Saturday, March 10, 2012

Final 2012 Las Vegas Kobalt Tools 400 Driver Ratings Following All Practices

Micah Roberts’ Top 10 Driver Ratings
Kobalt Tools 400
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Sunday, March 11, 2012 - 12:16 pm (PDT)

Rating    Driver     Odds     Practice 1   Qualified   Practice 2   Practice 3

 1. Kasey Kahne 10/1               8th             1st             2nd             8th
2004 runner-up with 14.9 average finish in 8 starts; had strongest overall practices.
 2. Tony Stewart 8/1                 3rd             7th            10th           13th
Two-time runner-up, one of only three tracks yet to win at; using winning ‘11 Chicago chassis.
 3. Kevin Harvick 10/1              10th           3rd             12th           2nd
2010 runner-up with a 13.2 average finish in 11 starts. Fastest average speeds in final practice.
 4. Matt Kenseth 7/1                 11th          11th            24th           7th
Two-time winner with 11.7 average finish in 12 starts; using ‘11 chassis that won two races.
 5. Jimmie Johnson 8/1             1st             6th             4th            24th
Four-time winner with track best 10.6 average finish; using back-up car after wreck in practice.
 6. Mark Martin 30/1                  9th            13th           21st           3rd
1998 inaugural winner with 13.1 average finish; one of only four drivers to start every Vegas race.
 7. Kyle Busch 8/1                     20th           2nd            5th            19th
Won in 2009 starting from the rear (engine change); using back-up car and again starts from rear.
 8. Dale Earnhardt Jr 30/1         6th             4th            1st             17th
Two-time runner-up with 16.8 average finish in 12 starts; using ‘11 Homestead chassis.
 9. Marcos Ambrose 50/1          4th            15th           16th            4th
Using same chassis that finished fourth at Vegas and fifth at Charlotte; looked good in practice.
10. Greg Biffle 12/1                   5th              9th            7th            15th
Best finish of third in 2008 with a 14.8 average finish; using Texas chassis that ran as No. 6 in ‘11.

Note: Two-time winner Carl Edwards was one of the favorites to win coming into the weekend, but poor practices revealed that he might struggle again like he did last week at Phoenix.
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.

Practice Notes:
I’m a little gun shy with Kasey Kahne after taking a beating in backing him last week in Phoenix. It’s almost the exact same circumstances this week as Kahne comes in with the most impressive practice sessions. He’ll be starting from the pole and should contend for the win, but he’ll have to be careful carrying all that speed around turn four. Several drivers have found themselves in trouble there this weekend.

Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick haven’t been talked about much during the week, but they both have the look of a winner this week. A win at Las Vegas would be a first for each and also a first for Richard Childress Racing.

Dale Earnhardt Jr is an interesting look at 30-to-1 because he was so solid in all of the practices. It’s been quite a while since we saw Junior look so good during a practice on these kind of tracks, but he’s on par with all the other Hendrick drivers that should fare well Sunday.

Match-up of the week:
Matt Kenseth -110 vs. Carl Edwards: Based on what I saw in practice, Edwards looks to be a driver that will be 20th or worse all race. Kenseth should have a top-5 car and could contend for the win.

Final Practice Speeds - 10 Consecutive Lap Averages

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