Saturday, November 17, 2012

Final Homestead Driver Ratings Following All Practice Sessions

Micah Roberts’ Top 10 Driver Ratings
Ford Ecoboost 400
Homestead-Miami Speedway
Sunday, November 18, 2012 -  12:16 p.m. (PDT)

Rating    Driver     Odds        Practice 1     Qualified    Practice 2    Practice 3

 1. Matt Kenseth 8/1                    6th              11th               1st                3rd 
2007 winner, finished fourth last season; using winning Kansas chassis from Oct. 7.
 2. Kyle Busch 10/1                     7th                8th               4th                1st
One of his worst statistical tracks with a 25.9 average finish, but team is a roll right now.
 3. Clint Bowyer 10/1                   8th                6th               7th                5th  
Career best of fifth in 2008, finished sixth last season; using sixth-place Kansas chassis.
 4. Kasey Kahne 8/1                    9th              12th               9th                7th 
Best 10-consecutive lap average in practice 2; using chassis that finished third at Michigan.
 5. Martin Truex Jr. 10/1              2nd               7th              14th               2nd 
Career best runner-up in 2006, finished third last season; good average speeds in practice.
 6. Greg Biffle 8/1                       12th              13th              2nd                6th 
Won three consecutive races beginning in 2004; using back-up chassis that ran at Pocono.
 7. Brad Keselowski 10/1            21st               3rd              15th               4th 
Has a car good enough to win, but only needs to finish 15th or better to clinch Championship.
 8. Jimmie Johnson 4/1              16th              10th              21st              17th 
Only chance to win title is for bad luck to occur to Keselowski; looked sluggish-slow in practice.
 9. Denny Hamlin 8/1                  17th              41st              6th                19th 
2009 winner with 10.9 average; using back-up car, high marks due to success on 1.5-mile tracks.
10. Jeff Gordon 15/1                   24th              15th              5th               12th 
Never won, but has six top-five finishes; fastest 10-consecutive lap average in final practice.

Note: Homestead is a 1.5-mile track with progressive banking, however the configuration is much different that the other 1.5-mile tracks on the circuit, shaped like a paper-clip rather than the traditional D-Shaped ovals.

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 on the race, go to The Linemakers on or follow on Twitter: MicahRoberts7. 

Betting Notes:
Jimmie Johnson's car looks like junk this week (Getty)
I was a little surprised by the way Jimmie Johnson ran in practice. I thought with the chassis he’s using that has wins at Indy and Dover and a runner-up at Chicago, that he would be pretty fast right off the hauler, but that isn’t the case here. Johnson needs to win to have a chance at beating Brad Keselowski and I just don’t see it happening.

The only thing Johnson can hope for is something bad happening to Keselowski, like happened to him last week in Phoenix. But if we’re looking simply at car vs. car, Keselowski’s is superior this week. Based on what Keselowski has done lately, blown tires, bad pit stops or wrecks don’t seem to be in his future. He’s finished 15th or better in 20 of his past 21 races. If he didn’t have to play the cautious game Sunday, he looks like he has a car good enough to win the race.

It’s going to be a long night of restlessness for Johnson because he knows his car doesn’t have the goods to get it done Sunday. And then when the race starts to unfold and Keselowski is running well -- likely better than Johnson, who knows else will happen. We might even see Johnson lose his cool.

Johnson’s chances at winning get pushed back even further because some of the fast cars that he’ll be chasing on the track. Matt Kenseth looks to be the best based on practice and the fact that he’s using his winning chassis from the Kansas race in October.

Kasey Kahne was very strong in practice, as was Clint Bowyer. The two of them will be battling for third-place in the Chase and each could win the race.

And then you have to take a strong look at Kyle Busch just because of how well their team has performed weekly, especially on the 1.5-mile tracks. Busch has been terrible at Homestead over his career, but I expect a career best finish out of him Sunday.


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