Saturday, August 18, 2012

Final 2012 Pure Michigan 400 Driver Ratings Following All Practice Sessions

Micah Roberts’ Top 10 Driver Ratings
Pure Michigan 400
Michigan International Speedway
Sunday, August 19, 2012 -  10:16 am (PDT)

Rating    Driver     Odds        Practice 1   Qualified    Practice 2   Practice 3

 1. Greg Biffle 8/1                     15th              13th             1st             1st 
Two-time winner; only driver to top 200 mph during weekend; using third-place Pocono car.
 2. Mark Martin 25/1                  3rd                1st              4th             5th 
Five-time winner, the last in 2009; great average speeds throughout Saturday sessions.
 3. Matt Kenseth 8/1                 21st               4th              7th             4th 
Two-time winner; one of two drivers to average better than top-10 finish; using All-Star car.
 4. Kasey Kahne 10/1                2nd               5th              2nd             6th 
2006 winner; fast in average speeds during practice indicating strength on long runs.
 5. Tony Stewart 10/1               14th              14th            16th            7th 
2000 winner with a 9th-place average in past 20 starts; using runner-up chassis from June race.
 6. Jimmie Johnson 5/1             1st                3rd             27th            2nd 
No wins in 21 starts; engine change, starts from rear, but had fastest average speeds.
 7. Carl Edwards 10/1                6th               2nd              3rd             8th 
Two-time winner with track best 8.4 average finish; using fifth-place Las Vegas chassis.
 8. Martin Truex Jr. 25/1            5th                7th              6th            13th 
Two-time runner-up; one of six drivers to average over 195 mph in final practice session.
 9. Kyle Busch 10/1                  25th              23rd             9th            DNP
2011 winner; fastest 10-consecutive lap average; missed final practice to race in Montreal.
10. Clint Bowyer 30/1               11th              12th            17th           11th 
Finished eighth or better in past three starts; one of six drivers to average 195 mph in practice 3.  

Note: Dale Earnhardt Jr. was a top candidate to win at Michigan, as he did in June, but wrecked his primary car in the late stages of the final practice session. His back-up car finished third at Fontana, but got no laps during any of the three practices and will also start from the rear..

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. 

Betting Notes   
Mark Martin starts from the pole for fourth time this season (Getty)
Greg Biffle might have the fastest car on the track this weekend, but it looks like Mark Martin and Kasey Kahne may be the best overall when taking a closer look at average speeds. Jimmie Johnson was the best in that category, but the combination of never winning at Michigan and starting from the rear due to an engine change diminish his chances in my eyes. However, you won’t find me even thinking about betting against Johnson in matchups here.

Carl Edwards is also a driver that has a great shot at winning this week, something we haven’t said in quite a while. Despite not being fast regularly on the big-fast tracks, he’s still posted at odds of 10-to-1 this week, which doesn’t make him very attractive. He hasn’t won since Las Vegas in 2011, but he still has the best average finish at Michigan. His car owner has also won there 11 times as well.

Two drivers that should fare very well and be great looks in matchups are Clint Bowyer and Martin Truex Jr. The MWR team definitely has something working for them as all three look like candidates to win.

The best value on the board is Mark Martin. The driver no one is talking about that could make a major splash is Tony Stewart. And of course, there’s Matt Kenseth who we kind of take for granted, but seems to always find himself inside the top-5 when every Michigan race is over.

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