Samsung 500 News and Notes

Samsung 500 News and Notes

Odds to win the Samsung 500

Samsung 500, Texas Motor Speedway, April 15.

Jimmie Johnson +500 

Tony Stewart +600 

Kasey Kahne +800 

Jeff Gordon +800   

Matt Kenseth +1200 

Dale Earnhardt Jr +1200 

Kevin Harvick +1500 

Jeff Burton +1500 

Carl Edwards +1500 

Kyle Busch +1200 

Mark Martin +1200 

Greg Biffle +2000 

Kurt Busch +3000 

Denny Hamlin +2000 

Clint Bowyer +2500 

Juan Pablo Montoya +4000 

Martin Truex Jr +4000 

Ryan Newman +5000 

Elliott Sadler +5000 

Casey Mears +6000 

Jamie McMurray +4000 

Scott Riggs +6000 

Reed Sorenson +7500 

Bobby Labonte +10000 

David Stremme +5000 

Joe Nemechek +10000 

David Gilliland +10000 

Ricky Rudd +10000 

JJ Yeley +10000 

Dave Blaney +10000 

Robby Gordon +10000 

Jeff Green +10000 

David Ragan +10000 

Field (Any Other Driver) +5000 

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Re: Samsung 500 News and Notes

Tony Stewart is back in the saddle in his return to Texas Motor Speedway. The driver of the No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing enters this weekend's Samsung 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at the 1.5-mile oval back in the top-10 in points with the same car he used to pistol-whip the field last November at Texas when he won after leading eight times for a race-high 278 laps.

In fact, Chassis No. 120 has two other wins to its credit -- Kansas and Atlanta -- as Stewart used it to win three of the last eight races in 2006. It has run three times in 2007 and finished in the top-10 on each occasion, including a stellar second-place result at Atlanta -- Texas' sister track -- where Stewart led five times for 121 laps.

Stewart comes loaded for bear 

I took 6/1 on Stewart  wink

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Re: Samsung 500 News and Notes

Samsung 500 preview
April 9, 2007
By Micah Roberts
VegasInsider.com

With the Masters just finishing and Tiger Woods not winning, there may be an awful lot of similarities when comparing this weeks NASCAR Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway. Golf and NASCAR?

Nothing comparable, however, Jimmie Johnson right now is about as Tiger Woods as anyone in the sports world now, including Tennis’ Roger Federer, considering Roger only has to play one person to win.

Let’s just look what’s he’s done this year and wait on the track specific career dominance. Since leaving Las Vegas’ newly configured track with his third straight Vegas win, he has proceeded to win two of the next three races. Those last two tracks he’s won on may be the most opposite of any two tracks on the circuit with Martinsville being this flat half mile track where it seems like the bumper to bumper traffic never stops. Compare that to the flat out horsepower track of Texas where it’s wide open with several grooves to race on.

Atlanta and Las Vegas?
Now that’s another story. Both are very similar and will run very much the same with most teams using the same set-ups they used for each. You can also throw in Texas and Charlotte as being similar 1.5 mile high banked tracks, all owned not-so-coincidentally by Speedway Motor Sports, who figures they should give the fans the type of fast paced NASCAR racing they want to see.

So how has Johnson done this year on the 1.5 mile high banked tracks?
Can you say perfect! He’s 2 for 2 in the win column on those tracks. Last year in a similar situation (minus Vegas because of the old banking) Kasey Kahne didn’t stop until he took 4 of the 6 high banked track wins. In those six races, Johnson finished second four times, but no worse than 11th. Over the last two seasons of combined efforts at Texas, Charlotte, and Atlanta, Johnson has an average finish of 4.42 which is one of the more amazing figures of consistency in today’s NASCAR.

Can he keep it up and do it again?
Why not? Lets be real about this, those two races he won this year are still very fresh on the minds of the crew where the possibility of misinterpreting writings because of a long delay between similar races isn’t there. Because of everything going Johnson’s way and the likelihood of him winning again, he has been installed as the 4 to 1 favorite. Generally 4 to 1 favorites are reserved for dominators of the road courses or even for the likes of Dale Earnhardt Jr. a few years ago in plate races. The last driver that comes to mind that was as low as 4 to 1 in a 1.5 mile high banked track was Jeff Gordon in the late 90’s. Incidentally, Gordon was also the last driver prior to Johnson to win three of the first six races.

Who can stop Johnson’s thunder?
You would think Kasey Kahne initially because of what he did last season. However, Kahne’s team may have had the biggest drop off from the previous year that I’ve seen in a long time. It happens all the time in drag racing, but it shouldn’t happen this glaringly in NASCAR. Not with the money that Evernham gets from Dodge! Kahne has gone from winning 4 of 6 last year at these tracks to finishing 35th or worse in this season’s first two attempts.

Kenseth may be the Lone Ford Ranger
Carl Edwards has performed well this season from the Ford camp on the 1.5 mile tracks with a 6.5 average finish in the two races, but Kenseth has been a force. Kenseth has had the best combined finish in the first two 1.5 mile tracks this season behind Johnson. Look for Kenseth to be the top Ford performer again. In Texas history, the scoreboard still reads Kenseth 1, Johnson zero.

All the rest of the contenders come from Chevy. Mark Martin is back in the No. 01 Army ride after two disappointing runs by Regan Smith in the COT. Martin was fantastic at Vegas and Atlanta with a 7.5 average finish. Over Martin’s career at Texas he’s had 6 top 10 finishes that include one win. Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon lead the way others who well do well this weekend. Stewart took the fall race at Texas last season while Gordon still has yet to win at Texas.

Texas 0 for 12 with a best of 2nd in 2002
Phoenix 0 for 15 with a best of 3rd in 2002 and 2004
Homestead 0 for 7 with a best finish of 3rd 2004

Gordon has won on 21 (19 active) of the 24 tracks he has raced on including two no longer on the circuit, North Wilkesboro and Rockingham. Based on his 2nd place Vegas run, perhaps Gordon is the driver that could unseat Johnson and it’s possible that Gordon is still steaming after the Martinsville race…..whatever it is that Johnson did to irritate his boss.

One driver to keep an eye and take a shot with at high odds is Juan Pablo Montoya. Las month in Atlanta, Montoya showed everyone he could handle a car and maximize speed by taking the high line to a 5th place finish. It came with lots of accolades from his peers and has to give JP some serious confidence heading into this race.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is bringing the same chassis we have been high on for the last two 1.5 mile tracks, chassis No. 039. Had it not been for a bad late pit sequence in Atlanta the car would have had at least a 3rd instead of a 14th. Another positive is that Junior is excited that Texas repaired the dip that he complained about last year. He went to the highest level too, openly complaining in front of several reporters with SMI President Bruton Smith.

Junior won't know how that area between Turns 1 and 2 feels until he practices Friday. "I told them if they could fix that they'd have a better racetrack," said Earnhardt, on a conference call after testing the Car of Tomorrow in Richmond. "(TMS president Eddie Gossage) was upset I used the media to tell him that, but sometimes you guys got the loudest microphone."

Top 5 Texas Prediction

1) #17 Matt Kenseth (10/1)
2) #20 Tony Stewart (7/1)
3) #48 Jimmie Johnson (4/1)
4) #24 Jeff Gordon (8/1)
5) #8 Dale Earnhardt Jr (12/1)

Something to keep an eye for Texas Qualifying
Six teams are expected to use the new Chevy R07 engine for this week’s race in Texas. The engine has been used once prior by RCR driver Scott Wimmer. He failed to qualify for the race. Expected to use it this week is Casey Mears, Kyle Busch, and all of Gibbs racing including one of the favorites to win, Tony Stewart. Wimmer will also attempt to qualify again.

Jeff Gordon tested the engine during a tire test at Darlington last month, where he ran 500 laps with no problems. The new engine is designed to use more modern parts and be more durable. It also has a different plumbing system. As far as horsepower, it is believed that the potential is for more. However, it is apparently not believed too much because both Johnson and Gordon are running the stuff they know is solid. As for Childress, their letting Wimmer be the lab rat.........Not quit sure about Stewart and Hamlin going out on a limb this early before everyone else. If you're struggling, Big Deal. If you're winning and doing well, it really is a big risk.

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Re: Samsung 500 News and Notes

TMS Notes and Data
April 9, 2007
By Micah Roberts
VegasInsider.com

Texas Motor Speedway Notes

# Nine different drivers have competed in all 12 races at Texas.
# Eight of the nine drivers that have competed in all 12 Texas races are active this season.
# Jeff Burton won the inaugural Cup race at Texas on April 4, 1997.
# Jeremy Mayfield won the first Bud Pole Award at Texas on April 4, 1998. Qualifying for the inaugural race in 1997 was rained out.
# Jeff Burton (1997) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2000) each won their first race at Texas.
# Bobby Labonte and Ryan Newman each have two Bud Poles at Texas, more than any other drivers.
# Twelve different drivers have won races at Texas. There have been no repeat winners.
# Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin have both posted four top-five finishes at Texas, more than any other drivers.
# Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart have both posted seven top-10 finishes at Texas, more than any other drivers.
# Tony Stewart has led 453 laps at Texas, more than any other driver.
# Kasey Kahne has a 5.2 average start in five races at Texas, the best of any driver with more than one there.
# Matt Kenseth's starting position of 31st in 2002 was the lowest starting position of a race winner at Texas.
# Jack Roush has posted five victories at Texas - more than any other car owner. All have been won by a different driver: Jeff Burton (1997), Mark Martin (1998), Matt Kenseth (2002), Greg Biffle (spring 2005) and Carl Edwards (fall 2005).
# Only one race at Texas has been won from the Bud Pole: Kasey Kahne (spring 2006).
# Nine of the 12 races there have been won from a top-10 starting position. The remaining three races were won from 19th or worse in the starting order.
# Denny Hamlin will make his 50th start on Sunday.
# Prior to the November race at Texas in which he started 39th, Greg Biffle had started in the top 10 in four consecutive Texas races.
# Dale Earnhardt Jr. has finished in the top 10 in five of the last six Texas races (and seven of his nine total Texas races).
# Denny Hamlin has finished in the top 10 in all three of his Texas races.
# Kevin Harvick finished in the top five in both Texas races last season.
# Jimmie Johnson has finished in the top five in three of his last four Texas races and in the top 10 in six of his seven total races at Texas.
# Casey Mears finished in the top 10 in four of his last five Texas races.
# Tony Stewart finished in the top five in both Texas races last year and in the top 10 in three consecutive Texas races.

Last Five Winners at Texas
2006 - Tony Stewart
2006 - Kasey Kahne
2005 - Carl Edwards
2005 - Greg Biffle
2004 - Elliott Sadler

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Re: Samsung 500 News and Notes

RacingOne Power Rankings

Driver Ratings

The latest edition of the RacingOne NEXTEL Cup Series Power Rankings as the series heads to Texas Motor Speedway for Sunday's Samsung 500, which features NASCAR's comprehensive statistical ratings system using a detailed formula to calculate each driver's performance.

Editor's Note: Top 10 rankings are generated by a formula combining the following categories: Wins, Finishes, Top-15 Finishes, Average Running Position While on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish. Maximum: 150 points per race. Must have raced in 75 percent of scheduled point-paying races.

1. Jimmie Johnson - Doesn't matter if he's driving the current car, the "Car of Tomorrow" or a go kart, Johnson is the cream of the crop right now.

Texas Finishing Average: 6.3
Texas Wins: 0

2. Tony Stewart - Came through the short track stretch with two disappoionting finishes and now looks to flex his muscles on another 1.5-mile track this weekend.

Texas Finishing Average: 12.6
Texas Wins: 1

3. Jeff Gordon - Many still believe if another car other than the No. 48 were ahead at Martinsville, Gordon would have had his first win of the year.

Texas Finishing Average: 16.8
Texas Wins: 0

4. Jeff Burton - Have to wonder if he'll go as long as he did last year before winning this season.

Texas Finishing Average: 19.2
Texas Wins: 1

5. Matt Kenseth - Should be a factor at Texas and Phoenix.

Texas Finishing Average: 12.1
Texas Wins: 1

6. Kyle Busch - The third Hendrick driver in the top ten has gotten off to a great start this year.

Texas Finishing Average: 20.0
Texas Wins: 0

7. Denny Hamlin - Don't think we'll have to wait until Pocono before we see Hamlin standing in victory lane.

Texas Finishing Average: 7.0
Texas Wins: 0

8. Clint Bowyer - Seems poised to put his name in the NEXTEL Cup win column very soon.

Texas Finishing Average: 12.0
Texas Wins: 0

9. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - Has taken strides the last few races to right the disappointing start of the season.

Texas Finishing Average: 10.2
Texas Wins: 1

10. Kurt Busch - The best Dodge of the field at this point

Texas Finishing Average: 12.6
Texas Wins: 0

Best of the Rest:
11. Carl Edwards - Needs some Busch magic.

12. Kevin Harvick - Two Texas top five's in 2006.

13. Jamie McMurray - Fulfilling Roush's support.

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Re: Samsung 500 News and Notes

Samsung 500 PreQ    
       
With the break off for Easter weekend drivers and teams are ready to get back to racing this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. The driver that has a good chance of making the most of the weekend is Jimmie Johnson who has won three of the first six races of the season already. Johnson runs well on the high-banked superspeedways averaging an 8th place finish over the last 41 races including back-to-back wins at Atlanta and Las Vegas earlier this season. Johnson runs just as well at Texas posting a 5th place finish in the last four races at the track with three top 5s. Johnson, however, has never won at Texas in the Cup series in his career. That streak could come to an end this weekend in the Samsung 500.

The driver that seems to be able to keep pace with Johnson on the high-banked superspeedways ranking just behind him with an 11th place average finish in the same span is Matt Kenseth. Kenseth has jut three wins compared to Johnson’s seven but has 17 top 5 finishes, which is again, second only to Johnson. He loves running at Texas as well averaging a 9th place finish in the last four races at the track. He has done one thing that Johnson has not however by making the trip to victory lane back in this race during the 2002 season. The #17 DeWalt Ford made it to victory lane at California early this season and is looking for a repeat performance – it could very well happen.

It has been a few weeks since race fans have seen Mark Martin at the track. Martin, after leading the point standings through the first four events, skipped the Car of Tomorrow races at Bristol and Martinsville. He will be back in full force at Texas where he is also a former race winner taking the checkered flag during the 1998 season. Martin has been running strong on the high-banked superspeedways averaging a 13th place finish over his last 41 starts including three top 10 finishes this season on the high-banked superspeedway races. For fantasy fans Martin should come at a discount since he has been absent the last few races. Expect him to make up for missed time on the track and contend for a top 10.

It has been well documented that Ryan Newman struggles at Texas. In seven career starts he has four finishes outside the top 30 with an average finish of 28th place. The thing that is difficult to figure out is that he is a past winner at the track taking the checkered flag in this race during the 2003 season. His best finish after that however is just a 16th place finish – the only other race he has finished in the top 20. Newman definitely has the ability to be a contender for a top 10 but with his abysmal performance at Texas and his 51 race streak without a win it would be a good idea to avoid the #12 Alltel Dodge for this race.

Yet another that has been to victory lane at Texas but seems to struggle at the track is Greg Biffle. Biffle won this race in the 2005 season, dominated the fall race before suffering a flat tire, and has had all sorts of problems since. Last season Biffle could not place better than 35th in either race as he now averages a 26th place finish in six career starts. Biffle, like Newman, is searching for a groove struggling most of the 2006 season after nearly winning the championship in ’05. He is off to a slow start to the 2007 season as well posting just one top 10 on the year while sitting in the 21st position in the point standings. With his poor start and recent struggles at Texas avoid the #16 Ameriquest Ford.

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Fast lasts with current car at Texas
Larry McReynolds

It might be hard to convince a lot of these race teams that last week was an off-week. Instead of the Car of Tomorrow, NASCAR on FOX pit reporter Steve Byrnes said Dale Earnhardt Inc. was calling the COT the Car of Overtime.

The shops have worked very hard over the last few months. As soon as the Martinsville race was over last week, they headed to Richmond to test the Car of Tomorrow. It's been a whirlwind with two Car of Tomorrow races in a row and the test as well as getting the current car ready for Texas. Hopefully, the drivers, crew chiefs and team members — especially the road crew — were able to take a fairly long Easter weekend break with their family and friends because they only get one more off-weekend in July between now and Thanksgiving.

If they ran well in Atlanta, teams will run their Atlanta car at Texas. Next week, they will switch back to the Car of Tomorrow at Phoenix. Then, they will run a restrictor plate race at Talladega with the current car, which probably will be a different car than they ran at Daytona for two reasons. Either they tore up their Daytona car, or Daytona and Talladega are so different since Talladega was repaved. These teams have quite a schedule right now. It's one thing to keep up with the schedule, but it's another thing to stay competitive.

Who to Watch

The same group that was strong the last time we ran the current car at Atlanta should be up front again this week. Expect to see the Gibbs, Hendrick and Childress cars challenge for the lead. Evernham Motorsports heads to Texas with some confidence but also with question marks. As the trucks parked at Atlanta, and teams walked through that garage area, everyone pointed to the No. 9 hauler and said, "Well, if we beat that group this week, we'll probably win the race." But they were never even a factor. Last year, Kasey Kahne annihilated the field at Texas, sitting on the pole and leading 63 laps on the way to winning the race. After finishing 39th at Atlanta, the No. 9 team members are probably scratching their heads right now, but they're anxiously awaiting their opportunity to defend their Texas title.

# Jeff Burton: Solid everywhere he goes lately, Burton finished 4th at Atlanta and will run well at Texas this weekend. He got his first career Cup win in the inaugural Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway in 1997.

# Tony Stewart: Winner of last fall's race at Texas, Stewart will be a factor along with his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin. With just a twist of the luck-meter about a click or two, the No. 20 team could have had two or three wins this year.

# Juan Pablo Montoya: The three Ganassi cars should be strong, especially when you consider how well Montoya ran at Atlanta. This racetrack fits the rookie's style of driving right now in Cup racing. Ganassi's stuff seems to be a little better with the current car than the Car of Tomorrow, but the two COT races didn't provide the greatest assessment of the new vehicle because Bristol and Martinsville are such unique racetracks.

# Carl Edwards: Starting to turn the corner with his program, Edwards' last Cup win came at Texas in the track's first fall Cup race in 2005. He'll certainly be a factor this week.

# Hendrick Motorsports: All four cars will run well this weekend. Jimmie Johnson is a pick each week, especially with three wins including a victory at Atlanta. It's one of only three Cup racetracks where Gordon has never won, which is very unusual, but he should be one to watch. Kyle Busch is running well everywhere we go right now. Casey Mears has had some great runs at Texas, a racetrack that he likes.

What to Watch
# Fast lasts: It's hard to believe that the Cup Series has been going to Texas Motor Speedway for 10 years, and it took a while to become a track where everybody looked forward to racing. The place still has a fair amount of grip, and the race speeds stay way up there, unlike Atlanta where the times fall off on the stopwatch over long runs.

# Right front flats: Running so fast and spending a lot of time in the corners, teams really work the tires hard. It's like standing on top of a point. You have to keep the car good and snug for the driver, but you can't have it too snug because you will abuse and lose the right front tire. Texas is one of the last places where you want to lose a right front. I've worked on race cars that have blown tires there. It's not a pretty sight, and it can hurt the driver.

# Gutsy under green: Like Atlanta, we'll get some long, green runs in the middle of the day so it could come down to a fuel mileage/strategy race. Even though only two more guaranteed positions have been added to the Chase for the Nextel Cup, teams feel gutsier. As race 26 at Richmond approaches, that risk factor could dissipate a little bit, but teams feels like they have a mulligan or two with 12 drivers instead of 10 in the Chase.

# Engine issues: More than Atlanta — because the speeds stay up at Texas — rpm stays high and can be very hard on engines with hanging, sustained rpm for 500 miles, a lot like Fontana, Michigan and Indianapolis. Six Chevrolet teams (all three Joe Gibbs Racing teams, RCR's Scott Wimmer and Hendrick's Kyle Busch and Casey Mears) will run the new R07 engine. Texas is a horsepower track, and teams don't want to leave horsepower and torque back at the shop when they can race it.

# Dale's Dip: By repairing a bump that Dale Earnhardt Jr. felt in the pavement between Turns 1 and 2, Texas Motor Speedway walked a fine line. You applaud racetracks for continuing to try to make facilities better for fans, competitors and drivers, but everything was great for both races last year. Why did they mess with it? You can say, "Well, there's no way it can be worse." That's what Lowe's Motor Speedway president Humpy Wheeler thought when he levigated his racetrack. Texas didn't levigate the track. NASCAR on FOX pit reporter Dick Berggren said they gave Turn 1 some Botox. But I'm always nervous about track changes, especially after seeing some bad experiences when people start messing with racetracks.

# 13th different winner: There's no concrete reason for the strangest phenomenon at Texas. It's one of those deals like your parents used to tell you: just because. In 12 races, there have been 12 different winners.

# Fantastic finish: Whether you liked the look of the Car of Tomorrow or not, the two races had phenomenal finishes. Just because we're going to Texas with the current car doesn't mean we won't have a third consecutive fantastic finish. Three years ago, Elliott Sadler and Kasey Kahne had one of the closest finishes in Cup history (.028 seconds) since electronic timing and scoring was instituted.

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Re: Samsung 500 News and Notes

Driver Handicaps: Texas
Jeff Wackerlin
Senior Editor

This weekend the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series heads to Texas Motor Speedway for the Samsung 500. To help you make your Dale Jr. Reality Cup Racing fantasy picks, RacingOne brings you our weekly detailed look at some of the field for the 334-lap event.

      Who's HOT at Texas Motor Speedway
    * Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon lead all drivers with four top-five finishes each.
    * Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin lead all drivers with respective average finishes of 6.3 and 7.0.
    * Matt Kenseth has a 5.7 average finish in the last three races at Texas.
    * Dale Earnhardt Jr. has seven top 10s in nine starts.
    * Tony Stewart will be back behind the wheel of the same car that won the 2006 fall Texas race.

      Keep an Eye on at Texas Motor Speedway
    * Kasey Kahne became the first driver to win from the pole when he won this event last year.
    * Casey Mears and Clint Bowyer have respective average finishes of 10.5 and 12.0.
    * Carl Edwards will be driving the same car that finished fourth at California.
    * Greg Biffle has two wins and eight top 10s in NASCAR competition at Texas.
    * Jeff Burton will pilot the same car that has a 7.7 average finish in its three starts in 2007.
    * Texas is Martin Truex Jr's best track by finishing average with more than one start.
    * Kevin Harvick finished in the top five in both Texas races last season.

Track Performers

Since 1997, the year of Texas Motor Speedway's first race, Jimmie Johnson leads all drivers with eight wins on 1.5-mile speedways. His Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon is second with seven. Tony Stewart is third with six, and Mark Martin and Jeff Burton are tied for fourth with five wins a piece. Gordon leads all drivers in top fives with 28, while Martin is tops with 36 top 10s. Two-time Texas pole winner Ryan Newman is the leader in poles on 1.5-mile tracks with nine.

Texas Rookie Report
Paul Menard is the only Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate that has competed in a NEXTEL Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway. Last fall, Menard started 32nd and finished 41st after the engine let go a little past the halfway point of the race. Both David Ragan and David Reutimann have starts in both the Truck and Busch Series at TMS. Reutimann has had the most success among the rookies in NASCAR competition at Texas capturing five top 10s in the Truck Series. Texas is the site of Juan Pablo Montoya's second-ever NASCAR race. Last fall, Montoya started 10th and finished 28th in the Busch event. And although Montoya has yet to start a Cup race at Texas, he did finish fifth in this year's race at Atlanta. If A.J. Allmendinger can qualify, he will make his first NASCAR start at TMS. Rookie Standings

Qualifying Tidbits
Ryan Newman and Bobby Labonte are the only multiple pole winners at Texas Motor Speedway. Brian Vickers won the pole for last year's fall race driving the No. 25 Chevrolet, stopping Dodge's consecutive pole streak at three. Vickers broke Bill Elliott's 2002 track record with a lap of 196.235 mph. Labonte leads all drivers that have started every event, with a 9.3 starting average. Matt Kenseth won the 2002 race from the 31st starting position, the furthest of any driver. Only three races have been won from outside the top 10. Past Pole Winners | Starting Positions of Texas Winners

Looking For Speed
2001 Texas Winner Dale Jarrett holds the best starting average (14.7) among the drivers required to qualify on time. Brian Vickers is the only one among the group that has won a pole. If qualifying is rained out the following drivers will go home: Jeremy Mayfield, David Reutimann, John Andretti, AJ Allmendinger, Michael Waltrip, Ward Burton and Scott Wimmer. Qualifying Averages

Notable

At least six Chevrolet drivers (Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, J.J. Yeley, Kyle Busch, Casey Mears and Scott Wimmer) will race the new R07 engine in the Samsung 500. The R07 is GM's first (for NASCAR competition) purpose-built small-block race engine after more than 50 years of successful race development of the Chevrolet small-block engine. Jeff Gordon is one of the drivers that tested the new engine recently (at Darlington's tire test) running a large number of laps with no problems.

     
Additional Driver Notes
1. Jeff Gordon (Points: 966): Texas Motor Speedway is one of three tracks on the schedule where Gordon has yet to visit victory lane. Gordon's closest run to victory at TMS came in 2004 when he led 46 laps en route to a third-place finish. In that event, Gordon lost the lead after he was forced to switch to a back-up battery with 26 laps to go. Gordon's 16.8 average finish is third best among all drivers that have started all 12 events at TMS.

2. Jeff Burton (Points Behind Leader: -28): Burton won the inaugural event at Texas Motor Speedway in 1997. The win was one of three top 10s in eight Texas starts with Roush Racing. Sunday will mark Burton's fifth start at TMS with Richard Childress Racing. In this event last year, Burton captured his first top 10 at Texas with RCR with a sixth-place finish. Burton, who has yet to lead a lap with RCR at TMS, has led 145 laps at the Fort Worth track, all coming early in the track's history. This weekend, Burton will drive chassis No. 155 for the fourth time in 2007. This car combined to post an average finish of 7.7 in starts at California, Las Vegas and Atlanta.

3. Jimmie Johnson (Points Behind Leader: -60): Jimmie Johnson's 11th-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway in this event last year broke a streak of five consecutive top 10s at the track. He bounced back in the fall event by scoring his best track finish of second. He currently holds the best average finish at TMS at 6.3.

4. Matt Kenseth (Points Behind Leader: -130): Kenseth has recorded an average finish of 5.7 in his last three starts at Texas Motor Speedway. Two of the finishes marked his first top fives at the track since winning the 2002 event. In 2005, Kenseth dominated the 334-lap fall race by leading 149 laps from his best Texas qualifying effort of third. Kenseth will pilot the same car (chassis RK-317) that won at California and most recently finished third at Atlanta.

5. Kyle Busch (Points Behind Leader: -162) Busch is coming off his best finish, and first top 10, at Texas Motor Speedway after finishing fourth last fall. In that event, Busch also recorded his best start (11th) and led his first laps (2) at the 1.5-mile speedway. This weekend, Busch will climb back into the same car (chassis No. 388) that last ran at Atlanta last October where it finished 27th.

6. Denny Hamlin (Points Behind Leader: -190): Hamlin ranks second among all drivers with a 5.5 average finish at Texas Motor Speedway. Sunday will mark his fourth career start at the 1.5-mile speedway. Last year in this event, Hamlin led 41 laps en route to his best finish at TMS of fourth. This weekend the FedEx team will unload the same car (chassis No. 121) that finished 10th at Texas last November.

7. Clint Bowyer (Points Behind Leader: -215): Bowyer has competed in two NEXTEL Cup races at Texas Motor Speedway with his best finish, of fifth, coming last fall. He will be gunning for his fourth top 10 of the 2007 season driving the same car (chassis No. 146) that most recently finished sixth at Dover last September. Bowyer has one Craftsman Truck Series win at TMS.

8. Tony Stewart (Points Behind Leader: -240): Stewart will make his 291st career NEXTEL Cup start and 11th at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday. Stewart collected his first Cup win at Texas in his last start there. The win was his seventh top 10. Stewart's remaining three finishes have been 23rd or worse, with the last one (31st) coming in this event in 2005. Last November he also recorded his best start at Texas of eighth. This weekend, Stewart will be back behind the wheel of the same car (chassis No. 120) that led a race-high 278 laps en route to its Texas victory. The No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet will carry a special NASCAR Day paint scheme in Texas.

9. Carl Edwards (Points Behind Leader: -256): Edwards has one victory at Texas Motor Speedway, which came in the 2005 fall event. In that race, he took on fresh tires during a pit stop with 15 to go and charged through the field after restarting sixth, en route to his fourth career NEXTEL Cup victory. In this event last year, Edwards looked strong again, leading 50 laps, until an accident charged him with his first DNF at the track. In his last start, Edwards finished 15th to give him an average finish of 17.8 in four career races at TMS.

10. Kevin Harvick (Points Behind Leader: -279): Harvick broke a streak of five consecutive finishes outside the top 10 at Texas Motor Speedway by finishing fifth and third, respectively, in 2006. On Sunday, Harvick will look for his fourth top 10 at TMS, driving the same car (chassis No. 174) that was a contender at California Speedway before having to make an unscheduled pit stop for a flat tire. Harvick will also race in Saturday's Busch race at TMS where he is a three-time winner.

11. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Points Behind Leader: -289): Texas Motor Speedway is the site of Dale Earnhardt Jr's first NEXTEL Cup Series victory. The triumph was one of seven top 10s at the track. In his first two starts he combined to lead 213 of his 254 laps led at the track. Junior's last top 10 at TMS came in the November event last year when he finished sixth. Earnhardt will be back in the same chassis (No. 39) that he posted his worst finish (40th) of the 2007 season with at California.

12. Jamie McMurray (Points Behind Leader: -316): McMurray scored his best finish (second) at Texas Motor Speedway in the 2005 spring race. He finished 10th in his first two starts in 2003 and 2004. Last year, McMurray finished 37th and 26th, respectively, in his first two track starts with Roush Racing. This weekend he will be back behind the wheel of the same car (chassis RK-428) that finished 10th last month at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

13. David Stremme (Points Behind Leader: -321): Stremme finished 21st and 24th, respectively, in his two NEXTEL Cup starts at Texas Motor Speedway in 2006.

14. Elliott Sadler (Points Behind Leader: -327): Last fall, Sadler started second and finished 37th in his first start at Texas Motor Speedway with Evernham Motorsports. His five previous starts at TMS came with Robert Yates Racing. Two of his three top 10s came with RYR, including a win in the 2004 event. His first track start in 1999 with the Woods Brothers resulted in a 10th-place finish.

15. Mark Martin (Points Behind Leader: -337): Martin's 14.2 finishing average leads all drivers that have competed in every event at Texas Motor Speedway. After winning the second event in 1998, Martin has gone on to capture five additional top 10s, including a runner-up finish in the inaugural fall race in 2005. This weekend will mark his first track start with Ginn Racing.

17. Kurt Busch (Points Behind Leader: -342): Busch is coming off his sixth top 10 - first with Penske Racing - at Texas Motor Speedway after finishing eighth last November. Last year in this event, Busch finished 34th, one day after winning his first Busch race with Penske. On Friday, Busch will take to the track in the same car (chassis PSC-090) that won the 2006 spring Bristol race. Troy Raker will be Busch's crew chief starting at Texas as Roy McCauley will be spending more time with wife, Amy, who is battling cancer.

18. J.J. Yeley (Points Behind Leader: -350): Yeley has led a combined five laps and has posted an average finish of 27.5 in his two career starts at Texas Motor Speedway. Last year in this event, he posted his best NEXTEL Cup start in 48 races after he posted the second fastest lap in qualifying. He will be driving the same car (chassis No. 145) that finished 20th last November at TMS.

20. Ryan Newman (Points Behind Leader: -377): Outside of a win in the 2003 event, Texas Motor Speedway has not been kind to Newman. His lone victory boosted his finishing average to 27.9, the worst among all drivers that have one victory. He earned his first pole at TMS in the 2005 spring event and led one of his 80 laps at the 1.5-mile speedway, but finished 16th. He went on to win the pole for the fall event but went to a back-up car after crashing on his second qualifying lap. This weekend Newman will race the same chassis (PRS-071) that finished eighth at Las Vegas.

21. Greg Biffle (Points Behind Leader: -378): Biffle won the 2005 spring event at Texas Motor Speedway after leading 219 laps. The win was his only top 10 in six starts at TMS. In this event last year, Biffle had another contending car until his No. 16 Ford got hit from behind by Kurt Busch's No. 2 Dodge on the backstretch. In the 2005 fall race, Biffle was faced with more bad luck after he was forced to pit on lap 49 when he felt a vibration in his car. After a green flag pit stop, he dropped back one lap behind the leader. Biffle was not the same after the stop, suffering a spin later in the race and coming home with a 20th-place finish. In 2004, he ran in the top-five before the engine expired in the No. 16 Ford. This weekend Biffle will drive a brand new car (chassis RK-439) in the Samsung 500.

22. Bobby Labonte (Points Behind Leader: -407): Texas native Labonte won the poles at Texas Motor Speedway in 2003 and 2004. His best finish at Texas is third, marking all three of his top fives achieved at the track. Labonte's 10th-place finish in this event last year came in his first track start with Petty Enterprises and ended a streak of six consecutive finishes of 26th or worse at the track.

24. Martin Truex Jr. (Points Behind Leader: -441): Truex Jr. has a pretty solid record at Texas Motor Speedway, finishing in the top 15 in three starts. Truex will be in search of his second top 10 at the track driving the same car (chassis No. 043) that finished second at Homestead in 2006.

25. Reed Sorenson (Points Behind Leader: -452): Sorenson has an average finish of 15.0 in his two career NEXTEL Cup starts at Texas Motor Speedway. This weekend his No. 41 Dodge will switch from the Target sponsorship to TUMS.

26. Tony Raines (Points Behind Leader: -459): Raines has competed in three NEXTEL Cup races at Texas Motor Speedway and has posted an average finish of 21.5 in his two starts with Hall of Fame Racing. TMS is also the site of one of Raines' four Craftsman Truck Series wins.

27. Joe Nemechek (Points Behind Leader: -464): Nemechek has captured one top five - a fourth-place finish with Felix Sabates in 1998 - in 11 starts at Texas Motor Speedway. In his first track start with his current team (Ginn) in 2004, he was running third with 70 laps to go when a power level problem ended his contention for the win. He finished 14th in that event, which marked his best finish with Ginn at TMS in five starts.

29. Ricky Rudd (Points Behind Leader: -468): Rudd will be making his 10th career start at Texas Motor Speedway and his first since 2002 with Robert Yates Racing. Rudd has captured four top 10s with three different teams at TMS, with his career-best finish (fourth) coming with RYR in 2002. His average finish at Texas is 17.1.

30. David Gilliland (Points Behind Leader: -472): Gilliland started seventh and finished 21st in his only start at Texas Motor Speedway.

31. Jeff Green (Points Behind Leader: -487): Green has seven career Cup starts at TMS and has a top five along with an average finishing position of 21.4

33. Casey Mears (Points Behind Leader: -500) This weekend, Mears will make his first start in the No. 25 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet at Texas Motor Speedway. Mears has put together a good string of finishes in five out of his last six track starts, which came with Chip Ganassi Racing. In the last five races at TMS, Mears has recorded an average finish of 7.2. Running a body modeled off the car teammate Jimmie Johnson put into victory lane at Las Vegas, chassis No. 334 was tested at Kentucky Speedway this week.

34. Kasey Kahne (Points Behind Leader: -513): Last year in this event, Kahne won his first race at Texas Motor Speedway after leading 63 laps from the pole. Kahne has started in the top five in four out of the five races he has competed in and his 5.2 average start leads all drivers. Outside of the win and a second-place finish, Kahne's other performances at TMS have resulted in finishes of 33rd or worse. This weekend, Kahne will be driving the same car (chassis No. 23) that has qualified 12th and finished seventh at Atlanta in March.

36. Scott Riggs (Points Behind Leader: -559): Last spring, Riggs scored his first top 10 in five starts at Texas Motor Speedway when he finished seventh. He sat on the pole twice at Texas in the Truck Series and finished twice in the top five in the Busch Series.
37. Dale Jarrett (Points Behind Leader: -567): Jarrett won at Texas in 2001 and has started all twelve Cup races at the track with an average finishing position of 14.7

40. Brian Vickers (Points Behind Leader: -667): In 2004, Vickers captured his best finish in his first start at Texas Motor Speedway when he started 13th and finished 12th. Last fall, he captured his fourth career NEXTEL Cup Series pole at TMS with a lap of 196.235 mph.

52. John Andretti (Points Behind Leader: -905): Andretti will attempt to make his eighth start at Texas Motor Speedway driving the No. 37 Dodge for Front Row Motorsports. He will be in the same car that qualified at California and ran fairly well before an electrical problem dropped him out of contention.

54. Michael Waltrip (Points Behind Leader: N/A): Waltrip will attempt to qualify for his second NEXTEL Cup race of 2007 on Friday driving a redesigned intermediate car that Toyota and MWR collaborated on. Waltrip's last top 10 at Texas Motor Speedway came with DEI in this event in 2005.

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Re: Samsung 500 News and Notes

Texas Qualifying Canceled
RacingOne Staff

Wet weather has wreaked havoc on the schedule at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday, forcing the cancellation of qualifying for Sunday's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Samsung 500.

NEXTEL Cup Series officials had been hopeful that the rain showers in the area would subside, pushing back the qualifying times twice before calling it a day at approximately 6:50 p.m. (ET).

As a result, the starting lineup for Sunday’s 334-lap event has been established by owner points, giving pole position to Jeff Gordon. It will be the third time Gordon starts from the front row at Texas Motor Speedway, but first time at the head of the field. His two previous best qualifying efforts came at the inaugural race at the venue in 1997 and in the fall race of 2005, starting second in both races.

He will be looking to become the 13th different driver in track history to win a NEXTEL Cup event, having never previously won at the 1.5-mile oval.

"To me, it's just a very, very tricky place to get the right combination of aerodynamics, horsepower, mechanical grip, and set-up and get comfortable as a driver with the speeds we carry here," said Gordon. "Twice we've had cars that were capable of winning here. Once, I think it was the first year, when we got taken out when leading or running second. And then the other was when Elliott Sadler won and we had electrical problems. So we've been in position to win here - just not recently.

"Recently we haven't been very competitive and that's been frustrating. It comforts me a little bit and I try not to put too much blame on myself (knowing) that all of Hendrick Motorsports just hasn't been that good here. So, it's something internally that we're working on."

Richard Childress Racing’s Jeff Burton will start alongside Gordon on the front row. Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch round out the top five starting positions.

Past Texas winners in the field include Burton, Mark Martin (starting sixth), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (12th), Dale Jarrett (37th), Kenseth, Ryan Newman (20th), Elliott Sadler (15th), Greg Biffle (21st), Carl Edwards (10th), Kasey Kahne (34th) and Tony Stewart (ninth).

Unfortunately for eight drivers, the rain-out means they will have to pack up even without attempting to qualify for the seventh race of the season. The unlucky eight are: Jeremy Mayfield, David Reutimann, John Andretti, AJ Allmendinger, Michael Waltrip, Ward Burton, Kevin Lepage and Scott Wimmer.

"Obviously, it stinks," said Mayfield, who qualified for the last two races after missing the first four. "You can’t change the weather or you can’t rearrange it - you just have to go with it. We have a great car here. It’s the best we’ve ever been. And it really stinks that we don’t get a chance to show it."

Although four of the drivers leaving early are Toyota’s, the cancellation was not all bad news for the first year manufacturer. Three of their drivers (Jarrett, Dave Blaney and Brian Vickers) made it into the event. By virtue of winning a race in 2006, Vickers will start 36th while Jarrett will start 37th by virtue of being a past champion.

Jarrett did not have to use one of his past champions’ provisionals to get into the event, meaning he still has two available for the future.

Teams will get two practice sessions Saturday (11:30 a.m. – 12:20 p.m.; 1:20 – 2:20 p.m.) before Sunday’s running of the Samsung 500, which is scheduled to take the green flag at 2 p.m. (ET). FOX will be televising the event while PRN Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio offer radio coverage.

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Re: Samsung 500 News and Notes

Kyle Busch crashes in practice, won't run new Chevy engine
FOXSports.com

Kyle Busch, No. 5 Cheez-It/CARQUEST Monte Carlo SS, was involved in a single-car incident during the morning practice session. Busch, who was uninjured in the incident, was forced to his backup car.

As a result, the current Chevrolet SB2 engine will now power Busch's Monte Carlo SS in tomorrow's Samsung 500. He was one of six drivers scheduled to start the Samsung 500 in the newly introduced Chevrolet R07 engine.
Tony Stewart, No. 20 Home Depot Monte Carlo SS; Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Express Monte Carlo SS; J.J. Yeley, No. 18 Interstate Batteries Monte Carlo SS; Casey Mears, No. 25 National Guard/GMAC Monte Carlo SS and Tony Raines, No. 96 DLP HDTV Monte Carlo SS will start the 334-lap/501-mile race with the R07.

"I'm not sure what happened," said Busch. "The car was pretty good, it was a little bit on the snug side, we were going pretty decent there, just trying to put down a 10-lap run. We made nine of them. Got off in the corner and it landed pretty good, then it just all of a sudden went around on me. It started rotating and I couldn't keep up with it and spun out.

"I feel comfortable with either engine, this SB2 that is in my car now seems like it has some pretty good power too. I am happy with it. Hendrick does an awesome job with either the SB2 or the R07 so I am pretty pleased with it, I think we will be fine."

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Re: Samsung 500 News and Notes

Texas Driver Updates
April 14, 2007
By Micah Roberts
VegasInsider.com


Top 5 Texas cars after all practice and qualifying sessions

1) Jimmie Johnson
2) Carl Edwards
3) Martin Truex Jr
4) Dale Earnhardt Jr
5) Greg Biffle

Top drivers to look for at plus money in matchups

1) Ryan Newman
2) Matt Kenseth
3) Reed Sorenson
4) Mark Martin
5) Juan Pablo Montoya

Top drivers to wager against that will likely be favored

1) Kevin Harvick
2) Clint Bowyer
3) Casey Mears

Best long shot with chance at beating Jimmie Johnson

1) Martin Truex Jr
2) Reed Sorenson
3) Juan Pablo Montoya

If I had to pick one of the 3 favorites to underperform

1) Tony Stewart

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Re: Samsung 500 News and Notes

Burton First Repeat Texas Winner
RacingOne Staff

The streak is over.

Jeff Burton became the first repeat NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series winner at Texas Motor Speedway after passng his former teammate Matt Kenseth on the last lap to win the Samsung 500.

Burton, who won the inaugural race in 1997, ended the string of 12 straight different NEXTEL Cup winners at Texas with his 19th career win on Sunday.

Burton led one lap all day, the final one.

He passed Kenseth on the backstretch of the final circuit and pulled away to score his second victory for car owner Richard Childress and first since Dover last September, when he edged Kenseth.

"He held me off for 15 laps, that’s just how good he is," Burton said of Kenseth. "We’ve done a nice job to this point, but it’s a long season."

Kenseth, who won Saturday's Busch Series race, was forced to settle for another runnerup finish to Burton.

"It’s painful to lose on the last lap," Kenseth said. "We didn’t have a car good enough to win, but my guys gave me a chance."

Mark Martin returned to action after a two race layoff to finish third.

Polesitter Jeff Gordon led the most laps of the day - 173 of the 334 - but had to settle for fourth, keeping his Texas winless streak alive.

His teammate Jimmie Johnson, the Hendrick driver who won three of the last four races, was knocked out of contention on lap 240 when he ran into Tony Stewart's sliding car coming onto the frontstretch.

Stewart, who won at Texas last fall, was sent into a spin when he was bumped while running side-by-side with rookie Juan Pablo Montoya.

Jamie McMurray edged teammate Greg Biffle to finish fifth. Juan Pablo Montoya, Denny Hamlin and David Stremme completed the first ten finishers.

The NEXTEL Cup Series now heads to Phoenix International Raceway for next Saturday night's Subway Fresh Fit 500.

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Re: Samsung 500 News and Notes

RacingOne Rewind: Texas
RacingOne Staff

A look back at Jeff Burton's 19th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series win in Sunday's Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway including news, notes and observations by RacingOne's own Pete Pistone and Jeff Wackerlin.

Inside Line
Jeff Burton became the first NEXTEL Cup repeat winner at Texas Motor Speedway as he outraced Matt Kenseth to win Sunday's Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Keys to Victory Lane
Burton passed Kenseth on the final lap as the duo raced down the backstretch and drove away for his first win since Dover last September. Complete Results

Zero to Hero
We'll go with Kurt Busch on this one, who started the race in a back-up car and without crew chief Roy McCauley. Busch led 42 laps before falling back to the last car on the lead lap when the leaders pitted under caution and was able to go on to an 11th-place finish.

Hero to Zero
Dale Earnhardt Jr. looked like a contender to return to victory lane at Texas where he scored his first career Cup win until he got runover by Kyle Busch in a late race skirmish that ended his day.

Rookie of the Race
Juan Pablo Montoya began the day 16th and stayed near the front most of the day and overcame a pit road miscue to finish eighth.

Notables

Jamie McMurray has turned things around in 2007 and gave Roush Fenway a fifth-place finish. David Stremme's stellar start to the year continued with a 10th-place run. And let's give a call to the hometown Hall of Fame Racing team and Tony Raines, who drove to a 13th-place finish.

RacingOne Rating

On a scale of one to ten Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders, we'll give Sunday's Samsung 500 a solid 8. Another down to the wire finish, this time with Burton and Kenseth repeating their Dover battle of last September. There was some great racing throughout the day all over the track and also drama down the stretch with several frontrunners getting sidelined in incidents and with other problems. In the end, Texas provided another exciting day of racing, the fourth straight Cup race that came down to the final laps. Now it's back to the Car of Tomorrow and under the lights for Saturday night show at Phoenix International Raceway and next week's Subway Fresh 500.

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