAR’s part to hold true to their statements made before the season started that NASCAR would loosen things up and let the drivers show more personality and emotion on the track.

The faster tracks aren’t typically the type of places where drivers send a message at, but even with looming fines and penalties, the short tracks have always been somewhat of a drivers’ kangaroo court. With seemingly no repercussions other than probation, like Edwards received for his admitted punt, there looks to be a lot of loose cannons on the track just waiting to show off how bad they can be with their form of justice.

Bristol used to be one of the more volatile tracks on tour where multiple drivers were bumped out of the way as they all fought for the all important low line of position. Since the re-paving for the fall race in 2007, things haven't been as wild as they used to be because drivers can race equally fast high or low.

Now, if a driver won’t move for a faster car behind him, the faster car can just move up high for the pass and not lose much speed in the process. It has eliminated the so-called ”love taps” and has also shrunk the amount of bouts following the race, which many times were just as entertaining as the race itself.

Instead of being the unique track it was, Bristol now runs similar to Dover. The track is still the fastest half-mile track in the world and it still has the largest fan base of all tracks, making it still unique, but it will never offer the same type of racing as most of us remember it.

One of the drivers who should flourish under the new proven policy of NASCAR is Las Vegan Kyle Busch. For the last two seasons he’s been NASCAR’s whipping boy with multiple trips to the trailer, which is like being sent to the principal’s office in grade school. Busch has had a tangle with just about everyone on the track during his short career, including his own brother during an All-Star race.

The combination of not running as well as he’d like and also the multiple tongue-lashings from NASCAR has quieted him down somewhat, but you have to believe that he is just waiting for his chance to shine in the new NASCAR.

For the last two seasons, Busch has been one of the only drivers to liven things up. He’s played that villain that every era of NASCAR needs and he somewhat relishes in it. But it’s hard to play that role lately because he isn’t winning, nor is he coming close.

Thus far into the season, Busch doesn’t have one top-10 finish on tracks that he typically does well at. He still sits No. 15 in points, but that isn’t good enough or acceptable for Busch. In his last two seasons with Joe Gibbs Racing he’s had a win by this juncture as well as multiple top-5 finishes.

All that early season momentum has usually translated well coming into Bristol. Last year he won both Bristol races, sweeping the season for the first time since his brother did it in 2003. He is Bristol’s active leader in career average finish at 10.2 among all drivers with at least three races on the track.

Busch was even good on the old configuration winning the first race ever in the new COT in the spring of 2007, the last race under the old format. Could this be the week that he finally gets back on track with a good win? It sure looks like it, but it’s tough to pull the trigger just because of the lull he’s in right now.

The driver who has been almost as consistent as Busch since the changes to the track has been Denny Hamlin who has a streak of three straight top-5 finishes along with a sixth-place finish in his last four starts. But Hamlin is in the same boat as Busch coming in; no top-10 finishes in any of the four races thus far.

Carl Edwards has been the talk of NASCAR world over the last week. He won the first race on the new surface in 2007 and followed that night race with another in 2008. However, as the changes to his team sent Edwards from being close to winning every week in 2008 to not winning at all in 2009. Last season Edwards was very average at Bristol and based on the way things have gone thus far, it doesn’t look to change.

Because the track runs somewhat like a mini-Dover, and because he’s started so uncharacteristically fast, we have to look at Jimmie Johnson as a candidate to have maybe his best run ever at Bristol. It’s one of the few tracks Johnson has yet to win on among his 49 career wins. He swept Dover last season and finished eighth and third last season at Bristol.

During Mark Martin’s part time schedule as was easing into retirement, he had skipped Bristol for two seasons. When he rolled up last year he came strong with a sixth and second. Look for Martin to be a strong contender Sunday.

Teammates Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman haven’t made any noise this season yet, but that should change this week as they’ll contend and likely have their best combined performance of the year. Newman finished sixth and seventh in both races last season.

The Childress group figures to be just as good as ever at Bristol and continue their strong run through the standings. Jeff Burton won this race in 2008 and his two side kicks, Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer, were almost as good the same year. It was an off year for the entire organization last year, but they all look good to go based on the first four races. They should all have good cars this week with each capable of winning.

TOP 5 Finish Prediction:
1) #33 Clint Bowyer (18/1)
2) #11 Denny Hamlin (10/1)
3) #18 Kyle Busch (8/1)
4) #29 Kevin Harvick (14/1)
5) #5 Mark Martin (10/1)

Food City 500: Bristol Motor Speedway Facts

by Mike Forde
NASCAR Media Service

At Bristol Motor Speedway:

· Groundbreaking for Bristol International Speedway, as Bristol Motor Speedway was originally known, took place in 1960. The track was an exact half-mile.
· First NASCAR Sprint Cup race was July 30, 1961.
· In the fall of 1969, the track was reshaped and re-measured to .533-miles.
· The name changed to Bristol International Raceway in 1978.
· The first night race was held in the fall of 1978.
· The surface was changed from asphalt to concrete in 1992.
· The name changed to Bristol Motor Speedway in May 1996.
· The track was resurfaced between races in 2007.

· There have been 98 NASCAR Sprint Cup races since the first race there in 1961, two races each season.
· All races have been scheduled for 500 laps, except for both races in 1976 and the second in 1977, which were 400 laps.
· Fred Lorenzen won the first pole.
· The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race was won by Jack Smith (with relief from Johnny Allen).
· There have been 42 different pole winners, led by Cale Yarborough and Mark Martin (nine). Martinswept both poles at Bristol last season.
· 37 different drivers have won, led by Darrell Waltrip (12).
· Kurt Busch and Jeff Gordon each have five wins, most among active drivers.
· The race winner has started from the pole 22 times, the most productive starting position. The last driver to win from the pole was Carl Edwards in the night race of 2008.
· 79 of 97 races have been won from a top-10 starting position, including 51 from the first four spots. But both races last season – swept by Kyle Busch –were won from a starting position outside the top 10.
· The deepest in the field that a race winner has started is 38th, by Elliott Sadler in 2001.
· Only one active driver averages a top-10 finish: Marcos Ambrose. Ambrose, who has an average finish of 6.5, has run two races at Bristol, both last season.
· Last year’s night race had a margin of victory of .098 seconds, the second-closest MOV at Bristol since the advent of electronic scoring in May of 1993.
· Three of the last four Bristol races had a margin of victory under one second.

Bristol Motor Speedway Data
Race #: 5 of 36 (3-21-10)
Track Size: .533 miles
· Race Length: 500 laps/266.5 miles
· Banking/Corners: 26 to 30 degrees
· Banking/Straights: 4 to 9 degrees

Driver Rating at Bristol
Marcos Ambrose 108.2
Kyle Busch 105.6
Jeff Gordon 100.1
Greg Biffle 99.3
Denny Hamlin 98.9
Matt Kenseth 97.5
Tony Stewart 94.7
Kevin Harvick 93.5
Kurt Busch 91.7
Mark Martin 89.5
Note: Driver Rating compiled from 2005-2009 races (10 total) at Bristol.

Qualifying/Race Data
2009 pole winner: Mark Martin, 125.773 mph, 15.256 seconds
2009 race winner: Kyle Busch, 92.139 mph, 3-22-09)
Track qualifying record: Ryan Newman (128.709 mph, 14.908 seconds, 3-21-03)
Track race record: Charlie Glotzbach (101.074 mph, 7-11-71)

Estimated Pit Window: Every 120-130 laps, based on fuel mileage.

NASCAR in Tennessee
* There have been 159 NASCAR Sprint Cup races in Tennessee.
* 97 drivers all-time in NASCAR’s three national series have their home state recorded as Tennessee.
* There have been 12 race winners from Tennessee in NASCAR’s three national series.

Odds To Win Food City 500 - Las Vegas Hilton Super Book


SUNDAY, MARCH 21, 2010


Thursday, March 11, 2010

NASCAR Wants Rivalries, Well Here They Come And Thank Goodness!

by Micah Roberts

Jeff Gordon commented last week that NASCAR needs a few rivalries to get things going and stir up some excitement among the fans. He offered a few of his own natural thoughts like Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch because they’re both high energy guys who wear their emotions on their sleeves and drive for competing manufacturers.

Gordon has been through the rivalry thing himself with Rusty Wallace and Dale Earnhardt and it fueled the sport to new heights it had never seen. Kyle Busch is a natural with anyone and we’ve seen him tangle with Carl Edwards and Dale Earnhardt Jr before but it didn’t last despite Busch trash talking.

Brad Keselowski has thrust himself into the fire quickly and isn’t making many friends. His battle with Denny Hamlin last year in the Nationwide series has spilled over into the Cup series and last week he and Edwards got into it pretty good. Keselowski bumped Edwards out of the race early in Atlanta. After Edwards got his car back on the track, he returned the favor sending Keselowski, who was running fifth, into the wall and eventually turning him upside down.

The pair have rattled each other before in the Cup series with Keselowski being the one that sent Edwards flipping at Talladega on the last lap of Keselowski’s dramatic win last season. Keselowski has a lot to prove before anyone can get excited, meaning he needs to win some more, but he definitely has the moxie to carry some smack.

After many people weighed in around the country on what Edwards penalty should be for purposely wrecking Keselowski’s car, NASCAR came with a bold statement and announced that Edwards would be put on probation for three races.

And that’s it! No suspensions, fines, point docking, or anything else. End of story!

Let the drivers police the action in their own way and do it old school in the manner the sport was born from. If a driver gets out of line, it isn’t going to take much for some for of the enforcers to show them how things are supposed to be done.

In the last decade or so, NASCAR has gone too mainstream and thought some of those actions were too graphic for their sponsors to handle, as if the purposeful action was going to prevent sponsors from signing on when the reality has always been that the fans like that activity and is why the sponsor is there in the first place.

NASCAR announced prior to the 2010 season that one of things they were going to loosen up on was penalties for drivers showing their emotions on their sleeves. Last week was the first real test to the new policies and NASCAR’s response was perfect and consistent with what they hope to get back to.

Had this been 2009, Edwards would have likely been parked for a race, but NASCAR should be applauded for continuing down a direction they started. They also seemed more concerned about the car flipping than anything else. It looked like the air got under that rear wing and took it sailing.

The last thing NASCAR wants is the fans or drivers to get hurt. In this instance, the last thing NASCAR wanted to do was send a wrong message that they weren’t serious about loosening up things. With the penalty being so lenient for Edwards, other drivers may follow right in line since the cat is out of the bag that it’s back to old school 1950’s racing where the dummies have to pay the price.

Knowing this, Keselowski has a lot to think about and it’s likely he won’t be so arrogant enough to knock someone out of the way again. Even if the bump was truly an accident, he’s built himself a little reputation in all NASCAR series as being aggressive and will definitely think twice before trying bullying way into position.

Based on the Edwards decision, this looks like it’s going to be an action packed fun-filled year with lots of battles and rivalries created along the way.

JJ Still Rolling
After 4 races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series we have three drivers that have finished all four races within the top-10 and not surprisingly, all three are in the top-3 in points. Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, and Greg Biffle have held off four-time champ Jimmie Johnson, who is fourth in points, in the early going in his quest to win five straight Cup Championships.

It’s still early, but it is something to be somewhat excited about, especially in today‘s NASCAR, or for that matter any era of NASCAR. For some reason NASCAR fans don’t like seeing greatness like we do in other sports.

We’ve cheered in awe with the great individual performances of Roger Federer and Tiger Woods as well as team sports when we marveled at the UCLA basketball, Boston Celtics, or New York Islanders dynasties. But for whatever the case may be, we can’t just sit back and watch history unfold before out eyes and watch Jimmie Johnson with amazement at what he’s done.

Nothing is new though. Before they were cool, NASCAR fans booed Darrell Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt, and Jeff Gordon because they won too much. While Waltrip and Earnhardt have become cult heroes or sorts, Gordon is finally starting to garner respect at tracks everywhere for all his great accomplishments.

Johnson looks to be the most complete driver thus far with his two wins and will likely win another title, but it’s good to see others being competitive. It’s especially encouraging to see two Fords at the top from Roush Racing after last seasons dive. It’s even more encouraging to see the Childress cars run strong each week after being shut out of the Chase entirely last season.

Johnson Nickname?
NASCAR.com posed a question last week attempting to give Johnson a nickname like many of the greats in the sport. Even some of the not-so-greats have nicknames like “Buckshot” Jones, but Johnson still doesn’t have one.

Snoop Dog called Johnson “Double J in the four-eight” during a Super Bowl party, but even that doesn’t have a ring like “Fireball”, “The Intimidator”, or the “The King”. The guy has won an unprecedented four straight titles, doesn’t he deserve a nickname that is becoming of his personality or traits?

Some say that’s just it, he really doesn’t have a personality. He doesn’t show emotions and is always cool under pressure. He’s like a machine who is oblivious to pressure. Those are the traits that could help get him some kind of moniker, but it has to be cool.

The closest I could think of for Johnson would be to call him “The Executive“ because the guy is all business and he goes about his business like a corporate executive. Everything he exemplifies has the feel of corporate America. His staff is efficient and lean who rarely makes a mistake and his product is maximized through efficiency which results in optimum results to the bottom line.

If you put this man in a suit, not a fire suit, he could fill the bill as top executive today. It’s likely not to catch on and the nickname will surely come in the next few years by something he does on the track, but time is running out and if something doesn’t stick soon he may just go down as being “Double J in the four-eight“.

Kurt Busch Not Off This Weekend
All three NASCAR series are off this week before returning at Bristol, but Kurt Busch isn't taking the week off. He'll be joining the NHRA in Gainesville, Florida for some drag racing. By the looks of his restarts last week in Atlanta, he ought to do pretty well. Busch will take his 1970 Dodge Challenger to the track against over 70 others in the Super Gas compeition where quarter mile times are in the 9.9-second range.

Busch spent 30 hours in Roy Hills drag racing school to get liscensed for the event. No odds will be offered on the race in Las Vegas, but there are always takers in the stands willing to bet match-ups.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Kurt Busch Wins Atlanta For Second Straight Year, 3rd of Career

Associated Press

HAMPTON, Ga. -- Kurt Busch has won again at Atlanta Motor Speedway, pulling away on a second restart after a couple of wild wrecks to capture the Kobalt Tools 500.

Busch won the spring race at the 1.54-mile trioval for the second year in a row, beating Matt Kenseth to the line by nearly half a second Sunday. Juan Montoya was third, followed by Kasey Kahne and Paul Menard.

The race went 16 laps past its scheduled 325 because of two big crashes. The first came when Carl Edwards, running 156 laps behind, clipped Brad Keselowski and sent him flying toward the grandstands upside down. Keselowski was OK, but NASCAR ordered Edwards to park his car and summoned him to its trailer for a tongue-lashing.

Kobalt Tools 500 Notes & Quotes

HAMPTON, Ga. — Forty laps into Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 500, three fairly prominent drivers — Carl Edwards, Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski — were in a crash that was particularly costly for Edwards and Logano.

It wasn’t costly for Keselowski, whose Dodge made contact with Edwards’ Ford, which in turn sent the No. 99 skidding up the banking into Logano’s Toyota.

“I thought he (Keselowski) would give me just a little bit of room, and he didn’t, and we ended up overlapping,” said Edwards, who was charitable. “I know Brad has made his career on being super-aggressive.

“We both had a part in it, and it’snot his fault, but it’s just a little too aggressive, overall, I think, for that early in a race, and it caused us to wreck.”

It wasn’t over, though.

While Kurt Busch was attempting to hold off Juan Montoya for the victory, on lap 322, Edwards apparently picked a dangerous moment for a payback. His nudge of Keselowski’s Dodge sent it tumbling in front of the front-straight grandstands.

The irony, of course, is that the roles were reversed at Talladega almost a year ago, when Keselowski claimed his only Sprint Cup victory to date by touching off a crash that sent Edwards’ Ford into a spectacular series of flips. NASCAR officials parked Edwards’ car shortly thereafter.

Keselowski opined, referring to Talladega, “At least I didn’t do it intentionally,” and called it “a wild ride that was uncalled for.”

Edwards didn’t apologize for the crash, per se, but just said he was sorry at how it turned out.

“The scary part was that the car went airborne, which wasn’t what I expected,” he said.

Latest disaster — Struggling driver-owner Robby Gordon has seldom, if ever, “started and parked,” but the depiction is sort of academic where Gordon’s season to date is concerned.

Gordon crashed, apparently as a result of tire breakdown, on the fourth lap of the Kobalt Tools 500.

Gordon completed 207 of the 208 laps in the Daytona (alleged) 500, finishing 28th. He then placed 33rd at Auto Club Speedway, retiring due to “overheating.” Gordon was 32nd in Las Vegas, finishing five laps down.

Fox’s Mike Joy made reference to “Robby’s star-crossed year,” but it’s far beyond a mere run of bad luck. Gordon has one top-20 finish in his last 28 races.

As the laps turn — Other potential contenders faded into oblivion early, as well. For pole winner Dale Earnhardt Jr., it was an unscheduled pit stop For Mark Martin, it was a spin through the trioval grass on lap
115. For Jeff Gordon, it was a pit-road speeding penalty at lap 158.

Whatever it takes — On lap 226, after a search of the front straight that would’ve made Homeland Security proud, a safety crew member actually found a very small chunk of something on the front straight that might have been debris.

The search blunted a Kasey Kahne lead of nearly eight seconds.

Encore: Kurt Busch won the AMS spring race for the second year in a row, giving Dodge its third straight victory at the track.

Inevitable: The “not one, not two, but a possible three green-white-checkered finishes” rule once again produced an untidy mess at the end, though a seven-car crash required only one do-over. Somehow the race inexplicably drifted 16 laps, 24.64 miles, past its scheduled distance.

In hot pursuit: Crossing the finish line in order behind Kurt Busch were Matt Kenseth in a Ford, Juan Pablo Montoya in a Chevrolet, and Kasey Kahne, Paul Menard and A.J. Allmendinger, all in Fords. Brian Vickers was seventh in a Toyota.

Disappointments: Jimmie Johnson 12th? Really. Mark Martin was 33rd, Joey Logano 35th, Carl Edwards 39th and David Reutimann 40th. And the pole winner? Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 15th.

Notable numbers
21 — Kurt Busch’s career victory total.

5 — Drivers (Busch, Bobby Labonte, Benny Parsons, Jack Smith and Jeff Burton) with 21 career victories.

9 — Consecutive seasons in which Kurt Busch has won at least one race.

3 — Consecutive Dodge victories at this track.

.332 — Kurt Busch’s career Sprint Cup races.

.063 — Busch’s career winning percentage.

Quotable quotes

“Even with all the restarts at the end, I still think we had the car to beat, regardless.” — Kurt Busch

“The restarts were crazy … just a mess.” — Kasey Kahne

“I would’ve bet anything there’d be a wreck on the first one because you had so many people on different tires.” — Juan Pablo Montoya

“Even at a big track like this where you can pass, track position is still big. We knew we probably weren’t going to hold off (drivers who had changed) four tires, but there was some excitement there at the end and we were in front of it.” — Paul Menard

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Surprise, Hendrick Cars Are Fast In Practice: Bigger Surprise, Earnhardt Jr Is One of Them

by Micah Roberts
Las Vegas Review-Journal

There’s nothing worse most Americans hate then when the rich get richer, but this week in Atlanta some may take exception in regards to the NASCAR Nation and a certain Hendrick Motorsports car. Dale Earnhardt Jr looks like a major player in this week’s Kobalt Tools 500 based on what he has done in two days of practice and qualifying. He actually looks like he’s running a real bona fide Hendrick Motorsports car this week.

You wouldn’t get many to argue that half of the NASCAR faithful out there are Dale Earnhardt fans. However, for the last 60 races, Junior hasn’t given them much to cheer about going winless while the rest of his team, in particular Jimmie Johnson, seems to win every week.

It’s a tough load for a proud driver such as Earnhardt Jr to carry each week to the track. How can he be with the best team in the world and remain several levels below what everyone else is doing going into his third year there?

The team has done just about everything possible to get Earnhardt Jr to level of his teammates by changing his crew chiefs, building completely new chassis’ formatted like Mark Martin’s whom he shares a garage with, but still no solid results on the tracks his teammates do well at such as all the down-force tracks like California and Las Vegas.

He started the season with a strong second-place finish at Daytona to kick off the year, but over the last two weeks he’s been very mediocre while his teammates have had the strongest cars.

Daytona can’t be used as a measure for any improvement because it’s a restrictor-plate race. The real barometer for success and what’s to become of the 2010 season is what happens on tracks like this week in Atlanta or last week in Las Vegas.

However, things are looking brighter for Earnhardt Jr. After Friday and Saturday’s practice and qualifying sessions, Junior has never looked better while with the Hendrick organization. He’s sitting on the pole for the first time in 68 races and his practice speeds have been up there with his teammates in both single lap and average times which is a good indicator he will be a force to reckon with in Sunday’s race.

Read More Here for Atlanta Practice Info and Ratings....

Roberts Top 10 Driver Ratings: Atlanta Kobalt Tools 500

by Micah Roberts
Las Vegas Review-Journal

Atlanta Motor Speedway
Sunday, March 7, 2010 - 10:15 am (PT)

Rating Driver Odds          Practice 1       Qualifying       Practice 2     Practice 3

1. Mark Martin 6/1            1st                 4th               2nd              1st
    Blistering fast in all sessions; Same Chassis sat on pole and finished 2nd at Indy in ‘09
2. Jimmie Johnson 9/2        7th                16th              1st              16th
    All-time leader in 1.5-mile wins; Same chassis won pole & race at Charlotte last fall
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr 18/1  10th                1st               7th              2nd
    New Chassis this week; 1st pole in 68 races, Actually looks like a Hendrick car this week
4. Kasey Kahne 20/1          3rd                6th               5th              11th
    2 time ATL winner, Won fall race in ’09; strong throughout practice with average speeds
5. Jeff Gordon 8/1             35th               5th               6th               25th
    ATL best 9.2 AVG finish last 10 years; 4 career wins, best AVG finish on 1.5 mile tracks in ’09
6. Jeff Burton 18/1            24th              22nd             20th              6th
    Using same Chassis that finish 3rd at Cal 2 weeks ago with similar practice progression
7. Kurt Busch 15/1            18th               11th              4th               10th
    2 time ATL winner, won this race in ’09; New Chassis this week, steady practice times
8. Kyle Busch 8/1              2nd                2nd               8th               23rd
    Won this race in ’08, Great Friday in Q-trim, slowed Sat in race trim; No top-10’s this year
9. Clint Bowyer 20/1         27th              18th               18th               9th
    New Chassis this week; 2nd in points, finished 6th in last 3 spring ATL races
10.Paul Menard 500/1      19th              23rd              11th               4th
     Looked great in final practices, similar to teammate Kahne. He has never look as good!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Earnhardt Jr Captures Atlanta Pole: First in 68 Races, 9th of Career

by Jayski.com

#88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Coors Pole for the Kobalt Tool's 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway with a speed of 192.761mph for his 1st pole of 2010, his first since Texas in April 2008 [68 races ago] and 9th of his career, Earnhardt has never won a race from the pole.

The qualifying speed is the fastest ever for a Car of Tomorrow (COT), the previous fastest for the COT was last October at Charlotte, 192.376mph. The speed also was fastest qualifying speed since Carl Edwards ran 193.105mph at Texas in Nov 2007.

#18-Busch will start 2nd followed by #42-Montoya, #5-Martin, #24-Gordon, #9-Kahne, #39-Newman, #19-Sadler, #00-Reutimann and #99-Edwards. The points leader #29-Harvick will start 35th and the winner of the last two races, #48-Johnson, will start 16th.

The go-or-go homers who made the race (8): #71-Labonte, #66-Blaney, #36-Bliss, #13-Papis, #82-Speed, #87-Nemechek, #21-Elliott and #55-McDowell.

The go-or-go homers who failed to qualify for the race (3): #09-Almirola, #90-Mears and #46-Cook.

Click Here for Full Lineup....

Friday practice for the Kobalt Tool's 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway is over. After 90 minutes of practice, some results and notes:

#5-Martin 189.409
#18-Busch 189.260
#9-Kahne 189.202
#39-Newman 189.086
#42-Montoya 188.693

slowest: #90-Mears 179.907 and #26-Said 180.410
notes: #90-Mears lost an engine, team will put a new Pro Motors engine in the car
For fastest speed, average speed, laps run, see Jayski's Atlanta Practice Speeds Page.(3-5-2010)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Atlanta Driver's Chassis Selections: Kobalt Tools 500

By Jeff Wackerlin

1. Kevin Harvick: Won the 2001 race in first track start; Finished fourth and second, respectively, in 2009; Second-best finishing average (6.5) in four starts with the COT; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 288) that finished second at Auto Club two weeks ago.

2. Clint Bowyer: Has finished sixth in last three spring races; 15.6 average finish in eight starts; Will debut chassis No. 298 in the Kobalt Tools 500.

3. Mark Martin: Won the pole in first track start with Hendrick Motorsports last March; Finished 31st in that event after sustaining a flat right-rear tire; Finished fifth last fall for 14th top 10 in 48 starts; Two wins came with Roush Racing in 1991 and 1994; Will pilot the same car (chassis No. 500) that won the pole and finished second at Indianapolis last summer; Tested during a Goodyear tire test in January.

4. Matt Kenseth: Finished 12th in both races in 2009; Previous five starts resulted in finishes of eighth or better; Sixth-best driver rating over the past 10 races.

5. Jimmie Johnson: Three-time winner; Last win came in the 2007 fall race after leading eight laps; Has led 402 laps and recorded a 10.7 average finish in 17 starts; Best driver rating over the past 10 races; Will pilot the same car (chassis No. 558) that won from the pole at Charlotte last fall.

6. Greg Biffle: Coming off eighth top 10 in 14 starts with an eighth-place finish last fall; Best finish (third) came in the 2005 spring race; Finished 34th in this event last year after the team missed the setup; Seventh-best driver rating over the past 10 races; Will be back in the same car (chassis No. 546) that last raced at Phoenix in 2009.

7. Jeff Burton: Has posted five top 10s in 11 starts with Richard Childress Racing; 19.0 average finish in the four starts with the COT; Will race the same car (chassis No. 291) that recently finished third at Auto Club.

8. Joey Logano: 26.0 average finish in two starts; Will look for first Atlanta top 10 in the same car (chassis No. 262) that finished fifth at Auto Club.

9. David Reutimann: Coming off first top 10 in five starts with a fourth-place finish last fall; Did score the fourth-best average finish (11.8) on 1.5-mile tracks in 2009.

10. Carl Edwards: Scored his third win in the 2008 fall race; Has combined to lead 159 laps in the last four races; Has finished seventh or better in eight of his 11 starts; Second-best driver rating over the past 10 races; Will pilot the same car (chassis No. 639) that finished in the top 10 on two 1.5-mile tracks in 2009, Texas and Kansas; Tested during a Goodyear tire test in January.

11. Tony Stewart: Finished eighth and 11th, respectively, in first track starts with Stewart-Haas Racing; Posted two wins and 11 top 10s in previous 20 starts with Joe Gibbs Racing; 9.5 average finish in four starts with the COT; Fifth-best driver rating over the past 10 races; Will be driving the same car (chassis No. 511) that last finished fifth at Auto Club in the fall.

12. Kyle Busch: Winner of the 2008 spring race after leading 173 laps; Posted first finishes outside the top 10s with Joe Gibbs Racing last season in 18th and 13th; Never scored a top 10 in first seven starts with Hendrick Motorsports; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 257) that led 232 laps at Texas last fall before running out of fuel.

13. Jeff Gordon: Four-time winner with last win coming in 2003; Has finished ninth or better in last five races; Finished second in this event last year; Third-best driver rating over the past 10 races; Posted the best average finish on 1.5-mile tracks in 2009; Will debut a new chassis (No. 581) in the Kobalt Tools 500.

14. Jamie McMurray: 20.3 average finish in 15 starts; Best finish (sixth) came in the 2005 fall race with Ganassi Racing; Will make first track start in a Chevrolet; Will debut a new chassis No. 905 in the Kobalt Tools 500.

15. Dale Earnhardt Jr: 10.5 average finish in four starts with Hendrick Motorsports; Posted one win and nine top 10s in previous 17 starts with Dale Earnhardt, Inc.; Fourth-best driver rating over the past 10 races; Will debut a new chassis (No. 584) in the Kobalt Tools 500.

16. Scott Speed: 31.0 average finish in three starts; Has yet to post a top-10 finish on a 1.5-mile track.

17. Paul Menard: 22.6 average finish in seven starts; Lone top 10 (seventh) came with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. in this event in 2006; Has finished in the top 20 in his first three starts of 2010; Will pilot a car (chassis No. 594) that has been completely rebuilt after racing many times in 2009.

18. Brian Vickers: Coming off consecutive top 10s; Seventh-best average finish (10.5) in the four starts with the COT; Fifth-place finish in this event is his best in 13 starts; Two of his six top 10s came with Hendrick Motorsports.

19. Kurt Busch: Won this event last year after leading 234 laps; Victory was third top 10 in eight starts with Penske Racing; Previous win and three top 10s came with Roush Racing; Eighth-best driver rating over the past 10 races; Will debut chassis No. 715 in the Kobalt Tools 500.

20. David Ragan: Returns to hometown track where he's made six Cup starts; Best finish, and only top 10, was eighth in the fall of 2008; Has an average finish of 24.8; Piloting chassis RK-615, which was last raced in Texas to a 17th-place finish.

21. Martin Truex Jr: Has two top-10 finishes in 10 starts; Best finish of eighth came in spring of 2007; Led a race high 135 laps in the fall 2007 race before crashing; Led 68 laps from the pole in last fall's race; Making track debut with MWR; Tested with the team during a Goodyear tire test in January.

22. Denny Hamlin: In nine starts, finished a best third in the fall of 2008; Has three top 10s, all in the fall; Has led four times for a total of 98 laps; Ninth best pre-race driver rating of 93.2; Has a 9.2 average finish in the four races with the COT; Unloading chassis JGR 253; Has one previous start with car - 10th-place finish at Michigan in 2009.

23. Kasey Kahne: Two victories driving a Dodge, including one with Richard Petty Motorsports last fall; In 12 starts, has five top fives, seven top 10s and an average finish of 17.0; Making track debut in a Ford; Has finished in the top 10 in both starts with RPM.

24. Elliott Sadler: Three top 10s in 22 starts all came while driving a Ford for Yates Racing; Best finish of sixth came in this race in 2003; Finished 20th and 21st in two starts with RPM last year; Piloting brand-new chassis No. 280.

25. Regan Smith: 34.0 average finish in two starts at Atlanta with DEI in 2008.

26. Juan Pablo Montoya: Posted his best finish in six Cup starts in last fall's Chase race; Led 31 laps en route to the third-place finish; Last year's result was his second top five, with the first coming in his track debut in 2007; Average finish is 20.8; Will drive chassis No. 819 which saw six starts in 2009; Car brought three top-five finishes including in fall Atlanta race.

27. AJ Allmendinger: 16.8 average finish in four starts; Hasn't finished in the top 10 but has finished 20th or better in each start; Bringing chassis No. 265; Last driven by the No. 44 team to a 34th-place finish at Martinsville last October; Making track debut in a Ford.

28. Sam Hornish Jr: Best finish is 24th in four starts; Tested during a Goodyear tire test in January.

29. Travis Kvapil: 32.3 average finish in seven starts; Finished a best 23rd in the fall of 2008.

30. Brad Keselowski: Making Cup debut at track; Has three Nationwide starts with one top five and two top 10s; Bringing a new chassis (PRS-710) to Kobalt Tools 500 weekend.