STP 400 Betting News and Notes

STP 400 Betting News and Notes

Odds & Ends - Kansas
VegasInsider.com

Kansas Speedway Data

Race #: 8 of 36 (04-22-12)
Track Size: 1.5 miles
Race Length: 400.5 miles
Banking/corners: 15 degrees
Banking/straights: 10.4 degrees
Frontstretch: 2,685 feet
Backstretch: 2,207 feet

Top 12 Driver Rating at Kansas

Jimmie Johnson 120.6
Greg Biffle 118.0
Tony Stewart 105.9
Jeff Gordon 105.4
Matt Kenseth 101.5
Carl Edwards 97.3
Mark Martin 92.9
Kurt Busch 90.9
Brad Keselowski 90.8
Kevin Harvick 90.0
Clint Bowyer 88.7
Denny Hamlin 85.1

Note: Driver Rating compiled from 2005-2011 races (eight total) at Kansas.

Qualifying/Race Data

2011 pole winner: Kurt Busch,174.752 mph, 30.901 seconds
2011 race winner: Brad Keselowski, (137.184 mph, 06-05-11)
Track qualifying record: Matt Kenseth, (180.856 mph, 29.858 seconds, 10-08-05)
Track race record: Greg Biffle, (138.077 mph, 11-03-10)

Driver Ratings for Winners

Driver/Year (Driver Rating-Series Driver Rating Rank)
Brad Keselowski/2011 Spring (76.1-17th)
Greg Biffle/2010 (132.3-2nd)
Tony Stewart/2009 (91.3-9th)
Jimmie Johnson/2008 (115.6-2nd)
Greg Biffle/2007 (115.4-3rd)
Tony Stewart/2006 (117.6-3rd)

(* Pre-Race Driver Ratings of the year the driver won at Kansas Speedway (2011 spring race and previous five races).

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Driver Highlights - Kansas
VegasInsider.com

Greg Biffle (No. 16 3M / Novec Ford)

Two wins, six top fives, eight top 10s; one pole
Average finish of 8.3
Series-best Average Running Position of 6.5
Driver Rating of 118.0, second-best
190 Fastest Laps Run, second-most
Average Green Flag Speed of 162.291 mph, second-fastest
Series-high 1,957 Laps in the Top 15 (93.9%)
346 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green), second-most
   
Clint Bowyer (No. 15 5-hour Energy Toyota)

One top five, three top 10s
Average finish of 12.0
Average Running Position of 15.4, 11th-best
Driver Rating of 88.7, 11th-best
566 Green Flag Passes, fifth-most
Average Green Flag Speed of 161.540 mph, seventh-fastest

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

Three top 10s; one pole
Average finish of 17.7
Average Running Position of 15.0, 10th-best
Driver Rating of 90.9, eighth-best
110 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most
534 Green Flag Passes, 12th-most
Average Green Flag Speed of 161.435 mph, eighth-fastest
1,186 Laps in the Top 15 (56.9%), 10th-most

Carl Edwards (No. 99 Aflac Ford)

Four top fives, seven top 10s
Average finish of 10.7
Average Running Position of 12.7, sixth-best
Driver Rating of 97.3, sixth-best
113 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most
540 Green Flag Passes, 11th-most
Average Green Flag Speed of 161.654 mph, fifth-fastest
1,368 Laps in the Top 15 (65.6%), sixth-most
302 Quality Passes, fifth-most

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

Two wins, eight top fives, nine top 10s
Average finish of 10.3
Average Running Position of 8.3, third-best
Driver Rating of 105.4, fourth-best
99 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-most
Average Green Flag Speed of 162.136 mph, third-fastest
1,884 Laps in the Top 15 (90.4%), second-most
321 Quality Passes, fourth-most

Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota)

Two top fives, two top 10s
Average finish of 15.8
Average Running Position of 15.8, 13th-best
Driver Rating of 85.1, 12th-best
44 Fastest Laps Run, 12th-most
555 Green Flag Passes, ninth-most
Average Green Flag Speed of 161.427 mph, ninth-fastest
1,324 Laps in the Top 15 (63.5%), ninth-most
297 Quality Passes, sixth-most

Kevin Harvick (No. 29 Rheem Chevrolet)

One top five, five top 10s
Average finish of 13.6
Average Running Position of 13.5, ninth-best
Driver Rating of 90.0, 10th-best
64 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-most
599 Green Flag Passes, second-most
Average Green Flag Speed of 161.418 mph, 11th-fastest
1,335 Laps in the Top 15 (64.1%), eighth-most
270 Quality Passes, eighth-most

Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet)

Two wins, four top fives, nine top 10s; three poles
Average finish of 8.4
Average Running Position of 7.0, second-best
Series-best Driver Rating of 120.6
Series-high 316 Fastest Laps Run
566 Green Flag Passes, fifth-most
Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 162.485 mph
1,879 Laps in the Top 15 (90.2%), third-most
Series-high 364 Quality Passes

Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet)

One top five, three top 10s; two poles
Average finish of 17.0
Average Running Position of 15.7, 12th-best
Driver Rating of 85.0, 13th-best
66 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-most
568 Green Flag Passes, fourth-most
Average Green Flag Speed of 161.277 mph, 13th-fastest
1,146 Laps in the Top 15 (55.0%), 12th-most
216 Quality Passes, 12th-most

Matt Kenseth (No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford)

Three top fives, six top 10s; one pole
Average finish of 18.0
Average Running Position of 11.1, fifth-best
Driver Rating of 101.5, fifth-best
108 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-most
Average Green Flag Speed of 161.583 mph, sixth-fastest
1,589 Laps in the Top 15 (76.2%), fifth-most
259 Quality Passes, ninth-most

Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge)

One win, two top fives, two top 10s
Average finish of 10.0
Average Running Position of 13.2, eighth-best
Driver Rating of 90.8, ninth-best

Mark Martin (No. 55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota)

One win, two top fives, five top 10s; one pole
Average finish of 13.1
Average Running Position of 12.9, seventh-best
Driver Rating of 92.9, seventh-best
Average Green Flag Speed of 161.426 mph, 10th-fastest
1,358 Laps in the Top 15 (65.2%), seventh-most
210 Quality Passes, 13th-most

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


Two wins, five top fives, eight top 10s
Average finish of 12.2
Average Running Position of 8.7, fourth-best
Driver Rating of 105.9, third-best
137 Fastest Laps Run, third-most
Average Green Flag Speed of 161.960 mph, fourth-fastest
1,740 Laps in the Top 15 (83.5%), fourth-most
322 Quality Passes, third-most

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Re: STP 400 Betting News and Notes

STP 400 Preview
By Micah Roberts
VegasInsider.com

Greg Biffle’s win last week at Texas was his first of the year ending a 49-race winless streak and lengthened his points lead in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. With the win, it showed Biffle to be much more than just a flash in the pan who might be gobbled up by the Jimmie Johnson’s and Tony Stewart’s of the series. No, this version of Greg Biffle has the look of a being a champion who could become the first to win Championships in all three major NASCAR series.

The odds at the LVH Super Book also reflect the sudden change in perception. Although Biffle has finished no worse than 13th in any race this season, he was still listed at 12-to-1 to win the title going into Texas. After proving he could close out a race with a dominating performance, the LVH dropped him all the way to 8-to-1 as one of the favorites just behind Johnson and Stewart (5/1).

Biffle has now proven to be one of the elite in the series on the type of tracks that win championships, which is the 1.5 and 2-mile tracks. Stewart may have two wins on those tracks (Las Vegas and California), but he laid an egg at Texas and no one on the No. 14 team can explain why, either. Biffle, on the other hand, now has a win at Texas, third at Las Vegas and sixth at California which suggests his team is dialed in on these tracks and won’t be going away anytime soon.

Guess what kind of track comes up this week? Of course, another 1.5-mile track. The schedule is littered with them. You can’t win the Chase unless you can run well on the 1.5-mile tracks, which five of the 10 Chase races are.

Biffle could get greedy after satisfying his winning thirst last week because Kansas Speedway has been virtually owned by him. No one has a better average finish at Kansas (8.3) than Biffle and no one looks better than him right now. He’s got the best of both worlds in his favor right now: current form and past history.

He has two wins at Kansas, but what’s amazing about his runs there is that they have been great even when their team was going through funks. He hasn’t finished worse than 12th since 2003 and has finished in the top-3 in six of his last nine starts. Biffle should once again be in good shape at Kansas and will be using his Vegas chassis to get it done.

A driver who took an immediate liking to Kansas at the same Biffle did when they were rookies in 2002 is Jimmie Johnson. Johnson is just behind Biffle in career average finish (8.4) at Kansas and has won two of the last five races run there, including last fall. Johnson finished runner-up last week at Texas, his second runner-up on a 1.5-mile track this season.

Tony Stewart is a two-time Kansas winner and should be given a free pass for last week at Texas. It was just one of those freak things that happens once in a while. They couldn’t get his primary or back-up car set properly at Texas, but their winning Las Vegas and California notes should serve them well at the flatter Kansas layout. The banking is flatter than Vegas and almost the same as California.

Jeff Gordon won the first two Kansas races in 2001 and 2002 and has eight top-5 finishes in 12 career starts, but can't really explain why he's had so much success.

“For whatever reason, we have run well here since the beginning,” Gordon said. “We won the first two races and, even though we experienced engine issues in the fall, we ran well in both races here last year. And I think our cars are even better this year.”

Gordon looked strong last week at Texas with a fourth-place run and may have had a car capable of winning, but the long final green flag run never allowed him to get into position close to the leader. His run last week was his first top-5 of the season and moved him up to 17th in the standings.

Clint Bowyer is a Kansas native and has always given it his best on his home track and this week will be no different.

“Anytime I go back to Kansas it’s always busy," said Bowyer, who had a career best runner-up finish at Kansas in 2007. "I’ll have a lot of different people pulling in a lot of different directions for appearances because of the fact that it’s your home track, but I’m getting in on Wednesday night and have an appearance at the Dealers Auto Auction and from there it just keeps rolling. That’s the thing – it’s difficult to go home because of getting pulled in all the different directions—all the while trying to focus on getting a good run, because that’s really what’s important to you the most there. It’s important to me to run well in front of all my fans, friends and family.”

And the stats prove that Bowyer has run well as he's averaged a 12th-place finish in his seven starts. He'll also have the luxury this week of using a great chassis that finished sixth in Las Vegas last month.

The Michael Waltrip Racing team has been flexing their muscles at almost every track and are on the brink of finally breaking through with a win. Last week it was Mark Martin and Martin Truex Jr who finished in the top-6. This week, look for Bowyer to be up there.

Another driver that has home ties to the area is Carl Edwards who hails from nearby Columbia, Missouri. This Sunday, Edwards will try to do all he can to get his first win on the track.

“There would be no bigger win on the circuit than Kansas for me," said Edwards, who will be using a new chassis this week. "If I had to choose winning one race throughout the year, this would be the one I pick. The amount of pride that I would have winning that close to home and in front of so many people that are friends of mine, and people that have helped me would be huge. We have had some pretty good mile-and-a-half race cars and we get two shots at it each year. That race for me, whether it is right or wrong, I will put as much emphasis or pressure on myself as I can to go win there.”

Edwards has a solid 10.7 average finish and finished fifth in both races last season.

Brad Keselowski finished first and third in the two Kansas races and can't be dismissed despite some recent issues. Matt Kenseth had his best career finish last fall with a fourth-place finish, which is kind of surprising because of how well Kenseth usually does on these type of tracks. Kenseth should have a much better record there with at least a win considering how well he's done on similar tracks..

Keselowski’s win last year was also a surprise, but it’s very rare that surprises happen at Kansas. The driver who wins the race can usually be identified earlier in practice runs. It’s one of the better tracks where great practice times translate to race day.

Top-5 Finish Prediction:

1) #48 Jimmie Johnson (7/1)
2) #14 Tony Stewart (7/1)
3) #16 Greg Biffle (7/1)
4) #15 Clint Bowyer (25/1)
5) #24 Jeff Gordon (12/1)

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Re: STP 400 Betting News and Notes

Driver Notes & Quotes for 2012 Kansas STP 400
NASCAR.com

MATT KENSETH ON KANSAS: “One of the aspects about Kansas that makes it a little different is the pavement, and how the surface has started to wear out over the years, which is a good thing for us when we’re racing. It’s important to have good balance on new tires in order for our EcoBoost Ford to still be good at the end of a run. We work hard during practices to make sure that our car drives well through the whole run at Kansas. Kansas is a track where cars can be aero-tight so you want to make sure that you have all of the handling the best it can be for the race so that you’re able to pass for position when you need to.”

KENSETH CHASSIS CHOICE: Primary: RK-741 (Last run at Las Vegas)

CARL EDWARDS ON KANSAS: “There would be no bigger win on the circuit than Kansas for me. If I had to choose winning one race throughout the year, this would be the one I pick. The amount of pride that I would have winning that close to home and in front of so many people that are friends of mine, and people that have helped me would be huge. We have had some pretty good mile-and-a-half race cars and we get two shots at it each year. That race for me, whether it is right or wrong, I will put as much emphasis or pressure on myself as I can to go win there.”

EDWARDS CHASSIS CHOICE: The Aflac team will be bringing chassis RK-814 to Kansas. This is a brand new car.

GREG BIFFLE ON KANSAS: “I’m ready for Kansas. Kansas is a great track and I have two wins there. We are coming off the win at Texas and I’m ready to go. Kansas and Texas might be the same distance, but they are extremely different tracks. Kansas is much flatter and the track is more uniform from one end to another. Hopefully we can follow up our Texas win with another victory in Kansas with our 3M Novec 1230 Ford.”

BIFFLE CHASSIS CHOICE: Primary - RK-777, Last ran Las Vegas – finished third; Backup - RK-786, Last ran Homestead – finished 35th

ARIC ALMIROLA ON STP AND KANSAS: “It’s really cool to help STP and ‘The King’ help celebrate 40 years together this weekend. This is going to be my first time racing a Cup car at Kansas so it’s cool that I’m doing it in an STP car. This scheme is so iconic for our sport and it’s an honor to be able to race it this weekend.

‘It’s funny that this is my 43rd start in the Cup Series weekend, too. Hopefully that’s a good omen. I have had a few good races at Kansas in the Trucks and Nationwide car, that’s going to help me be ready for the Cup car. I’m not too worried about this being my first start with the Cup car. We’ve got too many cool things going on to worry about that.

“I just think it’s awesome that STP has been with Richard and the Petty family for so long. You just don’t see that much anymore in the sport. STP and Richard are synonymous with winning races and championships. Hopefully we can get another win for them this weekend.”

ALMIROLA CHASSIS CHOICE: The No. 43 STP Ford will be chassis number 752. This is the same chassis the team ran at California earlier this year.

MARCOS AMBROSE ON KANSAS: “I like the 1.5-mile race tracks so Kansas is one of my favorites. We tend to have really fast cars and run up front at the intermediate tracks, so hopefully we can do the same this weekend at Kansas Speedway. We had a tough break last weekend in Texas (a 1.5-mile track), but we ran up front the entire race which gives me great confidence in our intermediate track program. I know the guys will give me a fast DEWALT Ford this weekend, we just need to get on track and show everyone what we are capable of doing.”

AMBROSE CHASSIS CHOICE: The No. 9 RPM team has prepared chassis No. 784 for the 267-lap race at Kansas Speedway. This DEWALT Ford Fusion ran at Kansas in last fall’s event.

MARTIN TRUEX JR ON KANSAS: “Kansas is a tough track for me to get a hold of. It will be another good place to really gauge the strength of our team. The key to Kansas is finding the right balance especially over the tar strips. There’s about five of them and when the sun is out, the strips make it extremely slick out there. It’s one of the toughest tracks for me so it will be nice to work with Mark (Martin) and Clint (Bowyer) as they’ve had strong runs at Kansas and their input will be a big help.”

MARK MARTIN ON TRUEX: “Martin Truex Jr. has been phenomenal, phenomenal. The teamwork I’m feeling right now at MWR is second to none where I’ve ever been at. Martin Truex, Jr., is really, really engaged and he’s working hard to help the whole program. We’re racing three cars to put two in the Chase for sure and win races and try to go toe-to-toe with the likes of Hendrick (Motorsports) and Roush (Fenway Racing) and those guys. That’s a tall order for right now. I’m very proud of the results we’re getting. It’s coming from a lot of good attitudes and hard-working people.”

MARTIN ON KANSAS: “After Texas I’m really excited, but I was excited anyway. I love going to Kansas Speedway. There’s nothing else that I find quite as much fun as going to work with a great race team with a great attitude. So it’s fun for me to go to every race that I get to go to. But with the great run we had in Texas we’ll be able to roll this setup logic into next week’s car. We’re still trying to improve on our long haul — getting a little easier on the tires so the thing will stay faster. If we can make any more improvement maybe we can get right up there and make some sparks for those guys. It’s a great place. It’s almost like a home track because I raced so much up in Springfield (Mo.) and I-70 Speedway and around there, so we should have a lot of charged-up fans.”

MARTIN CHASSIS CHOICE: Primary 720 - finished 18th at Las Vegas in 2012. Backup 708 – has not raced in 2012.

CLINT BOWYER ON KANSAS: “Anytime I go back to Kansas it’s always busy. I’ll have a lot of different people pulling in a lot of different directions for appearances because of the fact that it’s your home track, but I’m getting in on Wednesday night and have an appearance at the Dealers Auto Auction and from there it just keeps rolling. That’s the thing – it’s difficult to go home because of getting pulled in all the different directions—all the while trying to focus on getting a good run, because that’s really what’s important to you the most there. It’s important to me to run well in front of all my fans, friends and family.”

BOWYER CHASSIS CHOICE: The No. 15 5-hour ENERGY team will race chassis No. 716 at Kansas. Bowyer finished sixth with No. 716 in Las Vegas. Chassis No. 721 will serve as the backup and previously served as backup at Texas, Fontana and Vegas but never raced.

KURT BUSCH CHASSIS CHOICE: Chassis No. 665 - This weekend’s STP 400 will be the second race of the 2012 season for this chassis. This is the same car the No. 51 Phoenix Racing team competed with at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March. The car was rebuilt after being caught up in an accident late in the race at Las Vegas. Busch earned his best starting position of the season with this chassis at Las Vegas, where he started 12th. The car was built in 2011 and was used only once last season – the June race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, where driver Landon Cassill scored a 12th-place finish after starting 12th.

JAMIE McMURRAY CHASSIS CHOICE: Chassis #1208 - Crew Chief Kevin “Bono” Manion and the No. 1 McDonald’s team will bring Chassis #1208 to Kansas Speedway this weekend. This chassis made its debut this year at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, finishing eighth, McMurray’s first top-10 of the season.

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA CHASSIS CHOICE: Chassis #1205 - Crew Chief Chris Heroy and the No. 42 Target team will bring Chassis #1205 to Kansas Speedway this weekend. This chassis was originally brought to Las Vegas Motor Speedway as the primary car, but after contact with the wall in practice, Montoya was forced to go to a back-up car.

KEVIN HARVICK ON WHAT IT TAKES TO DO WELL AT KANSAS: “A lot of the same things that we have done should work on our Rheem Chevrolet this weekend in Kansas. It’s a fun race track because it is so wore out and the cars slide around. We just have to put a whole day together. We have to get a little bit of a momentum rolling with all the things that we are supposed to be doing right and not make the little mistakes. Whether it is in the seat, in the garage or wherever it may be. The speed has been there. We just have to put it all together and it’s just a matter of time.”

HRAVICK CHASSIS CHOICE: The No. 29 Rheem team will unload Chassis No. 378 prepared from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This chassis was used during the 2011 season when Kevin Harvick earned a second-place finish at Chicagoland Speedway in September and a sixth-place finish at Kansas Speedway in October.

JEFF BURTON CHASSIS CHOICE: Jeff Burton will race chassis No. 367 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This No. 31 Chevrolet, originally built in 2011, has seen significant track time including visits to Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July 2011 (started-13th, finished-35th), Atlanta Motor Speedway in September 2011 (started-27th, finished-13th) and Kansas Speedway in October 2011 (started-31st, finished-21st). Burton also tallied a top-10 finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway last November, finishing 10th after starting 31st with this car.

PAUL MENARD CHASSIS CHOICE: Paul Menard will pilot Chassis No. 279 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This No. 27 Chevrolet was last seen on track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March, where Menard earned a seventh-place finish. This chassis was also utilized in 2011 competition at Texas Motor Speedway in November and at Kansas Speedway in October, where the Brickyard 400 winner finished 15th and 12th, respectively.

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Re: STP 400 Betting News and Notes

Driver Handicaps: Kansas
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 STP 400 at Kansas Speedway.

Who's HOT at Kansas

• Greg Biffle, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon are the only multiple race winners.
• Carl Edwards has finished in the top 10 in seven of the last eight races.
• Defending race winner Brad Keselowski has posted a 2.0 average finish in his last two starts.
• Matt Kenseth has posted a 5.7 average finish in his last three starts.

Keep an Eye On at Kansas

• Denny Hamlin has posted a 9.0 average finish in his last four starts at Kansas.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. (10.0), Kevin Harvick (10.0), Mark Martin (10.5) and Jamie McMurray (11.0) each have posted an average finish of 11.0 or better in the two races on 1.5-mile tracks in 2012.
• Martin Truex Jr. leads all drivers with a 5.5 average finish in the last four races of the season.
• Kasey Kahne, who finished second last fall at Kansas, is coming off his best finish of the season at Texas Motor Speedway in seventh.
• Clint Bowyer, Ryan Newman and Paul Menard are each returning in cars that they posted top-10 finishes with at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

MotorRacingNetwork.com Staff Picks

Jeff Wackerlin: Jimmie Johnson
Pete Pistone: Greg Biffle
Ricky Hamber: Brad Keselowski
John Singler: Tony Stewart

Top 20 Driver Notes - Ordered by current standings

(All stats/notes are in regards to Kansas unless noted)

Greg Biffle: Two-time winner; Coming off sixth consecutive top-10 finish; Leads all drivers with an 8.3 average finish; Tied for the best average finish (2.0) and third in laps led (92) in the two races on 1.5-mile tracks in 2012; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 777) that he finished third with at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Matt Kenseth: Coming off best finish (fourth) in 12 starts; Has finished seventh or better in four of his last five starts; 13.5 average finish and 36 laps led in the two races held on 1.5-mile tracks in 2012; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 741) that he finished 22nd with at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Dale Earnhardt Jr: 17.4 average finish in five starts with Hendrick Motorsports; Best finish came in this event last year in second; Tied for the fourth best average finish (10.0) and fourth in laps led (70) in the two races on 1.5-mile tracks in 2012; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 716) in the STP 400.

Martin Truex Jr: 25.3 average finish in three starts with Michael Waltrip Racing; Fifth in laps led (69) in the two races held on 1.5-mile tracks in 2012.

Kevin Harvick: Coming off fifth top 10 in 12 starts; Best finish came in the 2010 fall race in third; Tied for the fourth best average finish (10.0) in the two races on 1.5-mile tracks in 2012; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 378) that he finished sixth with at Kansas Speedway last October.

Denny Hamlin: 15.8 average finish in eight starts; Scored best finish (third) last year in this event.

Tony Stewart: Two-time winner; 7.0 average finish in four starts with Stewart-Haas Racing; Second among all drivers in laps led (127) in the two races on 1.5-mile tracks in 2012; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 706) that he won last month's race at Auto Club Speedway with.

Jimmie Johnson: First in laps led (501) and second in average finish (8.4); Coming off second win in 11 starts; Has finished ninth or better in last six starts; Tied for the best average finish (2.0) and leads in laps led (191) in the two races on 1.5-mile tracks in 2012; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 720) in the STP 400.

Ryan Newman: 16.0 average finish in four starts with Stewart-Haas Racing; Won the 2003 race with Penske Racing; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 686) that he last finished fourth with at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Clint Bowyer: Coming off third top 10 in seven starts; Will make first track start with Michael Waltrip Racing in the same car (chassis No. 716) that he finished sixth with at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Carl Edwards: Coming off fifth consecutive top-10 finish (fifth); Second among all drivers in average finish (6.5) in the two races on 1.5-mile tracks in 2012; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 814) in the STP 400.

Paul Menard: 15.5 average finish in two starts with Richard Childress Racing; 20.5 average finish in six starts; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 279) that he last finished seventh with at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Joey Logano: 27.2 average finish in five starts; Best finish came in the 2010 fall race in 17th.

Kyle Busch: 16.8 average finish in five starts with Joe Gibbs Racing; Has yet to finish in the top 10 in last six starts; Best finish (seventh) came with Hendrick Motorsports in 2006.

Brad Keselowski: Defending event winner; Finished third last fall to lower average finish to 10.0 in five starts; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 822) in the STP 400.

Jeff Burton: 19.2 average finish in 12 starts; Last of two top 10s came in 2008; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 367) that he last finished 10th with at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Jeff Gordon: Won the first two events held at the track in 2001 and 2002; 34th-place finish (engine) last fall snapped streak of five consecutive top-five finishes; 10.2 average finish in 12 starts; Third among all drivers in average finish (8.0) in the two races on 1.5-mile tracks in 2012.

Juan Pablo Montoya: 20.2 average finish in six starts; Only top 10 (fourth) came in 2009; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 1205) that he hit the wall with in practice at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

AJ Allmendinger: 17.6 average finish in five starts; Last of two top 10s came in 2010; Will make first track start with Penske Racing in a new car (chassis No. 823) in the STP 400.

Mark Martin:
Coming off fifth top 10 in 12 starts; Won the 2005 race with Roush Racing; Fifth among all drivers in average finish (10.5) in the two races on 1.5-mile tracks in 2012; Will make first track start with Michael Waltrip Racing in the same car (chassis No. 720) that he finished 18th with at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

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Re: STP 400 Betting News and Notes

STP 400 Preview and Picks
By Greg Engle
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NASCAR heads to America’s heartland this Sunday for the STP 400 at the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway.

Forty-three race teams hope to win, but one team heads west aiming to end a winless streak and has perhaps a little more motivation than the rest.

It’s been 13 races since Hendrick Motorsports last visited Victory Lane. While that may not seem like a long stretch, for NASCAR’s powerhouse team it’s a winless drought that is out of character. The only other time Hendrick teams went this long without a win was between 2002 and 2003, when they went 15 races without a checkered flag.

The last time a Hendrick team tasted victory was last October and that win happened to come at Kansas. The driver who won that race is this week’s favorite, Jimmie Johnson. Johnson has had a decent season thus far, with three Top-5 finishes. He also came in second at Texas last week, another 1.5-mile track. Johnson seems poised to lead Hendrick to its 200th victory.

With two wins, a second-place showing and two Top-10 finishes in the last five races at Kansas, Johnson is the driver to beat this week.

“I like the options that Kansas Speedway provides, we can run anywhere,” Johnson said. “It has just been a strong track for me through the years. It is a lot like Chicago which is another real strong track for me. There are just certain tracks that just kind of click. Kansas has been one of those for me.”

Like Johnson, Greg Biffle has two wins at Kansas. He’s also coming off a win at Texas last week - his first victory since 2010. Biffle was on the pole at Kansas last fall and has one of his two wins along with two Top 5s and two Top 10s in the last five races. He’s on a roll and that could continue Sunday.

Brad Keselowski is the defending winner of this race. He’s looking to rebound from a disastrous outing at Texas last week due to mechanical issues. Keselowski followed his spring win here with a third-place finish in the fall and could easily score his second win of 2012.

“A win and a third-place finish is about as good as it gets,” crew chief Paul Wolfe said. “Our focus, as it was last fall, will be on qualifying. Even though we won the spring race from the 25th position, track position is very important. Once we got Brad out front in that race, it was almost like we gave him a completely different Miller Lite Dodge. If we can qualify up front, I'm confident that Brad can keep the car up there all day and we can be there at the end."

Head-to-head

Clint Bowyer vs. Carl Edwards: Both drivers consider Kansas their home track but neither has won here. Bowyer hails from Emporia, Kansas. Edwards comes from nearby Columbia, Missouri. Both have been competitive this season, but lack the momentum to be favorites this week. Edwards was fifth in this race last year, Bowyer 18th. Look for it to shake out that way, as Edwards should finish ahead of Bowyer Sunday.

Tony Stewart vs. Ryan Newman: The Stewart-Haas Racing duo has won this season. Both have had success at Kansas, and Stewart could certainly step up Sunday. However, for the last few weeks, the team has struggled. Until they can find what it is they are lacking, wins may be hard to come by. This Sunday though, look for Stewart, who has a slightly better record here, to finish ahead of Newman.

Bottom Line

Two drivers have won from the pole: Joe Nemechek in 2004 and Jimmie Johnson in 2008. The furthest back in the field that race winner started was 25th, by Brad Keselowski last season.

Interesting fact

Only two active drivers with more than four starts have averaged a Top-10 finish at Kansas: Greg Biffle (8.2) and Jimmie Johnson (8.3).

Favorites


Jimmie Johnson (+600)
Greg Biffle (+800)
Brad Keselowski (+1,200)

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Re: STP 400 Betting News and Notes

Practice Notes & Driver Ratings     
By Micah Roberts
VegasInsider.com

This Week's Race: STP 400 Kansas Speedway

Practice Notes - Kansas City
Rating     Driver     Odds     Practice 1     Practice 2     Qualified     Las Vegas*
1     Jimmie Johnson     6/1     29th     1st     15th     2nd
Notes: Two-time winner, including last fall, with 8.4 average finish in 11 starts; new chassis this week.

2     Tony Stewart     6/1     7th     13th     23rd     1st
Notes: Two-time winner; using winning California chassis, which was a clone of winning Las Vegas car.

3     Greg Biffle     8/1     30th     4th     17th     3rd
Notes: Two-time winner with track best 8.3 average finish in 11 starts; using third-place Las Vegas car.

4     Matt Kenseth     8/1     13th     9th     18th     22nd
Notes: Career best fourth-place finish last fall; using Las Vegas chassis that ran well despite results.

5     Martin Truex Jr.     30/1     26th     3rd     6th     17th
Notes: Throw past history out window, never had cars this fast on a weekly basis; strong final practice.

6     Kasey Kahne     12/1     3rd     24th     9th     19th
Notes: Career best runner-up last fall; top 10-consecutive lap average in final practice using new car.

7     Carl Edwards     10/1     2nd     12th     21st     5th
Notes: Sixth or better in six of nine starts; might have been best practices of season using new chassis.

8     Jeff Gordon     10/1     10th     37th     20th     12th
Notes: Two-time winner with seven top-5 finishes in 12 starts; encouraging long runs at Texas last week.

9     Mark Martin     35/1     19th     2nd     5th     18th
Notes: 2005 winner with 13.1 average finish; second best 10 consecutive lap average in final practice.

10     Kyle Busch     10/1     1st     32nd     25th     23rd
Notes: Best finish of seventh in nine starts, but saw signs of life in long runs near end of final practice.

* Results from Las Vegas Motor Speedway Cup race held March 11, 2012, a track that is the most similar to Kansas among all 2012 races run thus far.

Note: Practice 1 was almost a throwaway as far as times are concerned because several top drivers gave the appearance of sand-bagging to better position themselves for optimum starting order in qualifying.

Odds courtesy of the LVH Super Book.

Betting Notes:

This race kind of has the make up of last week's race at Texas, except for one notable entry: Tony Stewart is back! After taking a week off from competing at a high level, we can expect to Stewart back in the mix this week based on his Friday practices. Between the car he's using, average speeds, 10-lap averages and just being confident, Stewart should be contending for the win. But he'll have to run through Johnson and Biffle to get it, both drivers who have a tremendous amount of momentum coming into Sunday's race.

Because the odds are so low on those three drivers, the greedy side in all of us should be looking at the Michael Waltrip drivers, in particular Martin Truex Jr and Mark Martin. Both had very fast cars in practice showing once again that MWR isn't just getting lucky with engine or set-up performance in a one or two race stretch.

A driver kind of going unnoticed who has had his odds raised from his normal standard has been Carl Edwards. Because this track is 130 miles west of home town, he says that this is the number one race on his priority list among all races. Whatever he said during the week obviously inspired his crew because he ran practice like the old Edwards, and not the one that has struggled this year.

This Kasey Kahne has been a constant thorn in my side all season. He's like the girl you meet in bar that looks like a '10' after having a couple drinks and then when sobering up realize she's a '3½'. I've been fooled all season with Kahne and his great practices, but still stubbornly think he's going to win so I'm in constant search for odds reflected by a bookmaker that thinks he's a 3½.

Matchup of the Week: Mark Martin (EVEN) vs. Clint Bowyer

I really like the fact that Bowyer is from Kansas and he's routinely run well on the track, but the reality of it is that Martin's car looks far superior than Bowyer's, just as it did last week in Texas. Anything laying -120 or less is great value here.

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