Saturday, June 2, 2012

Final 2012 Dover FedEx 400 Driver Ratings Following All Practices

Micah Roberts’ Top 10 Driver Ratings
FedEx 400
Dover International Speedway
Sunday, June 3, 2012 -  10:16 am (PDT)

Rating    Driver     Odds        Practice 1   Practice 2   Qualified    Bristol ‘12*

 1. Jimmie Johnson 5/1             14th               4th             2nd             9th 
Six-time winner, the last coming 2010; excellent Friday practices using new chassis.
 2. Greg Biffle 8/1                        5th              19th            7th            13th 
Two-time winner, the last coming in 2008; using chassis that last ran at Martinsville.
 3. Kyle Busch 6/1                       4th               26th            8th           18th 
Two-time winner, the last coming in 2010; at his best on concrete; sixth or better in last four starts.
 4. Martin Truex Jr 25/1              3rd               12th           18th            3rd 
2007 winner, his only Cup win; hometown of Mayetta, NJ is 129 miles from track; strong practices.
 5. Jeff Gordon 12/1                   28th               2nd           14th           35th  
Four-time winner, none since 2001; had perhaps the best practice, but downgraded due to slump.
 6. Mark Martin 30/1                    1st               29th            1st           DNP
Four-time winner, the last coming in 2004; best 10-consecutive lap average in practice 2.
 7. Matt Kenseth 8/1                   12th              25th            5th             2nd 
Two-time winner, including last season; has finished fifth or better in seven of last eight starts.
 8. Denny Hamlin 12/1                 2nd              31st           10th           20th 
Career best of fourth-place on two occasions, the last coming in 2010; good practices.
 9. Ryan Newman 40/1                6th               18th           3rd            12th 
Three-time winner, the last coming in 2004; using Bristol chassis that’s making its third start.
10. Brad Keselowski 15/1           11th              17th          16th            1st
No top-10’s in four starts, ordinary practices, but did win on concrete surface at Bristol.

* Results from the March 18, 2012 race at Bristol. Although a half-mile smaller than Dover, both concrete tracks use similar set-ups due to the banking despite Bristol running at much slower speeds.

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, or follow on Twitter: MicahRoberts7. 

Dover FedEx 400 Lineup

Betting Notes
Too risky to bet Jeff Gordon this week despite strong practices? (Getty)
I really like what I saw out of Jeff Gordon in Friday practices, but how can you take a driver that hasn’t won on a track in 11 years and is in one of the worst slumps of his career sitting 22nd in points? There’s just too much baggage associated to back Gordon in this race and 12-to-1 odds isn’t enticing me too much.

But yet, I’m drawn in by the magnetic powers of Gordon’s past as if he is the same driver who swept the 1996 events at Dover. Despite all the writing on the wall saying to stay away, I’m trapped and buying into Gordon having a good race this week.

Is it really hard to suggest that a Hendrick team could pull themselves from the depths they have sunk and get a win? It shouldn’t since it happened last week with Kasey Kahne at Charlotte. Granted, Kahne was on a much better run at the time than Gordon is right now. But this is Rick Hendrick and Jeff Gordon practicing well, not Kurt Busch for James Finch.

The safe choice here is Jimmie Johnson but he’ll be 3-to-1 or lower by the time the green flag drops. Where’s the fun in that?

It may sound like a broken record that skips at the worst part of a song, but the Michael Waltrip drivers are going to win very soon and concrete looks like a great surface for the duo to break through. At Bristol in March, the trio of MWR cars finished 3-4-5. Truex Jr. and Martin both have a great history here and their practices suggest they’ll be contending in similar fashion this week. All three drivers should be found in the 20-to-1 range with a stronger lean towards Truex Jr and Martin.

When it’s all said it done, it might end up the same way most of the concrete races have gone in all NASCAR series the last five years -- a Kyle Busch win. He was fast in practice and should be able to battle Johnson, Gordon and the Martins all day for the lead.

Match-up of the Week: Greg Biffle -125 vs. Carl Edwards
Biffle was slightly better than Edwards in practice, but Edwards has the better past history despite Biffle holding a 2-1 advantage in career Dover wins. The deciding point here is current form. Edwards hasn’t had a top-5 finish since Fontana in March while Biffle has done so four times over the same span.

I also might be forced to take Kyle Busch +160 over Johnson. The two drivers have split their last four Dover matchups.    

No comments: