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Food City 500 Betting News and Notes

Food City 500 Betting News and Notes

Odds & Ends - Bristol

Bristol Motor Speedway Data

Race #: 4 of 36 (3-18-12)
Track Size: .533 miles
Race Length: 500 laps/266.5 miles
Banking/Corners: 26 to 30 degrees
Banking/Straights: 4 to 9 degrees

Top 12 Driver Rating at Bristol

Kyle Busch 107.0
Jeff Gordon 100.2
Matt Kenseth 99.5
Greg Biffle 96.9
Kurt Busch 95.9
Jimmie Johnson 93.1
Carl Edwards 92.8
Kevin Harvick 90.2
Ryan Newman 89.8
Tony Stewart 89.5
Brad Keselowski 88.5
Denny Hamlin 87.7

Note: Driver Rating compiled from 2005-2011 races (14 total) at Bristol.

Qualifying/Race Data

v 2011 pole winner: Carl Edwards, 128.014 mph. 14.989 seconds
2011 race winner: Kyle Busch, 91.941 mph, 3-20-11)
Track qualifying record: Ryan Newman (128.709 mph, 14.908 seconds, 3-21-03)
Track race record: Charlie Glotzbach (101.074 mph, 7-11-71)

Driver Ratings for Winners

Drive/Year (Driver Rating Series) Driver Rating Rank
Kyle Busch/2011 (106.6) 3rd
Jimmie Johnson/2010 (115.0) 1st
Kyle Busch/2009 (113.0) 2nd
Jeff Burton/2008 (97.0) 8th
Kyle Busch/2007 (96.7) 7th
Kurt Busch/2006 (92.1) 9th

* Pre-Race Food City 500 Driver Ratings of the year the driver won the Food City 500 (the past 6 spring races).

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Driver Highlights - Bristol

Greg Biffle (No. 16 811-3M Ford)

Six top fives, 11 top 10s
Average finish of 11.8
Average Running Position of 12.7, fifth-best
Driver Rating of 96.9, fourth-best
Average Green Flag Speed of 114.321 mph, fifth-fastest
5,016 Laps in the Top 15 (71.5%), fourth-most
324 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green), seventh-most

Kurt Busch (No. 51 Phoenix Construction Services Inc. Chevrolet)

Five wins, six top fives, 13 top 10s; one pole
Average finish of 12.9
Average Running Position of 12.3, fourth-best
Driver Rating of 95.9, fifth-best
Average Green Flag Speed of 114.344 mph, third-fastest
5,049 Laps in the Top 15 (72.0%), third-most
373 Quality Passes, second-most

Kyle Busch (No. 18 Wrigley Toyota)

Five wins, seven top fives, 10 top 10s
Average finish of 9.1
Average Running Position of 11.7, third-best
Series-best Driver Rating of 107.0
Series-high 550 Fastest Laps Run
Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 114.484 mph
4,869 Laps in the Top 15 (69.4%), seventh-most

Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet)

One win, seven top fives, 12 top 10s
Average finish of 11.7
Average Running Position of 14.6, 11th-best
Driver Rating of 87.1, 13th-best
Series-high 748 Green Flag Passes
Average Green Flag Speed of 114.166 mph, 12th-fastest
4,006 Laps in the Top 15 (57.1%), 10th-most
282 Quality Passes, 10th-most

Carl Edwards (No. 99 Aflac Ford)

Two wins, four top fives, seven top 10s; two poles
Average finish of 12.3
Average Running Position of 13.1, sixth-best
Driver Rating of 92.8, seventh-best
277 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-most
544 Green Flag Passes, 13th-most
Average Green Flag Speed of 114.225 mph, seventh-fastest
4,874 Laps in the Top 15 (69.5%), sixth-most
264 Quality Passes, 12th-most

Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Driver To End Hunger Chevrolet)

Five wins, 15 top fives, 21 top 10s; five poles
Average finish of 11.5
Series-best Average Running Position of 9.4
Driver Rating of 100.2, second-best
289 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most
552 Green Flag Passes, 12th-most
Average Green Flag Speed of 114.357 mph, second-fastest
Series-high 5,773 Laps in the Top 15 (82.3%)
370 Quality Passes, third-most

Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota)

Three top fives, six top 10s
Average finish of 15.5
Driver Rating of 87.7, 12th-best
269 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-most
609 Green Flag Passes, seventh-most
Average Green Flag Speed of 114.170 mph, 11th-fastest

Kevin Harvick (No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet)

One win, nine top fives, 12 top 10s
Average finish of 12.5
Average Running Position of 13.9, eighth-best
Driver Rating of 90.2, eighth-best
232 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-most
662 Green Flag Passes, fourth-most
Average Green Flag Speed of 114.249 mph, sixth-fastest
4,094 Laps in the Top 15 (58.4%), ninth-most

Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet)

One win, six top fives, 11 top 10s; one pole
Average finish of 14.9
Average Running Position of 13.2, seventh-best
Driver Rating of 93.1, sixth-best
414 Fastest Laps Run, second-most
4,875 Laps in the Top 15 (69.5%), fifth-most
267 Quality Passes, 11th-most

Matt Kenseth (No. 17 Best Buy Ford)

Two wins, nine top fives, 16 top 10s; one pole
Average finish of 12.0
Average Running Position of 10.6, second-best
Driver Rating of 99.5, third-best
299 Fastest Laps Run, third-most
Average Green Flag Speed of 114.330 mph, fourth-fastest
5,714 Laps in the Top 15 (81.5%), second-most
Series-high 384 Quality Passes

Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge)

One win, one top five, one top 10
Average finish of 12.8
Average Running Position of 14.7, 12th-best
Driver Rating of 88.5, 11th-best
Average Green Flag Speed of 114.182 mph, eighth-fastest

Ryan Newman (No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet)

One top five, 12 top 10s; three poles
Average finish of 16.7
Average Running Position of 14.3, 10th-best
Driver Rating of 89.8, ninth-best
565 Green Flag Passes, 10th-most
Average Green Flag Speed of 114.139 mph, 13th-fastest
4,859 Laps in the Top 15 (69.3%), eighth-most
326 Quality Passes, sixth-most

Tony Stewart (No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet)

One win, six top fives, eight top 10s; one pole
Average finish of 17.4
Driver Rating of 89.5, 10th-best
280 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most
Average Green Flag Speed of 114.172 mph, 10th-fastest
3,826 Laps in the Top 15 (54.6%), 11th-most

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Bristol Food City 500 Storylines

Stewart, Addington Check Vegas Off The List

Tony Stewart’s already short list of winless tracks has dwindled to two, as the three-time champion checked Las Vegas Motor Speedway off the list with a dominant performance that put his career wins total to 45. Now, Stewart remains winless at only Darlington Raceway and Kentucky Speedway.

But the back story of yesterday’s race was Steve Addington, whose tenure as Stewart’s crew chief is now three races old. Addington joined the team for the 2012 season, sliding into an organization that had won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship just a few months ago.

Sunday’s win was his first at Stewart-Haas Racing, and 17th overall in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Addington’s first 16 wins all came with a member of the Busch family driving (12 with Kyle; four with Kurt).

With the victory, Stewart has now won six of the last 13 races and now sits one win behind Buck Baker for 14th on the all-time series wins list.

Who’s Next? Who Knows?

Three different drivers have won the first three races – Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart.

Each of those drivers drive for a different manufacturer. Kenseth’s in a Ford; Hamlin drives a Toyota and Stewart pilots a Chevrolet. Could Dodge be next? Absolutely – the last winner at Bristol was Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge.

Johnson Continues Climb

Daytona seems like forever ago for the five-time champion. A 42nd-place finish in the Daytona 500, coupled with a 25 points penalty for infractions in prerace inspection put Johnson in the red going into Phoenix.

Now, after a fourth-place finish at Phoenix and a runner-up run in Las Vegas, Johnson is back up to 23rd in the points. Johnson won his first Bristol race in March of 2010, and tallied two top fives in last year’s two Bristol events.

Biffle Nabs Top Spot With Personal Triple Crown

With Chassis No. 777 in Las Vegas, Greg Biffle rolled his third consecutive third-place finish to start the season and take over the points lead for the second time in his career (the first was following Sonoma in 2005). Biffle credits crew chief Matt Puccia for helping him attempt to become the first driver to win all three national series titles. To lead the points, Biffle and the No. 16 3M team needed a leader and has found it in Puccia. "Just plain and simply, Matt Puccia is the reason why we're running and competing and finishing where we are," Biffle said. "This team needed leadership. He was willing to step up and take the task on. Done a fantastic job so far."

The Road To 200 Wins Lengthy For Hendrick

Hendrick Motorsports can’t come much closer to their 200th win – and not get it – then it did at Las Vegas. Jimmie Johnson finished second and Dale Earnhardt Jr. led for much of the start.

Leading more laps at Las Vegas (70) than he did all of last season (52), Dale Earnhardt Jr. continues to be the Hendrick Motorsports standard bearer, climbing one spot to fourth in points. Earnhardt earned his second top-10 finish of the season and heads to Bristol as the top Hendrick contender with Jeff Gordon (17th), Jimmie Johnson (23rd) and Kasey Kahne (26th) trailing him.

With its next win, Hendrick will become only the second team to notch 200 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins.

Active Leaders Look Forward to Bristol

Kurt and Kyle Busch, along with Jeff Gordon, lead active drivers with five wins at Bristol Motor Speedway. The Food City 500 comes at a good time after a tough start to the season for all three drivers. Kyle is 12th in points, Gordon is 17th and Kurt is 29th. Kyle has won four of the last six races at the track and hopes to reverse his fortunes after Las Vegas where he and his brother blew left rear tires to bring out the last two cautions of the race.

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Driver Notes & Quotes for 2012 Bristol Food City 500

CARL EDWARDS ON BRISTOL: “Racing at Bristol is like fighter jets in a gymnasium. The banking is so high, you drive down in the corner and the forces pushing the car into the track seem so much greater than anywhere else we go. The rate at which the car is changing direction is very fast. It always takes me a few laps in the race, 10-15 laps in, to get comfortable with the pace of it because things are happening so quickly there. It is really fun to race there and we hope to get the Cheez-It Ford in victory lane.”

EDWARDS CHASSIS CHOICE: The No. 99 will have Cheez-It as the primary sponsor. The crew will unload RK-788 for the weekend. This car first raced at Chicago (fourth place) in September 2011, and then went on to finish third at Dover a few weeks later.

MATT KENSETH ON BRISTOL: “I like going to Bristol a lot. The track is different there after they reconfigured it, so it’s one that is always a challenge. You need to be ready for it because it’s a really fast track and things happen in a hurry. I’m looking forward to going there this weekend with our Best Buy Ford. It’s one of the most fun races of the year so I think everyone always looks forward to heading to Bristol. We had some decent runs there last year so I’m ready to unload this weekend and see what our team is able to do.”

KENSETH CHASSIS CHOICE: Primary: RK-802 (brand new chassis)

GREG BIFFLE ON BRISTOL: “Bristol is high on my list and it’s one of my favorite tracks to go to. The important keys to getting around Bristol are qualifying well and getting a good pit box to keep your track position. Being the point leader we are still showing up with the same exact plan. What we always try to do is win, and I want to win at Bristol sine I’ve never won there. We know we are capable of running in the top five, we just have to figure out how to be there at the end.”

BIFFLE CHASSIS CHOICE: Chassis RK-749 is the same car Biffle claimed the pole position with at Texas in the fall of 2011.

KEVIN HARVICK ON BRISTOL: “Bristol is probably the place that we’ve had circled on the calendar as the place that we ran the worst at last year. As a company, the last race was just bad. For us, we’ve talked about Bristol a lot. I’m looking forward to getting on the race track and running through some different theories and things that we think we needed to do different. Bristol is always a fun place. You never know what can happen there. It seems like it’s just a place where anything can happen at any time. It’s a fun race track and obviously short-track racing is something we all grew up doing.”

HARVICK CHASSIS CHOICE: Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet team will utilize chassis No. 340 from the Richard Childress Racing stable for Sunday’s race. This Chevrolet Impala was raced four times in 2011 by the No. 33 team, scoring a ninth-place finish at Martinsville Speedway in April and a sixth-place finish at Richmond International Raceway that same month.

JEFF BURTON ON BRISTOL BEING TOUGH: “Well, that’s Bristol. It will definitely do that to you. Bristol Motor Speedway is one of my favorite race tracks. We typically run well there with the exception of the August event last season. Every other time we’ve come here, we’ve run well, but just not got the finishes where we deserved. It’s a track that I really like and RCR typically performs well. It’s a hard race. Early in the season, everyone is trying to find their rhythm. Some teams are playing catch up, some are trying to protect their points cushion and some are being really aggressive. You always want to go there and feel you can be aggressive and go attack the race track. Even though it is a track that will bite you, the only way to go fast and win is to attack it. You can’t be passive, you have to be aggressive.”

BURTON CHASSIS CHOICE: Jeff Burton will race chassis No. 359 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable this weekend. This No. 31 Chevrolet Impala was utilized three times last season including, Charlotte Motor Speedway in the Coca-Cola 600 (started-fifth, finished-21st), Pocono Raceway in August (started-eighth, finished-17th) and Dover International Speedway in October (started-13th, finished-11th).

PAUL MENARD CHASSIS: Paul Menard will pilot Chassis No. 347 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This No. 27 Chevrolet Impala was last seen on track at Pocono Raceway in August 2011, where Menard started seventh and drove it to a 10th-place finish. Menard also drove this Chevrolet at Pocono in June when the Eau Claire, Wis. native started second and finished 14th, at Dover International Speedway in May where he brought home a 24th-place result and at Auto Club Speedway where he finished 16th.

BRENDAN GAUGHAN ON BRISTOL: “I have a lot of confidence going into this weekend’s Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway. I have learned a lot over the past few weeks running in the Cup car. The more seat time I have, the more comfortable I feel and the more I learn about these cars.”

GAUGHAN CHASSIS CHOICE: Brendan Gaughan will pilot Chassis No. 325 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This RCR racer was last seen as a No. 29 entry that scored a third-place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2010 and a 17th-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2011.

BRAD KESELOWSKI ON BRISTOL: “I love racing at Bristol. Normally I don’t pick favorite tracks because if you have tracks that you like, then you have to have places where you despise going. That means you are defeated before you ever get there. But if I had to pick a favorite, Bristol would be right at the top. The feeling I get when I walk through that tunnel is the same feeling I had when I went there for the first time. I’ve never been, but it has to be the same feeling that you get when you walk into the Roman Coliseum."

KESELOWSKI CHASSIS CHOICE: The No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger team will race chassis PRS-813 during Sunday’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS). This is a new chassis to the No. 2 fleet.

JAMIE McMURRAY CHASSIS CHOICE: Chassis #1106. Manion and the No.1 McDonald’s team will bring Chassis #1106 to Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. This chassis competed in both races at Kansas Speedway (finishing 29th and 22nd) as well as Atlanta Motor Speedway (finishing 16th).

JUAN MONTOYA CHASSIS CHOICE: Chassis #1111. Crew Chief Chris Heroy and the No.42 Target team will bring Chassis #1111 to Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. This chassis made its debut in last season’s finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, leading two laps and finishing 31st after an accident put the No. 42 four laps down.

CLINT BOWYER CHASSIS CHOICE: The No. 15 5-hour ENERGY team will race chassis No. 724 at Bristol. Chassis No. 718 will serve as the backup. Chassis 718 also served as the backup in Phoenix. Both chassis are new in 2012.

JIMMIE JOHNSON CHASSIS CHOICE: Chassis No. 650 serves as the primary for Johnson at Bristol. Chassis No. 590 serves as the backup. The primary has never finished worse than ninth and has two runner-up finishes in five 2011 starts.

KYLE BUSCH CHASSIS CHOICE: Chassis No. 322 - This chassis will see its first-ever race action in Sunday’s Food City 500 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.

RYAN NEWMAN CHASSIS CHOICE: Chassis No. 39-655 only has one start to its credit – last season’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. Newman was making a run on the top-10 when he got tangled in a multi-car melee on lap 303. The accident forced Newman to take his No. 39 to the garage for extensive repairs. He returned to the track more than 40 laps down and finished the race in 31st. Since the incident at Charlotte, the car has undergone extensive work and updates in the shop in preparation for its 2012 debut this weekend at Bristol.

KURT BUSCH CHASSIS CHOICE: This weekend’s Food City 500 will be the second race of the 2012 season for this chassis, which was built in June 2011. This car is the same one with which Kurt Busch raced at Phoenix two weeks ago, when he scored a 15th-place finish after starting 19th. The team tested this chassis in January at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway during a two-day session in preparation for the upcoming season.

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2012 Bristol Food City 500 Preview
By Micah Roberts

Last week in Las Vegas we got to see some major horsepower displayed, but not a lot of drivers were mixing it up while running in single file for most of the day. This week at Bristol we get some side-by-side short track racing which usually brings and the best and worst of drivers. The drama created on the track translates into must-see TV throughout the race.

“Racing at Bristol is like fighter jets in a gymnasium," said Carl Edwards earlier this week. "The banking is so high, you drive down in the corner and the forces pushing the car into the track seem so much greater than anywhere else we go. The rate at which the car is changing direction is very fast. It always takes me a few laps in the race, 10-15 laps in, to get comfortable with the pace of it because things are happening so quickly there.

Bristol is a high banked half-mile track that has multiple grooves allowing drivers to pass either high or low. We don’t see the type of love taps or punts we used to under the old layout where drivers fought for the bottom line, but the best thing about Bristol stills remains: it’s tight and cramped with all 43 drivers trying to create their own space when very little is available.

The favorite coming into this weeks race is Kyle Busch due to winning four of the last six races run there. He has five wins in 14 starts and it would seem appropriate that a driver with the nickname “Rowdy” would be the driver to beat on a track like Bristol.

“I’m not exactly sure what makes me so good at Bristol," said Busch when asked about his Bristol success. "I’ve just had a lot of success there, but I’ve also had some misfortune there, too. Ever since I got through my rookie year, I’ve just taken a liking to the place. Of course, I’ve been able to get some help from my brother (Kurt). He’s always been really, really good there. But, when they changed the track to this current surface, I just really took to it right away. I really liked it and I’ve been fast there, but also I’ve had great racecars from Joe Gibbs Racing."

The timing for Bristol couldn’t have come at a better time for Busch because he’s still searching for a good run that meets his standards. He’s had only one top-10 finish in the three races run thus far and currently sits 12th in points. The one positive out of Busch so far is that despite not having great cars, he’s been able take the finish allowed by the car and not try and push it more than it was capable of. The fact that he’s 12th right now could be a sign of maturity and finally understanding big picture racing.

Busch will be using a brand new chassis this week with hopes of getting his sixth career Bristol win and make him the active leader among drivers. He'll be half way to the track record of 12 held by Darrell Waltrip.

Carl Edwards is a two-time winner at Bristol that probably feels very fortunate to be where he’s at right now. In the last two races, Edwards did not have a good car, but what they did last week was amazing. After looking terrible in Saturday’s final practices, Edwards crew had to make the car better during the race. Edwards was not a contender throughout running outside the top-15, but during each pit stop, they got progressively better until ultimately finishing in fifth-place. That is the sign of championship team. Edwards best finish over the last six Bristol races was runner-up in this race last season.

Edwards will be using a chassis that saw action last season at Chicago (fourth-place) and Dover (third-place).

Sitting atop the leader board in points is Edwards’ teammate Greg Biffle. After three races, he’s the only driver to finish in the top-5 in all three. Bristol has been one of Biffle’s better tracks over his career. Although he’s never won a Cup race there, he does have an 11.8 average finish position that includes six top-5 finishes. This team is really clicking right now and although it’s early, he might be a driver to take an early shot with to win the championship. The LVH Super Book updated their future odds with Biffle at 12-to-1.

The favorites to win the championship are currently Edwards and Jimmie Johnson at 5-to-1. Just like Edwards, Johnson’s team showed why they are five-time champs. After wrecking their primary car in final practice, the No. 48 team got their back-up off the hauler and set-up in time for Johnson to run the final 20 minutes of practice. They worked on their car making it better in each pit stop and went on to contend for the win until ultimately settling for a runner-up finish.

Bristol had not been one of Johnson’s best tracks, but when they changed to the variable banking it made the track run like a mini-Dover and Johnson excelled. He captured a win in 2010 and has finished no worse than eighth in five of his last six starts.

Johnson has a pretty good car this week as well. In five 2011 starts, the chassis never finished worse than ninth and included runner-up finishes at California and Atlanta.

Matt Kenseth is a two-time Bristol winner, doing so on the old layout. He’s finished in the top-10 in each of his last five Bristol starts with a best of fourth in this race last season. He'll be using a brand new car this week.

Jeff Gordon is a five-time Bristol winner, the last coming in 2002. He’s been competitive on the new layout with three top-5 finishes, including a best of third in the fall race last season.

Tony Stewart has an even larger gap in time from his last win than Gordon does. Stewart thought Bristol was easy after winning in 2001, but since then he’s managed only three top-5 finishes in 20 starts. He was runner-up in 2010, but his last three starts have seen him finish 19th or worse.

Brad Keselowski charged hard for the win last fall and just like Kyle Busch, this track suits his attitude perfect. With all the heat on Kyle Busch from NASCAR and his sponsors, we don’t get to see the true “Rowdy” come out to play anymore, but Keselowski could be that type of villain we like to love and hate at the same time. Here’s to hoping Keselwoski picks a fight Sunday afternoon and shakes some things up in the series.

Top-5 Finish Prediction:

1) #18 Kyle Busch (6/1)
2) #16 Greg Biffle (14/1)
3) #48 Jimmie Johnson (8/1)
4) #17 Matt Kenseth (12/1)
5) # 2 Brad Keselowski (18/1)

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Food City 500 Preview and Picks
By Greg Engle

Three races, three different winners. That’s what we have to work with.

It’s tough to predict a clear favorite this early into the schedule - even a clear front runner among the manufacturers. A Ford, a Toyota and a Chevy have all gone to Victory Lane.

It doesn’t get any easier with this week’s stop at the fastest half-mile in the world, Bristol Motor Speedway, for Sunday’s Food City 500.

Things can happen in hurry at Bristol, making this week a bit of a wild-card race. However, while there hasn’t been a clear favorite among the winners so far, there has been a driver who has been a constant threat.

Jimmie Johnson has finished fourth and second in the last two races. After a disastrous start at Daytona (he was caught up in a wreck not of his own doing), Johnson has been rolling and is the favorite to win Sunday.

Johnson won his first Bristol race in March 2010 and tallied two Top 5s in last year’s Bristol events. He’s slowly climbing back up the ranks after a 25-point penalty for infractions in the pre-race inspection at Daytona. The team’s appeal of that penalty fell on deaf ears this week. Following his second-place finish last Sunday, Johnson and the Hendrick Motorsports team have momentum and extra incentive to win Sunday.

“Yeah, points are definitely important. To be honest with you, I’m not thinking about it. We have the fortune of a lot of racing left before the Chase cutoff,” Johnson said. “And Bristol: I’m so proud of the one win I have there. It’s been such a tough track on me over the years that I really want another trophy there. We’ve been very close and I think we’ll be a threat.”

Don’t count out Carl Edwards. Edwards finished second here last season and has a Top 10 and a Top 5 in the first three races. He was racing inside the Top 10 at Las Vegas last week until running out of gas on the last lap. Edwards is looking for redemption and could find that this week.

"Racing at Bristol is like fighter jets in a gymnasium," Edwards said. "The banking is so high, you drive down in the corner and the forces pushing the car into the track seem so much greater than anywhere else we go. The rate at which the car is changing direction is very fast. It always takes me a few laps in the race, 10-15 laps in, to get comfortable with the pace of it because things are happening so quickly there. It is really fun to race there."

Why not Kyle Busch? He's dominated here in the past few seasons, winning four of the last six races at Bristol and has the highest driver rating among the Top 12. But, Busch and his Toyota seem to be struggling to find their way this season. He could win Sunday, but his chances are slim.

His older brother, Kurt, is a different story. Racing for a small underfunded team, Kurt has had some highlights, despite a lack of speed at the bigger tracks. Speed won’t be the main factor Sunday - it’s all about survival at Bristol. Kurt is adept at doing just that and has five career wins at Bristol. He could surprise everyone with a sixth career win Sunday.


Jeff Gordon vs. Brad Keselowski: Gordon has five victories at Bristol, tied with the Busch brothers for the most wins. Keselowski was the last winner at Bristol. Both drivers have been struggling and will probably continue to do so Sunday, but give the nod in the matchup to Keselowski.

Kevin Harvick vs. Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Both of these Chevy drivers have shown some strength this season, but not enough to run among the favorites. Both have wins at Bristol and their average finishes and driver ratings are nearly identical, but look for Earnhardt Jr. to continue showing the same small signs of resurgence he showed last week and finish ahead of Harvick.

Bottom Line

The race winner has started from the pole 22 times - the most productive starting position. The last driver to win from the pole was Carl Edwards, in the 2008 night race. Eighty-one of 102 races have been won from a Top-10 starting position, including 52 from the first four spots. The deepest in the field that a race winner has started is 38th, by Elliott Sadler in 2001.


Jimmie Johnson (+800)
Carl Edwards (+700)
Kurt Busch (+600)

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Re: Food City 500 Betting News and Notes

NASCAR Practice Notes & Driver Ratings     
By Micah Roberts

This Week's Race: Food City 500

Practice Notes - Las Vegas
Rating     Driver     Odds     Practice 1     Qualified     Practice 2     Practice 3
1     Kyle Busch     5/1     10th     13th     2nd     2nd
Notes: Five time winner, including '11 spring race and four of his last six starts; new chassis this week.

2     Brad Keselowski     15/1     23rd     5th     21st     4th
Notes: 2011 fall winner; had a great final practice on long runs, using new chassis this week.

3     Kasey Kahne     12/1     21st     10th     6th     5th
Notes: 2007 runner-up; best average speeds in practice 3, best 10 consecutive lap average in practice 2.

4     Jeff Gordon     10/1     6th     4th     14th     9th
Notes: Five-time winner, the last coming in 2002; five top-5 finishes in last 11 starts

5     Ryan Newman     25/1     5th     3rd     3rd     1st
Notes: 2004 runner-up, his last top-5 finish. Stellar final practice with best 10 consecutive lap average.

6     Greg Biffle     12/1     11th     1st     4th     15th
Notes: 11.8 average finish in 18 starts with no career short track wins; team is in a groove right now.

7     A.J. Allmendinger     50/1     2nd     2nd     1st     17th
Notes: Outstanding two days of practices with fast average speeds; using new chassis this week.

8     Martin Truex Jr.     25/1     9th     15th     5th     8th
Notes: 2011 fall runner-up; had third fastest average speeds in final practice.

9     Matt Kenseth     12/1     17th     21st     9th     9th
Notes: Two time winner with 6.2 average finish in last four starts; using new chassis this week.

10     Dale Earnhardt Jr.     25/1     15th     18th     12th     12th
Notes: 2004 winner with 11.7 average finish; second fastest average speeds in final practice.

Note: Kahne, Earnhardt Jr and Truex Jr's fastest average speeds are based among all drivers that ran at least 60 laps in final practice. Jeff Burton ran a session high 108 laps, Jimmie Johnson 102.

Odds courtesy of the Las Vegas Hilton Super Book.

Betting Notes: Kasey Kahne has been driving me nuts the last three weeks with his practices. His car has looked the best at Phoenix, Las Vegas and now Bristol. He didn't fare well in either of the two previous races, but I still have to take a shot on him to win.

Kyle Busch is the driver to beat not only because of his five wins at Bristol, but also because of his speed in Saturday's practice. He's got some power, especially on short runs, and if it comes down to Busch on re-start with 10 laps to go, he won't be beat.

Because Busch's odds are so low (5/1), it makes the betting equation a little more difficult. You can't leave him out, but you also can't deny how good some of the others like Kahne looked. In addition to Kahne, Brad Keselowski, A.J. Allmendinger and Martin Truex Jr look great and all of them have great prices. Ryan Newman and Dale Earnhardt Jr are even worth pondering a play.

Match-up of the week: Anyone against Tony Stewart

For some reason, this just isn't one of Stewart's best tracks. He's only had three top-5 finishes in his last 20 starts and his only win came in 2001. His last three starts have seen him finish 28th, 19th and 27th.

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Re: Food City 500 Betting News and Notes

Bristol Food City 500 Picks & Predictions   

The Sprint Cup Series heads to Bristol Motor Speedway for Sunday's Food City 500. The event is the first of two Cup races there this season.

Bristol is a very popular track due to its distinct features, that include extraordinarily steep banking, an all concrete surface, two pit roads and stadium-like seating. Seven drivers over the years have posted back-to-back titles eight times there. Busch will try to do the same on Sunday.

Kyle Busch 5/1

Busch is coming off a rough weekend at Las Vegas, crashing his Nationwide car and spinning his Sprint Cup car and taking out a cone. Three years ago at Bristol, Busch became the first person to win all three NASCAR major series at the same track on the same weekend. He has 10 top 10s in 14 career Cup races at the bullring. In 2009, he defeated Denny Hamlin by less than a second for his 14th career Sprint Cup win. In four of his last seven races at Bristol, Busch has led at least 150 laps.

Jimmie Johnson 7/1

You can never count out Jimmie Johnson. He has has success at this track. JJ won in Bristol in 2010 for his 50th career title. He now stands tied for 8th with 55 titles.  He has six top-five and 11 top-10 finishes in 20 starts at Bristol. His average starts are 14.5 and average finish is 14.8. He has the sixth-highest driver rating and is ranked second in laps run in the top-15 and fourth in laps led.

Live Longshot

Kurt Busch 30/1

Here's a talented driver due to break out. Kurt Busch has won at BMS four times, including 2006, 2004, 2003 and 2002. He dominated from 2002-04 and was the last drive to repeat as champion.  Kurt Busch struggled  last Sunday, following the conclusion of the Kobalt Tools 400 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The Las Vegas native was hoping for a win in front of the home town fans but wound up with a disappointing 35th place finish due to a late race accident. His best race has been a 15th place finish at Phoenix where they completed all 312 laps.

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