Saturday, May 28, 2016

Final 2016 Coca-Cola 600 Driver Ratings following all Practices

Martin Truex Jr. is really, really fast this weekend. but can you trust him?
LAS VEGAS -- Martin Truex Jr. was bad-fast in Saturday's final two practice sessions at Charlotte Motor Speedway in preparation for Sunday's Coca-Cola 600. He laid down the fastest lap (186.387 mph) in the final session, but more impressive was his speed on the longs runs where he had the best 10-consecutive lap average in both of Saturday's practices. With this being NASCAR's longest race of the season, the long run angle is a great place to start handicapping.

Truex starts from the pole and should be in position to lead the most laps like he did last year when he finished fifth and led 131 turns. He's also led the most laps in the past two 1.5-mile tracks and he's using Joe Gibbs Racing equipment that has won six of the past seven races on the schedule. He's got one heck of a resume stacked up that makes him the favorite to win. The only issue with Truex is trusting him to close races out.

Micah Roberts' Top-10 Rated NASCAR Drivers
Coca-Cola 600
Charlotte Motor Speedway
Saturday, May 29, 2016 - 3:16 pm (PT)
Rating     Driver       Odds     Practice 1   Qualified    Practice 2   Practice 3
 1. Martin Truex Jr. 8/1              7th                   1st               3rd              1st
Best 10-consecutive lap average in practice 2 and 3; led most laps in past two races on 1.5s.
 2. Jimmie Johnson 6/1              2nd                 7th               2nd             3rd
Seven-time winner and 1,735 laps led. Second-best 10 consecutive lap averare in practice 2.
 3. Kyle Busch 6/1                       10th                16th            32nd           15th
One of two tracks with no Cup wins; 10 top-fives in 24 starts; won past two races on 1.5s.
 4. Kevin Harvick 6.1                   4th                  8th               7th            24th 
Three-time winner in 30 starts with 15.1 average; using his All-Star chassis that led 21 laps.
 5. Kurt Busch 12/1                      1st                 13th               1st              2nd 
2010 winner; last driver to win All-Star race and Coca-Cola back-to-back; has look of winner.
 6. Carl Edwards 8/1                    3rd                   9th               4th            11th
Won this race last season -- first at Charlotte; 10.5 average finish in 22 starts, seven top-fives.
 7. Joey Logano 10/1                    6th                  2nd             12th              4th
Won last fall and also last week's All-Star Race; has series leading 9.5 average in 14 starts.
 8. Chase Elliott 18/1                 12th                12th               6th              18th 
In midst of incredible run with four top-fives in past six races. He's not your typical rookie.
 9. Matt Kenseth 8/1                  26th                27th             26th               8th
2000 Coca-Cola win was first Cup win of career, also won 2011 fall race; 14.2 average finish.
10. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 15/1      27th                25th             18th             21st
No wins in 32 starts on home track, but runner-up at Atlanta and Texas suggest win is near.

Note: This is the fifth of 11 races on 1.5-mile tracks this season. Charlotte runs most similar to Atlanta and Texas.

Odds courtesy of Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.

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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