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Goody’s Fast Relief 500 Betting News and Notes
Goody’s Fast Relief 500 Betting News and Notes
Driver Highlights - Martinsville
Clint Bowyer (No. 15 5-hour Energy Toyota)
One top five, six top 10s
Average finish of 15.1
Average Running Position of 14.9, 10th-best
Driver Rating of 85.8, 11th-best
Average Green Flag Speed of 90.915 mph, 10th-fastest
Jeff Burton (No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet)
One win, 10 top fives, 16 top 10s
Average finish of 14.6
Average Running Position of 14.9, 11th-best
Driver Rating of 89.5, eighth-best
269 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-most
Average Green Flag Speed of 90.977 mph, eighth-fastest
4,242 Laps in the Top 15 (60.4%), eighth-most
364 Quality Passes, eighth-most
Kyle Busch (No. 18 M&M's Toyota)
Six top fives, seven top 10s
Average finish of 16.4
Average Running Position of 13.3, sixth-best
Driver Rating of 95.8, sixth-best
279 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-most
695 Green Flag Passes, fifth-most
Average Green Flag Speed of 91.123 mph, sixth-fastest
4,832 Laps in the Top 15 (68.8%), sixth-most
438 Quality Passes, third-most
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 AMP Energy / National Guard Chevrolet)
Nine top fives, 13 top 10s
Average finish of 13.0
Average Running Position of 11.6, fifth-best
Driver Rating of 99.0, fifth-best
408 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most
Series-high 796 Green Flag Passes
Average Green Flag Speed of 91.162 mph, fifth-fastest
5,196 Laps in the Top 15 (74.0%), fourth-most
431 Quality Passes, fourth-most
Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet)
Seven wins, 25 top fives, 31 top 10s; seven poles
Average finish of 6.9
Average Running Position of 6.7, second-best
Driver Rating of 119.9, second-best
Series-high 740 Fastest Laps Run
Average Green Flag Speed of 91.487 mph, second-fastest
6,261 Laps in the Top 15 (89.2%), second-most
465 Quality Passes, second-most
Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota)
Four wins, nine top fives, 11 top 10s; two poles
Average finish of 6.5
Average Running Position of 8.8, third-best
Driver Rating of 113.6, third-best
468 Fastest Laps Run, third-most
653 Green Flag Passes, 11th-most
Average Green Flag Speed of 91.343 mph, third-fastest
5,329 Laps in the Top 15 (81.7%), third-most
430 Quality Passes, fifth-most
Kevin Harvick (No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet)
One win, three top fives, 10 top 10s
Average finish of 15.9
Average Running Position of 14.1, seventh-best
Driver Rating of 94.4, seventh-best
182 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-most
Average Green Flag Speed of 90.986 mph, seventh-fastest
4,584 Laps in the Top 15 (65.3%), seventh-most
349 Quality Passes, ninth-most
Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 MyLowe's Chevrolet)
Six wins, 14 top fives, 18 top 10s; one pole
Average finish of 5.5
Series-best Average Running Position of 6.3
Series-best Driver Rating of 122.2
684 Fastest Laps Run, second-most
625 Green Flag Passes, 12th-most
Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 91.506 mph
Series-high 6,419 Laps in the Top 15 (91.5%)
Series-high 503 Quality Passes
Jamie McMurray (No. 1 Belkin Chevrolet)
One top five, 10 top 10s; one pole
Average finish of 16.8
Driver Rating of 84.5, 12th-best
Average Green Flag Speed of 90.832 mph, 13th-fastest
3,871 Laps in the Top 15 (55.2%), 12th-most
Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 42 Target Chevrolet)
Two top fives, three top 10s
Average finish of 14.7
Average Running Position of 16.0, 12th-best
Driver Rating of 84.3, 13th-best
133 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-most
692 Green Flag Passes, sixth-most
Average Green Flag Speed of 90.846 mph, 12th-fastest
322 Quality Passes, 12th-most
Ryan Newman (No. 39 Outback Steakhouse Chevrolet)
Six top fives, 10 top 10s; three poles
Average finish of 14.4
Average Running Position of 14.6, eighth-best
Driver Rating of 89.2, ninth-best
119 Fastest Laps Run, 12th-most
716 Green Flag Passes, third-most
Average Green Flag Speed of 90.856 mph, 11th-fastest
4,075 Laps in the Top 15 (58.1%), ninth-most
369 Quality Passes, seventh-most
Tony Stewart (No. 14 Office Depot / Mobil 1 Chevrolet)
Three wins, nine top fives, 14 top 10s; three poles
Average finish of 13.4
Average Running Position of 10.3, fourth-best
Driver Rating of 102.2, fourth-best
369 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most
Average Green Flag Speed of 91.163 mph, fourth-fastest
5,165 Laps in the Top 15 (73.6%), fifth-most
326 Quality Passes, 11th-most
Re: Goody’s Fast Relief 500 Betting News and Notes
Driver Notes & Quotes for Martinsville Goody's Fast Relief 500
KEVIN HARVICK ON WINNING AT MARTINSVILLE LAST YEAR: “For us it was good to get the win out of our way and getting those solid finishes over the last couple of years has been good for us. We felt like we have always run fairly well there, we just never could put together a complete day.Really, the spring race last year, when we won, we had a tough go at it in the first half of the race, and actually wrecked and got a car tore up and were able to fix it and keep ourselves on the lead lap and make our car a lot better as we went through into the second half of the race. You know, it all worked out in the end.So it’s a race track we feel confident at. All of our cars have run well there in the past. It’s really keeping yourself out of trouble and getting to the end and hopefully by the end of the day you’re in position to do something in the top-five.”
HARVICK CHASSIS CHOICE: Kevin Harvick will pilot Chassis No. 320 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable in this weekend’s Goody’s Fast Relief 500. This former No. 33 racer was transformed to a No. 29 entry during the off-season and will turn its first competitive laps as a Budweiser is Back Chevrolet during Friday’s opening practice session.
PAUL MENARD CHASSIS CHOICE: Paul Menard will pilot Chassis No. 349 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This No. 27 Chevrolet was last seen on track at Martinsville in October 2011 where Menard finished 24th after starting in the 21st position.
JEFF BURTON CHASSIS CHOICE: Jeff Burton will race chassis No. 329 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable this weekend. This No. 31 Chevrolet, originally built in 2010, has seen significant track time over the last two seasons including Texas Motor Speedway in Nov. 2010 (started-16th, finished-36th), Bristol Motor Speedway in Aug. 2011 (started-21st, finished-15th) and New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Sept. 2011 (started-18th, finished-13th). Burton also tallied a top-five finish at Phoenix International Raceway last November, finishing fourth after starting 14th.
JEFF GORDON ON MARTINSVILLE: "The one place on the schedule that has changed the least is Martinsville. I believe the track, the setups and the tires have changed the least here compared to other tracks over the course of 20 seasons. And that’s where experience can really pay off. At other tracks, sometimes you have to reinvent yourself – along with how we reinvent the setups and the aero package that we’re racing – and that’s tough to do. The longer you’re in the sport, the tougher that is to do. Somebody like me – who has a lot of experience and who has also had success at a place like Martinsville – can continue to have that success because it’s not all about aerodynamics. It’s not about a spring and shock and sway bar combination that all of the sudden makes your car fly. I feel like Martinsville is that one place that I can go to every time and give good information back to the team to keep us fast throughout the race.”
JAMIE McMURRAY CHASSIS CHOICE: Chassis #1210. Crew Chief Kevin “Bono” Manion and the No.1 Belkin team will bring Chassis #1210 to Martinsville Speedway this weekend. This is a brand new chassis.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA CHASSIS CHOICE: Chassis #1207. Crew Chief Chris Heroy and the No.42 Target team will bring Chassis #1207 to Martinsville Speedway this weekend. This is a brand new chassis.
RYAN NEWMAN CHASSIS CHOICE: This will be the fifth start for Chassis No. 39-645, its first this season and its third start at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. The chassis made its first start last April at Martinsville, where Newman started second and finished 20th, two laps down. Newman led three laps and was in the top-10 for much of the first 300 laps of the 500-lap race, but a broken header pipe and a flat left-rear tire caused him to lose two laps. The next start for Chassis 39-645 was in July at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, where Newman started on the pole and led 119 of 301 laps en route to his 15th career Sprint Cup Series victory. The chassis returned to Loudon in September, when Newman again started on the pole and then led the first 62 laps before finishing a disappointing 25th. A cut tire with less than five laps remaining dropped Newman from 11th to 25th.
The last on-track action for this chassis came at Martinsville last fall. Newman led 41 laps and recovered from a late-race spin and made up 10 spots in the race’s final 25 laps to finish in the top-10. The car has been updated for the 2012 season and returns to action for the first time this weekend at Martinsville.
CARL EDWARDS ON MARTINSVILLE: “The Roush Fenway Fords were fast at Bristol and fast at California, and we’re going to Martinsville to put a Ford in victory lane. It will be a huge accomplishment for me as a race car driver to get my first victory at Martinsville. We got a top-10 finish the last time we were there and as an organization we’ve put a lot of focus on our short-track program. We’ve got the best cars we’ve ever had.”
EDWARDS CHASSIS CHOICE: RK-791 - This car debuted at Martinsville last fall where it finished ninth.
MATT KENSETH ON MARTINSVILLE: “Martinsville is a challenging track because it’s easy to get caught up in things that are beyond your control and you need to make sure that you try and remain patient. I never like getting run into or running into others during the race but most times, things like that happen at short tracks like Martinsville, I think that’s the most challenging aspect of racing there. There’s not a lot of room to maneuver for position since we don’t really have an outside groove as an option. We have a special paint scheme this weekend honoring USMC Corporal Josh ‘JB’ Kerns and I really hope that we can earn a finish that would make him proud.”
KENSETH CREW CHIEF JIMMY FENNIG ON MARTINSVILLE: “Martinsville is a challenging short track for drivers because it’s a place where there is such limited room to pass since there aren’t long straightaways so qualifying and handling are two aspects that we’ll spend a lot of time on this weekend. The last time we raced here we got beat off the corners a bit so we will also work on making sure our No. 17 Ford has good drive off the corners. My plan is to work on race trim and then switch over to qualifying trim so that we can get a good session working with that set-up as well.”
KENSETH CHASSIS CHOICE: Primary: RK-790 (Last ran at Martinsville, Oct. 2011 FINISHED 31ST)
GREG BIFFLE ON MARTINSVILLE: “Believe it or not, I’m actually looking forward to Martinsville. We have a brand new, super light, great car for this weekend. We’ve been working on brake packages and we feel like we have a great brake package. We’ve actually qualified well, for the most part, in the past at Martinsville. I’m really excited about Martinsville, but even more excited for the week off after.”
BIFFLE CHASSIS CHOICE: Primary: RK-807 Brand new chassis; Backup: RK-759 Last ran Phoenix as the No. 6 – finished 33rd.
MARCOS AMBROSE CHASSIS CHOICE: The No. 9 RPM team has prepared chassis No. 754 for the 500-lap race at Martinsville Speedway. This DEWALT Ford Fusion ran in both Martinsville races last season.
ARIC ALMIROLA CHASSIS CHOICE: The No. 43 Smithfield Ford will be chassis number 736. The chassis was last used at Phoenix last November and the team finished sixth.
KYLE BUSCH ON MARTINSVILLE: “I didn’t used to like Martinsville but, ever since I started working with Dave (Rogers, crew chief), we feel like we get better every time we go there and we’re getting close to finally winning one. I’ve had some decent runs there, where I’ve felt like we’ve had a car to win and had a shot to win. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get the track position toward the end of the race. Jeff (Gordon) is so good there, and Jimmie (Johnson) and Denny (Hamlin) are also good there. They’re probably the three most difficult guys to pass there because they know the place. They know how to get off the corner and how to roll the middle of the corner there. Everything is timing, and their stuff just works, whatever it is.” (NOTE: FOR SOME REASON, BUSCH'S PR PEOPLE HAVEN'T LISTED HIS CHASSIS THE LAST 2 WEEKS)
CLINT BOWYER ON MARTINSVILLE: “Martinsville is a great racetrack! I love that place as a driver and as a fan. It’s short track racing the way it should be. Track position is king at Martinsville. You talk about a place where qualifying is a big deal – Martinsville is it. You want to make sure you turn in a good lap on Saturday, because it’s hard to gain ground on race day!
BOWYER CHASSIS CHOICE: The No. 15 5-hour ENERGY team will race chassis No. 701 at Martinsville. Chassis No. 693 will serve as the backup. Both chassis are new in 2012.
Re: Goody’s Fast Relief 500 Betting News and Notes
2012 Martinsville Goody's Fast Relief 500 Storylines
None of what Tony Stewart has accomplished recently makes sense.
For one, he never wins this early in a season. Of his 46 career victories, only six came before June. And only four came prior to race No. 10. Yet, he’s 2-for-5 in this young season.
Two, with seven wins in the last 15 races, Stewart’s on a rare run. Jimmie Johnson ripped off a similar clip in 2009-10, winning four Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup races in 2009 and then three of the first five in 2010. But this has seemingly come out of nowhere for Stewart. Remember, he entered last year’s Chase winless.
Now, the three time – and defending – series champion has catapulted to fourth in the points. Impressive, especially considering Stewart has an average finish of 17.3 in his non-wins this season.
Why stop now? Martinsville Speedway’s on deck, site of Stewart’s thrilling pass – and eventual win – during last year’s Chase. Race No. 6 – the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 – is Sunday at 1 p.m. on FOX.
With much anticipation, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series returns to action this week for its second race, the Kroger 250, on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. on SPEED.
Who’s The King Of Martinsville?
Here are the contenders for the crown: Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin.
Oddly, neither won a Martinsville race last year (Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart did), but that was a rarity.
Every year since 2003, at least one of those three drivers has won a Martinsville race. And even though Martinsville’s history goes all the way back to 1949, the three already reside near the top of the track’s wins list. Gordon has seven wins (tied for third-most); Johnson has six wins (tied for fifth); and Hamlin has four wins (tied for ninth).
Gordon needs the usual Martinsville success most – he currently sits 25th (the lowest points position through five races of his career), 51 points outside the top 10.
If a Gordon victory occurs (or a Johnson, Kasey Kahne or Dale Earnhardt Jr. win), it’ll be Hendrick Motorsports’ 200th win. That scene would be fitting – Martinsville was the site of Hendrick’s first win in 1984. Hendrick would also tie Petty Enterprises from most wins all time at the Virginia short track.
Junior A Fine Pick At Martinsville
Teammates Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson will likely attract much of the "favorites" attention this weekend. But Dale Earnhardt Jr. best not be counted out.
Owning a Driver Rating of 99.0, Martinsville is Earnhardt’s top track in terms of the Loop Data statistic.
Earnhardt has finished in the top 10 in each of the last three Martinsville races, and was runner up to Kevin Harvick in this race last year.
Harvick Milestone Weekend At Track With ‘Happy’ Memories
Kevin Harvick, defending winner of this weekend’s race, will start his 400th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday.
Harvick, currently second in the points, has enjoyed a prolific first 399 races. The Bakersfield, Calif., native has 18 career wins including the 2007 Daytona 500. Harvick will also race in Saturday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race.
This Year’s Owner Points Now Determine Guaranteed Status
Last season’s top 35 cars in owner points were locked into each of the first five races of 2012. Now, that luxury is gone.
From now until the end of the season, the 2012 owner points determine guaranteed status. That means a tougher challenge for Landon Cassill and the No. 83 BK Racing Toyota. Owner of guaranteed spot in the first five races, Cassill and his team will now have to qualify their way into this weekend’s event at Martinsville.
Re: Goody’s Fast Relief 500 Betting News and Notes
Goody's Fast Relief 500 Preview
By Micah Roberts
In the last couple of decades, Martinsville has taken a back seat to Bristol because the higher banked Bristol produced more excitement. Although each track is essentially the same half-mile in distance, drivers at Martinsville go nearly 30 mph slower. But over the last two seasons a massive change of opinion has shifted with fans all over the country where Martinsville has become the most attractive brand of short track racing in NASCAR.
The main culprit in the perception shift is action, with drivers getting angry with one another and Bristol doesn’t have that anymore ever since they changed the surface in 2007 making it a multi-grooved track.
At Martinsville, the fastest way around the track is on the bottom and drivers fight like hungry wolves to get there, and stay there. If a slower driver doesn’t want to do the gentlemanly thing and let the faster one pass, NASCAR justice occurs in an instant with the slower driver getting bumped out of the way against his wishes. This is where the action happens and the fun begins, and it‘s something that only Martinsville provides making it the most unique track on the circuit.
“It’s still that old short-track feel," Tony Stewart said about Martinsville. "That’s what I like. We run a lot of 1.5-mile tracks during the year and it’s the only place that races like this. We’ve got two half-mile tracks that we race on. This one’s quite a bit different than Bristol, and that’s what makes it fun. You can out-brake guys and you can run the outside if you get a shot. It’s racing the way we all grew up racing.”
Over the last decade, only a select few drivers have been able to master it. The combination of Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Denny Hamlin have won 14 of the last 18 Martinsville races. Just by playing the odds, it’s likely that one of them will win again this week.
However, we do have last season to account for where neither of the Martinsville “Big Three” won. Kevin Harvick won for the first time in the spring and Tony Stewart won in the fall during his incredible Chase run. For Harvick, he’s on a run of finishing fourth or better in his last three starts there. For Stewart, it broke a string of poor finishes there and gave him his second career win on the track.
The driver to key on this week out of all of them has to be Denny Hamlin. It would take a lot of work for the native Virginian not to win this race because of how dialed in this team is. He’s got a Phoenix win under his belt already this season and probably could have won at California last week had it not been for rain because he had the best car on the track.
Beyond all of Hamlin’s past exploits at Martinsville that has seen him capture four wins with an average finish of 6.5, we also have to give him the nod because of new crew chief Darian Grubb. Not only did Grubb set-up cars for Jimmie Johnson’s six Martinsville wins, but he also helped Stewart get there last year. The combination of Hamlin’s natural skills here and Grubb setting up the car will be a formidable opponent for every driver on Sunday.
The one outsider who could break his winless streak of 134 races is Dale Earnhardt Jr. and he's excited about racing there this week.
“I look forward going to Martinsville," Earnhardt Jr. said earlier this week. "I always have a lot of fun there. I think everybody really enjoys running there. It’s a pretty fun track. We’ve had some good success there. I’m hoping to have a good race like we did last year and maybe have an opportunity to try to be in the battle for the win.”
Junior has finished seventh or better in seven of his last 10 Martinsville starts that includes two runner-up finishes, including this race last year. He’s never won at Martinsville, but he’s been running very well this season which should give the team some momentum coming in.
This race ultimately runs through Hamlin and if looking to play anyone else, it’s with the hope that something either happens to Hamlin’s car or the pit crew makes an error late in the race. There is just too much in Hamlin’s favor this week.
Top-5 Finish Prediction:
1) #11 Denny Hamlin (6/1)
2) #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr (14/1)
3) #24 Jeff Gordon (7/1)
4) #48 Jimmie Johnson (7/1)
5) #29 Kevin Harvick (10/1)
Re: Goody’s Fast Relief 500 Betting News and Notes
Driver Handicaps: Martinsville
By: Jeff Wackerlin
To help you make your fantasy racing picks, Motor Racing Network brings you our weekly detailed look at some of the field for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Goody's Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway.
Who's HOT at Martinsville
• Six-time winner Jimmie Johnson leads all drivers with a 5.4 average finish.
• Denny Hamlin has four wins and an average finish of 3.7 in his last 10 starts.
• Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers in wins (7), top fives (25) and laps led (3,094).
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. has led 414 laps and posted seven top 10s in the last 10 races.
• Defending race winner Kevin Harvick has finished in the top five in the last three races.
• Tony Stewart won last fall for his third top 10 in six starts with Stewart Haas Racing.
Keep an Eye On at Martinsville
• Jeff Burton (12.7), Carl Edwards (12.9), Ryan Newman (13.5) and Clint Bowyer (13.6) each rank in the top 10 in average finish among all drivers that have competed in all 10 races wih the COT at Martinsville.
• Kyle Busch has led 277 laps and posted an average finish of 11.3 in his last three starts at Martinsville.
• Martin Truex Jr. has finished in the top 10 in the last two races of the 2012 season.
• Jamie McMurray won the pole and finished seventh in this event last year at Martinsville.
• Series point leader Greg Biffle has only finished in the top 10 twice in 18 starts at Martinsville.
• Juan Pablo Montoya finished fourth in this event last year for his second top five in the last five Martinsville races.
• Joey Logano has a 9.8 average finish in his last four Martinsville starts.
• Matt Kenseth, who finished sixth in this event last year at Martinsville, is ranked in the top five in the 2012 season driver ratings.
MotorRacingNetwork.com Staff Picks
Jeff Wackerlin: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Pete Pistone: Jimmie Johnson
Ricky Hamber: Denny Hamlin
Craig Moore: Tony Stewart
John Singler: Jeff Gordon
Driver Notes - Ordered by current standings
(All stats/notes are in regards to Martinsville unless noted)
Greg Biffle: 22.4 average finish and 21 laps led in 18 starts; Last of two top 10s came in this event in 2010 in 10th; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 807) in the Goody's Fast Relief 500.
Kevin Harvick: Defending race winner; Coming off third consecutive top-five finish; 15.9 average finish in 21 starts; Seventh-best driver rating in the past 14 races; Will race a car (chassis No. 320) that is formerly out of the No. 33 stable.
Dale Earnhardt Jr: Finished second in this event last year; Coming off third consecutive top 10; 13.0 average finish in 24 starts; Fifth-best driver rating in the past 14 races; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 654) that he ran in both races at Martinsville in 2011.
Tony Stewart: Coming off third win in 26 starts; 16.2 average finish in six starts with Stewart Haas Racing; Fourth-best driver rating in the past 14 races; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 587) that he drove to the win at Martinsville last fall.
Martin Truex Jr: Coming off third top 10; 20.5 average finish in four starts with Michael Waltrip Racing; Has only led one lap in 12 starts.
Matt Kenseth: Last of seven top 10s came in this event last year in sixth; 16.5 average finish in 24 starts; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 790) that he finished 31st with at Martinsville last fall.
Denny Hamlin: Last of four wins came in the 2010 fall race for his third straight; 6.5 average finish and 1,096 laps led in 13 starts; Dominated this event in 2009, leading 296 laps before finishing second; Third-best driver rating in the past 14 races.
Clint Bowyer: Last of six top 10s came in this event last year in ninth; 15.1 average finish in 12 starts; Will make first track start with Michael Waltrip Racing.
Jimmie Johnson: Coming off 14th top five with a runner-up finish; Last of six wins came in this event in 2009; 5.4 average finish and 1,677 laps led in 20 starts; Best driver rating in the past 14 races; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 653) that he finished 11th and second with, respectively, last season at Martinsville.
Ryan Newman: Coming off 10th top 10 in with a 10th-place finish; 12.8 average finish in six starts with Stewart Haas Racing; 14.4 average finish and 182 laps led in 20 starts; Ninth-best driver rating in the past 14 races; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 645) that he last finished 10th with at Martinsville last fall; This is also the same car he won the July race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with.
Paul Menard: Has yet to finish in the top 10 in nine starts; 22.7 average finish; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 349) that he finished 24th with at Martinsville last fall.
Carl Edwards: Coming off fifth top 10 with a ninth-place finish; 16.3 average finish in 15 starts; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 791) that he raced last fall at Martinsville.
Joey Logano: Finished in the top 10 in both 2010 races; 13.8 average finish and no laps led in six starts.
Kyle Busch: Last of seven top 10s came in this event last year in third; Has combined to lead 277 laps in last two starts; Sixth-best driver rating in the past 14 races.
Jeff Burton: Coming off 16th top 10 in 35 starts in sixth; Combined to lead 274 laps in both races in 2010; Eighth-best driver rating in the past 14 races; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 329) that he last finished fourth with in the 2011 November race at Phoenix International Raceway.
Brad Keselowski: 14.5 average finish in four starts; Best finish came in the 2010 fall race in 10th; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 818) in the Goody's Fast Relief 500.
Juan Pablo Montoya: Last of three top 10s came in this event last year in fourth; 14.7 average finish in 10 starts; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 1207) in the Goody's Fast Relief 500.
Bobby Labonte: Winner of this event in 2002 with Joe Gibbs Racing; 29.5 average finish in two starts with JTG-Daugherty Racing.
Jamie McMurray: Won the pole and finished seventh in this event last year; Finish was 10th top 10 in 18 starts; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 1210) in the Goody's Fast Relief 500.
Kurt Busch: Winner of the 2002 fall race with Roush Racing; Last of four top 10s came in 2005; Will make first track start with Phoenix Racing in a car (chassis No. 524) that the team used in a number of short-track races in 2011.
Jeff Gordon: Leads all drivers in wins (7), top fives (25), top 10s (31), poles (7) and laps led (3,094); Finished fifth and third, respectively, in 2011; Second-best driver rating in the past 14 races.
Kasey Kahne: Last of two top 10s came in 2006; 20.7 average finish in 16 starts; Will make first track start with Hendrick Motorsports.
Brian Vickers: Last of two top 10s came in this event in 2010 in sixth; 20.5 average finish in 13 starts; Will make first track start with Michael Waltrip Racing; Led 125 laps and finished fifth in first start with the team, and in 2012, at Bristol Motor Speedway last month.
Re: Goody’s Fast Relief 500 Betting News and Notes
Goody’s Fast Relief 500 Preview and Picks
By Greg Engle
Welcome to the world according to Tony Stewart. As the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to the smallest track on the circuit, Martinsville Speedway for Sunday’s Goody’s Fast Relief 500, Stewart aims to continue his early-season momentum.
Stewart’s season thus far though has a lot of people wondering just what he’s up to. Based on his past history, Stewart shouldn’t be winning this early in the season. Of his 46 career victories, only six came before June and only four came prior to race No. 10.
Yet, he rolls into Martinsville with two wins in the first five races this season. Overall, Stewart has now won seven of his last 15 starts.
Last week, Stewart was our spoiler at California and that’s exactly what he did, charging to the front and winning the rain-shortened race. Expect him to repeat that at Martinsville, where he takes over the role of favorite this week.
Stewart staged an amazing pass late in October’s race there and went on to victory, giving him three wins at the .526-mile track. Stewart says he loves racing old school-style at Martinsville.
“It’s still that old short-track feel. That’s what I like,” Stewart said. “We run a lot of 1.5-mile tracks during the year and it’s the only place that races like this. We’ve got two half-mile tracks that we race on. This one’s quite a bit different than Bristol, and that’s what makes it fun. You can out-brake guys and you can run the outside if you get a shot. It’s racing the way we all grew up racing.”
Just because Stewart is on top of the world right now doesn’t mean he can’t be knocked off it. In the other three races this season, his average finish is 17.3. Should he be off his game Sunday, there is a driver ready to pounce.
Jimmie Johnson is the guy Stewart passed in those closing laps to win at Martinsville in October. Johnson is second among all active drivers in wins there with six and is looking for redemption Sunday.
“I do have a lot of success at Martinsville, “Johnson said. “I certainly want to get back to my winning ways there. When I think of how close we were to victory last fall; it didn’t happen, but we led a lot of laps and was a factor in the end. I’m looking forward to going back and trying to win there again.”
This week’s spoiler is Denny Hamlin. The Virginia native considers Martinsville his home track and he’s just behind Johnson in wins among active drivers with four. Hamlin has a victory this season and has won three of the last five races at Martinsville. He has a solid shot at joining Stewart as the only other double winner in 2012.
Head to Head
Dale Earnhardt Jr. vs. Jeff Gordon: The Hendrick Motorsports drivers are this week’s primetime matchup. Gordon leads all active drivers in wins at Martinsville with seven. However, his last win here came in 2005 and he seems to be somewhat off his game this season.
Earnhardt has never won at Martinsville, but seems to be building momentum. While the odds to win are against both drivers this Sunday, look for Earnhardt to continue moving forward and finish ahead of Gordon.
Brian Vickers vs. Kevin Harvick: Vickers returns to the seat for Michael Waltrip Racing Sunday. His last outing came at Bristol, where he finished a surprising fifth. Harvick is the defending winner of this race but has been slow out of the gate. Harvick will become the 50th driver to start 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup races Sunday and will at least finish ahead of Vickers Sunday.
Kurt Busch won the 2002 fall race from the 36th starting position - the furthest back a race winner has started.
Jimmie Johnson (+500)
Denny Hamlin (+500)
Re: Goody’s Fast Relief 500 Betting News and Notes
NASCAR Practice Notes & Driver Ratings
By Micah Roberts
This Week's Race: Goody’s Fast Relief 500
Practice Notes - Martinsville
Rating Driver Odds Practice 1 Practice 2 Qualified Fall 11*
1 Jeff Gordon 7/1 1st 1st 9th 3rd
Notes: Seven-time winner with 15 top-5 finishes in last 18 starts; thoroughly dominated practices.
2 Denny Hamlin 4/1 3rd 27th 3rd 5th
Notes: Four-time winner with nine top-5 finishes in last 11 starts; top average speed in practice 1.
3 Kevin Harvick 10/1 12th 14th 2nd 4th
Notes: 2011 spring winner with 2.6 average finish in last three starts; great average lap times in practice.
4 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 15/1 4th 18th 14th 7th
Notes: Two-time runner-up with nine top-5 finishes; using Martinsville runner-up car from last spring.
5 Tony Stewart 6/1 7th 23rd 15th 1st
Notes: Three-time winner, including last fall and is using the same winning chassis this week.
6 Ryan Newman 25/1 5th 4th 5th 10th
Notes: Strong in practice using winning Loudon chassis that also led 44 laps at Martinsville last year.
7 Jimmie Johnson 9/2 38th 16th 22nd 2nd
Notes: Six-time winner with average finish of 5.5 in 20 starts; using runner-up chassis from last fall.
8 Brad Keselowski 20/1 11th 3rd 7th 17th
Notes: Fresh off a short track win at Bristol two races ago, fast average speeds in both practices.
9 Clint Bowyer 25/1 9th 17th 4th 19th
Notes: Best finish was fifth in 2009, but has consistent 15.1 average finish in 12 starts; good practices.
10 Kyle Busch 6/1 2nd 29th 8th 27th
Notes: Six top-5 finishes, including third last spring. His tenacity always suits him well on short tracks.
* Results from October 30, 2011 Tums Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville, the last race run on the track.
Note: Only two scheduled Friday practice sessions with qualifying run on Saturday.
Odds courtesy of the LVH Super Book.
Betting Notes: After watching what Jeff Gordon did on Friday, he has to be at the top of the list in any handicapping equation followed by Denny Hamlin. Drivers with a little higher odds that should compete well include Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Ryan Newman and Brad Keselowski. I will personally make the most cash this week if Junior wins, so that will be who I root for the most this week.
There aren’t too many surprises at Martinsville over the last decade which is a dramatic change from how things used to be. It wasn’t uncommon to see lower funded teams come in and win races at high paying odds offered by the sports books. Drivers like Ricky Rudd, Bobby Hamilton, John Andretti and Ricky Craven all paid out large odds of 30-to-1 or higher, but in the last decade it’s been the Johnson, Gordon and Hamlin trio that have hogged most of the wins at low prices.
As for Johnson this week, he looks about as bad as can ever be remembered during practice and qualifying at Martinsville. However, when the day is over, you’ll likely still see Johnson somewhere in the top-10 making the most out of what appears to be a sluggish car. I wouldn’t recommend betting against Johnson in match-ups unless the chalk was way overpriced against him.
Match-up of the week: Joey Logano vs. Greg Biffle
The LVH Super Book had this a pick ‘em prior to the weekend and while it’s hard to ignore Biffle’s great start to the season, it’s also hard to ignore both of their past history at Martinsville. This has been one of Logano’s best overall tracks in his three years on tour in the Cup series while Biffle has never had a top-5 finish on the track. Logano’s average practice times went well enough to make the play on him against several drivers, including Biffle, a confident one.
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