Saturday, October 24, 2015

Final Talladega Practice Notes & Driver Ratings

Anyone can win ina plate race, but who's going to beat this guy?
Micah Roberts' Top-10 Rated NASCAR Drivers 500
Talladega Superspeedway
Sunday, October 25, 2015 - 11:31 am (PT)
Rating     Driver       Odds                     Practice 1             Practice 2          Qualified      'Dega May*  
 1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 9/2        23rd                3rd              5th              1st 
Six-time winner; only controls own Chase destiny by winning. He's won past two plate races. He's using same winning chassis from May race.
 2. Brad Keselowski 15/1        19th                 1st               11th           22nd
Three-time winner, including this race to advance in 2014; clinches by finishing second or better.
 3. Jimmie Johnson 7/1           36th                9th                3rd             2nd 
Two-time winner; finished second in past two plate races. Out of Chase, but will be very fast.
 4. Kevin Harvick 12/1              18th                6th                 7th            8th 
2010 winner, ninth or better past three starts; clinches by finishing 4th and leading a lap.
 5. Jeff Gordon 12/1                  17th              10th                 1st            31st
All-time leader with 12 plate wins, including six at Talladega; clinches by finishing second.
 6. Denny Hamlin 12/1             15th              DNP                 8th            9th
2014 winner; can play it cool and watch what everyone else is doing -- clinches with 14th-place.
 7. Matt Kenseth 10/1              13th              DNP                 4th            25th 
2012 winner and in most desperate situation of all Chase drivers -- needs a win to advance.
 8. Kasey Kahne 12/1                  5th                5th                 2nd           34th 
Two-time runner-up; never won a plate race before but he's got a real fast Hendrick Chevrolet.
 9. Kurt Busch 15/1                    24th                7th               12th           14th
Might be the best plate racer to never win with one on; clinches with an eighth-place finish.
10. Paul Menard 35/1              10th               13th                 3rd            13th  
Evolved into quite the 'Dega racer lately with finishes of fourth, sixth and third in past four.

This is the final race of the Contender Round in Chase. Eight drivers will advance to the Eliminator Round and four will be eliminated.

* Results from the May 3 Geico 500 at Talladega.

Note: Practice times on restrictor-plate tracks mean less to a rating than all other types. Only 30 drivers participated in the final session for fear of damaging their cars when nothing can really be gained that they don't already know.

Odds courtesy of the Westgate Las Vegas Super Book.

Micah Roberts, a former Las Vegas sports book director, has been setting NASCAR odds since 1994. Follow him on twitter @MicahRoberts7

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