Monday, July 31, 2017

Kyle Busch wins his first race of 2017, also his first at Pocono

Kyle Busch closed at 3/1 odds in Las Vegas.
Pocono Results

Monday, July 24, 2017

Odds to win 2017 Overton's 400 at Pocono Raceway

Ryan Blaney won the June 11 Pocono race.
SUNDAY, JULY 30, 2017 - 3:20 PM ET

Kyle BUSCH 7/2
Martin TRUEX JR 4/1
Kevin HARVICK 7/1
Kyle LARSON 7/1
Jimmie JOHNSON 10/1
Chase ELLIOTT 10/1
Denny HAMLIN 10/1
Matt KENSETH 12/1
Joey LOGANO 20/1
Ryan BLANEY 20/1
Erik JONES 30/1
Kurt BUSCH 30/1
Clint BOWYER 40/1
Jamie McMURRAY 40/1
Ryan NEWMAN 60/1
Daniel SUAREZ 80/1
Kasey KAHNE 80/1
Austin DILLON 100/1
Ricky STENHOUSE JR 100/1
Ty DILLON 300/1
Paul MENARD 300/1
Trevor BAYNE 300/1
Aric ALMIROLA 500/1
Chris BUESCHER 500/1
Danica PATRICK 500/1
Michael McDOWELL 1000/1
FIELD (all others) 1000/1

Kasey Kahne grabs first win since 2014 at Brickyard

Kasey Kahne had 100/1 odds to win at Brickyard.
SPEEDWAY, Ind. — In semi-darkness, as the sun set behind the frontstretch grandstand at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Kasey Kahne did all he could to dispel the shadow overhanging his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season and his racing career.

With a phenomenal restart in the second overtime of Sunday’s Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400, Kahne cleared race leader Brad Keselowski through the first two corners and crossed the overtime line on the backstretch before NASCAR called the record 14th caution of the race.

That ended the event with Kahne in the lead, and when he took the checkered flag under yellow a lap and a half later, the driver of the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet had his first victory since an eleventh-hour win at Atlanta in August of 2014 that propelled him into NASCAR’s postseason.

Kahne was breathless with exhaustion in Victory Lane, the result of withering heat inside the cars in a prolonged race that featured three red flags, one for rain and lightning and two for incidents. But the implications of the triumph weren’t lost on him.

"The career is big, for sure—but the win and the history here," Kahne said. "To win at this track is unreal. We used to always be really close. We lost to Jeff (Gordon) and we lost to Tony (Stewart); just some fast cars back then.

"Today, strategy got us here. This Farmers Insurance Chevrolet was great once I got out front. I just had to get there. I’m exhausted. But, an unbelievable win. The team just kept working. We had great pit stops."

The pit stop that mattered most occurred on Lap 150, when Kahne came to pit road moments before a vicious wreck on the frontstretch eliminated the cars of Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch and Erik Jones, all of whom had been running in or near the top 10 throughout the afternoon.

Kahne had fresh rubber and stayed on the track when the cars ahead of him came to pit road for tires on Lap 151. Suddenly at the front of the field, Kahne battled Keselowski on three successive restarts before the decisive second overtime.

Kahne status in the No. 5 car has been grist for the rumor mill this season. Asked Sunday morning about plans for the ride next year, team owner Rick Hendrick would say only "That’s another day," during a press conference heralding Alex Bowman as the successor to Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.

Asked post-race what the victory does for Kahne’s future, Hendrick replied, "It puts him in the (playoff)."

But the uncertainty that surrounds Kahne’s status in the No. 5 did nothing to diminish his accomplishment at the vaunted Brickyard.

Keselowski had taken the lead during the first overtime restart, but a huge wreck on the frontstretch—triggered when Trevor Bayne turned sideways after a push from Michael McDowell as the cars approached the start/finish line—aborted the attempt.

For the second overtime, Keselowski chose the outside lane, leaving Kahne on the bottom in a racing groove covered with Speedy Dry fluid absorption material. But Kahne pulled off a magnificent restart and powered into Turn 1 at full steam.

"Well, the one before just didn’t work," said Kahne, who picked the outside lane and lost the lead on the short-lived restart for the first overtime. "Everything went wrong. On the final one, everything went right. And once I got to Turn 1, I had good power and was able to clear him off (Turn) 1. I’m exhausted. And, it’s pretty crazy."

Keselowski, who was trying to give team owner Roger Penske a first Brickyard 400 victory, gave credit where credit was due.

"Kasey did a heck of a job today and drove a hell of a race," Keselowski said. "I’m happy for him. I thought we were in the right spot. You had seen the same thing all day when you’d get somebody on the outside, and in the corner you got real loose.

"He drove in there and it just stuck. I don’t know. I may have had the wrong lane there or made the wrong call. I’m not sure. The car was on edge and then some."

By the time Kahne took the checkered flag, the two fastest cars in the race had long since been eliminated—in the same wreck. Polesitter Kyle Busch, who led a race-high 87 laps, was racing side-by-side with Martin Truex Jr. after a restart on Lap 111 when Truex’s No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota got loose underneath Busch’s No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, causing a collision that crippled both cars.

Ultimately, it was Kahne who seized the opportunity their exit presented.

Notes: The victory was the first for Kahne’s crew chief, Keith Rodden… Kahne visited the infield care center for treatment after Victory Lane ceremonies in which Kahne looked drained. … Jimmie Johnson, with his eye on a record-tying fifth Brickyard victory, spun in Turn 3 while battling Kahne and Keselowski for the lead on Lap 159, causing the caution that set up the overtimes that eventually took the race seven laps past its scheduled distance.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race - Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Speedway, Indiana

Sunday, July 23, 2017

               1. (19) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 167.
               2. (11) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 167.
               3. (8) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 167.
               4. (7) Joey Logano, Ford, 167.
               5. (14) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 167.
               6. (2) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 167.
               7. (15) Daniel Suarez #, Toyota, 167.
               8. (27) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 167.
               9. (26) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 167.
               10. (39) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 167.
               11. (23) Danica Patrick, Ford, 167.
               12. (34) Cole Whitt, Chevrolet, 167.
               13. (29) Aric Almirola, Ford, 167.
               14. (37) * Timmy Hill(i), Chevrolet, 167.
               15. (3) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 167.
               16. (17) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 167.
               17. (5) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 166.
               18. (24) Michael McDowell, Chevrolet, 166.
               19. (28) Ty Dillon #, Chevrolet, 165.
               20. (22) Trevor Bayne, Ford, Accident, 162.
               21. (20) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, Accident, 162.
               22. (31) Landon Cassill, Ford, Parked, 162.
               23. (10) Ryan Blaney, Ford, Accident, 162.
               24. (35) * Gray Gaulding #, Chevrolet, Accident, 162.
               25. (38) Joey Gase(i), Chevrolet, Accident, 162.
               26. (36) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chevrolet, 162.
               27. (4) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, Accident, 158.
               28. (25) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, Accident, 154.
               29. (12) Kurt Busch, Ford, Accident, 149.
               30. (18) Clint Bowyer, Ford, Accident, 148.
               31. (9) Erik Jones #, Toyota, Accident, 148.
               32. (40) * BJ McLeod(i), Chevrolet, 135.
               33. (6) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, Accident, 110.
               34. (1) Kyle Busch, Toyota, Accident, 110.
               35. (21) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, Accident, 106.
               36. (13) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, Accident, 76.
               37. (33) * JJ Yeley(i), Chevrolet, Accident, 70.
               38. (30) David Ragan, Ford, Accident, 56.
               39. (16) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, Engine, 43.
               40. (32) Corey LaJoie #, Toyota, Accident, 9.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  114.384 mph.
Time of Race:  03 Hrs, 39 Mins, 00 Secs. Margin of Victory:  Caution.
Caution Flags:  14 for 55 laps.
Lead Changes:  10 among 7 drivers.
Lap Leaders:   Kyle Busch 1-71; E. Jones # 72-80; R. Blaney 81-86; Kyle Busch 87-102; M. Truex Jr. 103-110; M. Kenseth 111-131; E. Jones # 132; B. Keselowski 133-151; K. Kahne 152-161; B. Keselowski 162-165; K. Kahne 166-167.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Kyle Busch 2 times for 87 laps; B. Keselowski 2 times for 23 laps; M. Kenseth 1 time for 21 laps; K. Kahne 2 times for 12 laps; E. Jones # 2 times for 10 laps; M. Truex Jr. 1 time for 8 laps; R. Blaney 1 time for 6 laps.
Stage #1 Top Ten: 18,78,21,4,22,20,1,42,48,88
Stage #2 Top Ten: 18,78,21,77,4,20,22,11,2,1

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Final Indianapolis Driver Ratings: 2017 Brickyard 400

Kyle Busch is worthy of Brickyard favorite status.
Micah Roberts' Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Driver Ratings
Brickyard 400
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Sunday, July 23, 2017 - 2:50 pm ET

RATED DRIVER     ODDS              PRAC 1     PRAC 2        START      POCONO*  
 1. Kyle Busch 3/1                  6th         13th                         9th
 2. Jimmie Johnson 8/1         13th           4th                       36th
 3. Kevin Harvick 8/1              9th          2nd                        2nd
 4. Martin Truex Jr 3.1            2nd         10th                        6th
 5. Denny Hamlin 12/1            1st         17th                       12th
 6. Matt Kenseth 12/1             3rd         20th                       10th
 7. Kyle Larson 5/1                 5th         15th                        7th
 8. Erik Jones 40/1                14th          1st                        3rd
 9. Kasey Kahne 100/1            4th          7th                       35th
10. Ryan Blaney 40/1              8th          3rd                        1st
11. Brad Keselowski 15/1       10th        19th                        5th
12. Jamie McMurray 40/1       15th          5th                       37th
13. Joey Logano 25/1             16th        11th                       23rd
14. Kurt Busch 60/1               12th          7th                        4th
15. Chase Elliott 12/1             17th        16th                        8th

* Results from the June 11, 2017 race at Pocono Raceway's 2.5-mile layout, the only track that resembles Indy somewhat.

Opening odds courtesy of Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.

Micah Roberts, a former Las Vegas sports book director, has been setting auto racing odds in Las Vegas since 1994.

Brickyard 400 Starting Lineup - Kyle Busch on pole

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Indianapolis NASCAR Cup Series Notes: 2017 Brickyard 400

Kyle Busch is the co-favorite to win third straight Brickyard 400.
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Next Race: Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400
The Place: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
The Date: Sunday, July 23
The Time: 2:30 p.m. ET
TV: NBC, 2 p.m. ET
Radio: IMS Radio Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 400 miles (160 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 50),
Stage 2 (Ends on lap 100), Final Stage (Ends on lap 160)

Next Race: Lilly Diabetes 250
The Place: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
The Date: Saturday, July 22
The Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
TV: NBCSN, 3 p.m. ET
Radio: IMS Radio Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 250 miles (100 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 30),
Stage 2 (Ends on lap 60), Final Stage (Ends on lap 100)

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series 
Next Race: Eldora Dirt Derby
The Place: Eldora Speedway
The Date: Wednesday, July 19
The Time: 9:30 p.m. ET
TV: FOX Business, 9 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 75 miles (150 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 40),
Stage 2 (Ends on lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on lap 150)

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Denny Delivers: Hamlin Sends Joe Gibbs Racing To Victory Lane For First Time This Season
Denny Hamlin led 54 laps in his backup car, beating second-place Kyle Larson to the start/finish line by .509 seconds to deliver Joe Gibbs Racing its first visit to Victory Lane this season in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

The win was the 30th of Hamlin’s career and his third at New Hampshire. He had not won a race in 28 starts since taking the checkered flag in last year’s season finale at Richmond International Raceway. The No. 11 Toyota driver becomes the 25th driver to win 30 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races. Of note: All non-active drivers with more than 30 Monster Energy Series wins who have been eligible for enshrinement are in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

JGR’s struggle to get a win was perplexing considering the organization racked up a series-best 12 victories in 2016, and Martin Truex Jr. from JGR technical partner Furniture Row Racing has tallied three checkered flags and 14 stage wins this season.

Hamlin will attempt to continue the momentum for JGR in Sunday’s Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2:30 p.m. ET on NBC, IMS and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). In 11 starts at Indy, Hamlin has four top fives, six top 10s and a 13.4 average finish. He placed fourth at The Brickyard last year and claims three consecutive top-five finishes there.

Triple Threat: Kyle Busch Tries For Third Straight Brickyard Win
Kyle Busch will try to capture the second straight win for Joe Gibbs Racing when he goes for his third consecutive victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Sunday.

In addition to winning the last two races at the Brickyard, Busch has placed in the top-two there in four of the last five races. In 12 career Indy starts, Busch has two wins, five top fives, 10 top 10s and a 9.0 average finish (second-best).

Among active drivers at Indianapolis, Busch has the second-best average running position (10.8) and driver rating (105.5).

Busch has won at least one race every season since he began running in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series full-time in 2005.

Hometown Hoosier: South Bend’s Ryan Newman Hopes For Another Indy Win
South Bend, Indiana’s own Ryan Newman returns to his home track for Sunday’s Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400. In 16 starts at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Newman has one win, two top fives and three top 10s.

The No. 31 Richard Childress Racing driver virtually secured a spot in the Monster Energy Series playoffs by winning at Phoenix earlier this season.

Larson Dazzles With Ability To Mow Through The Field
Starting from the back the last two races hasn’t been a problem for Kyle Larson. At Kentucky, he began the race 40th and finished runner-up. A week later, Larson placed runner-up again after starting 39th. In the two races, he completed a combined 177 green flag passes (90, Kentucky; 87, New Hampshire).

The No. 42 Chevrolet driver is enjoying a breakout fourth full-time season. Through 20 races, he boasts two wins, seven runner-ups, nine top fives and 12 top 10s. Larson sits second in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points standings, 38 markers behind leader Martin Truex Jr. He also ranks second in average running position (8.8), driver rating (106.2).

Larson has finished in the top 10 in all three of his starts at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, including a career track-best fifth-place showing last season.

Johnson Hopes To Pick Up Another Indy Win
Not many drivers in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series are better than Jimmie Johnson, period. Not many drivers are better than Johnson at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, either.

The No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet pilot leads active competitors at the 2.5-mile track with four wins. He also has six top fives, seven top 10s and a 14.6 average finish in 15 career starts at The Brickyard.

Johnson’s performance has trailed off lately with only two top-10 finishes (both 10th) since winning at Dover six races ago, but he still is tied for the series lead with three wins and ranks second with 16 playoff points.

He is one win away from tying Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip for fourth on the all-time list with 84 victories.

7 Races Left Until Playoffs
Seven races remain for drivers to earn berths in NASCAR’s playoffs.

The following drivers would get in if the season ended today: Martin Truex Jr. (three wins, 28 playoff points), Jimmie Johnson (three, 16), Kyle Larson (two, 13), Brad Keselowski (two, 13), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (two, 10), Kevin Harvick (one, eight), Ryan Blaney (one, eight), Denny Hamlin (one, seven), Kurt Busch (one, five), Ryan Newman (one, five), Austin Dillon (one, five), Kyle Busch (178 points above Joey Logano on the cutoff line, five playoff points), Chase Elliott (+115, two), Jamie McMurray (+100), Clint Bowyer (+54), Matt Kenseth (+42, two).

The first four out would be: Logano (42 below Matt Kenseth on the cutoff line), Erik Jones (-97), Daniel Suarez (-120) and Trevor Bayne (-155).

Remember, a win gets a driver into the playoffs. Below is a list of winless drivers who have visited Victory Lane at upcoming tracks:

Indianapolis: Ky. Busch, McMurray, Paul Menard
Pocono: Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne, Chris Buescher
Watkins Glen: Ky. Busch, AJ Allmendinger
Michigan: Ky. Busch, Earnhardt Jr., Kenseth, Kahne
Bristol: Ky. Busch, Kenseth, Earnhardt Jr., Kahne
Darlington: Ky. Busch, Kenseth
Richmond: Ky. Busch, Kenseth, Bowyer, Earnhardt Jr., Kahne

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.
Indy Set For NASCAR Fan Fest: The annual IMS Hauler Parade returns, featuring a special "NASCAR Fan Fest" that will bring the stars of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series to Speedway’s Main Street for an afternoon of fun and engaging events this Friday. Nine drivers will participate in interactive fan activities including, but not limited to, the Hauler Parade, pit-stop contests and a relay challenge with young fans.

Jeff Gordon To Drive Pace Car For Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400: Four-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon will serve as the honorary pace car driver for Sunday’s Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Gordon is third on the all-time Monster Energy Series wins list with 93 victories.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Ryan Blaney's Pocono win makes him a Brickyard contender

Ryan Blaney is 40/1 to win at Indy.
DEARBORN, Mich., July 17, 2017 – Wood Brothers Racing will roll out its second new paint scheme of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series when the Quick Lane Tire and Auto Centers Ford Fusion takes to the Brickyard this weekend.

The historic No. 21 Ford will carry the blue, white and orange Quick Lane Tire & Auto Centers livery for the first of two races (Talladega being the other) in 2017. In addition to the Quick Lane brand, the paint scheme promotes Quick Lane’s “Trading One Uniform for Another” scholarship program for veterans, now in its second year.

“Having Quick Lane as our primary sponsor and what they are doing for military personnel is extremely special and I’m fortunate to be part of it,” said driver Ryan Blaney.

To help veterans acquire the skills they need to become automotive technicians, Quick Lane Tire & Auto Centers will award $10,000 scholarships to five veterans. The funds are used to pay for tuition, books and fees at any community college, university, trade or vocational school with an accredited program in automotive mechanics in the United States.

Last year, Army veterans Casey Markvicka of Burwell, Neb., Robert Jarden of Nashville, Ill., and Walter J. Decker of King, N.C. were awarded scholarships along with Marine Corp. veteran Jessica Johnson of Kennewick, Wash., and Air Force veteran Marie Sussenbach.

Everyone is invited to nominate veterans for these scholarships by going to and writing a short essay on why their nominee is a deserving recipient. Quick Lane Tire & Auto Centers will select 10 finalists from all qualified nominees.

In November, which is Military Appreciation Month, Quick Lane Tire & Auto Centers will introduce the finalists at and announce the five scholarship recipients at this year’s Quick Lane Bowl at Ford Field in Detroit on Dec. 26.

Blaney and the Wood Brothers Racing Team come to Indianapolis with their new paint scheme ready to rebound from last week’s 19th-place result in New Hampshire and avoid the wreckage that marred last season’s run at the Brickyard.

A year ago, Blaney found himself with nowhere to go when another driver spun into him, sending the Quick Lane Ford into the unforgiving Indianapolis wall.

In 2015, his first Cup start at IMS, Blaney started 30th and finished a respectable 12th.

“It’s been a pretty good track for us,” Blaney said of the famed Indiana oval. “We’ve just always found ourselves in a bad position at the end of the race and I’ve never been able to capitalize. This is our third time doing the Indy race so we’ll probably be more aggressive in positioning ourselves toward the front so at least we have a shot to win.”

Blaney, who appreciates the history of his sport as much as any driver, also enjoys the Brickyard for its past.

“The atmosphere alone around Indy is special,” he said. “Just being at Indianapolis is special; making your first laps, even just walking around the garage area and the infield, knowing the history that’s been there.

“It’s been super cool learning the Indy Car side of things with Team Penske,” he continued. “It’s a special track for the Wood Brothers since they pitted the winning Lotus in the ‘60s and it’s big for Roger Penske, who we’re affiliated with. It would be nice to have a good run there for him, too.”

The action gets underway from Indianapolis on Saturday morning with the first of two practice sessions. Qualifying, scheduled to air on NBCSN, also takes place on Saturday. The Brickyard 400 starts on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. on NBC.

Indianapolis Betting Preview: 2017 Brickyard 400

The prestige of the track makes this a huge race, always.
LAS VEGAS -- It took 19 races this season for Joe Gibbs Racing to finally get a win with Denny Hamlin taking the checkers last week at New Hampshire and it's quite possible they're about to go on a major run in the second-half of the season after finally getting their new Camry design figured out. Next up for them to conquer is the auto racing cathedral at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a place they've won at the past two years behind Kyle Busch.

“I think the biggest thing about the Brickyard is the prestige, the track’s history and quality of racing – all the historic finishes it’s had over the years, whether it has been IndyCar or NASCAR," Busch said earlier this week.

"To me, it’s a special place to go to because of its heritage of being Indianapolis. Every guy in NASCAR and, especially every guy in IndyCar, they want to win there. Getting our Skittles Camry to victory lane there three years in a row would be special for a lot of reasons.”

Three Brickyard 400 wins in a row would be the first time ever at Indy. It hasn't even been done in the Indy 500 which has had five times more starts in its history there than NASCAR. Busch's wins the past two seasons on the famed bricks also gave Toyota its first wins there as well.

What has me liking Busch more this week besides what he's done so well there the past two seasons on the flat-2.5 mile layout is what he did at Pocono Raceway last month.

The reason Pocono is used as a comparison because it's the only track somewhat similar to Indy. Pocono only has three turns and each of them have varied banking, but its long straightaway is similar to the frontstretch and backstretch of Indy. The tight Turn 3 at Pocono is also similar to all four of the turns at Indy so crew chiefs can get a nice feel how the car balance should be based on what they saw last month.

In that Pocono race, Ryan Blaney ended up winning his first career race and he did it by an amazing restart with 10 laps to go. Those would be the only 10 laps he'd lead all day and he'd hold off a tenacious Kevin Harvick for the win. Kyle Busch would lead 100 of the 160 laps that day and was leading with 10 laps to go, but was a sitting duck with older tires.