AdvoCare 500 Betting News and Notes
AdvoCare 500 Betting News and Notes
Odds & Ends - Atlanta
Atlanta Motor Speedway Data
Race #: 25 of 36 (09-02-12)
Track Size: 1.54-miles
Banking/Corners: 24 degrees
Banking/Straights: 5 degrees
Frontstretch Length: 2,332 feet
Backstretch Length: 1,800 feet
Race Length: 325 laps / 500.5 miles
Top 12 Driver Rating at Atlanta
Jimmie Johnson 109.5
Jeff Gordon 104.1
Tony Stewart 102.3
Carl Edwards 101.8
Denny Hamlin 96.2
Matt Kenseth 96.2
Kurt Busch 96.1
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 94.3
Greg Biffle 92.9
Kasey Kahne 91.0
Kyle Busch 90.6
Martin Truex Jr. 88.9
Note: Driver Rating compiled from 2005-2012 races (13 total) at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
2011 pole winner: Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet (186.196 mph, 29.775 sec., 09-04-11)
2011 race winner: Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet (124.623 mph, 4:00:58, 09-06-11)
Track qualifying record: Geoffrey Bodine, Ford (197.478 mph, 28.074 sec., 11-15-97)
Track race record: Bobby Labonte, Pontiac (159.904 mph, 3:07:48, 11/16/97)
Re: AdvoCare 500 Betting News and Notes
Driver Highlights - Atlanta
Greg Biffle (No. 16 3M/Manheim Auctions Ford)
-- Three top fives, nine top 10s; one pole
-- Average finish of 16.1
-- Average Running Position of 13.3, ninth-best
-- Driver Rating of 92.9, ninth-best
-- 235 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most
-- 784 Green Flag Passes, ninth-most
-- Average Green Flag Speed of 171.409 mph, 10th-fastest
-- 3,033 Laps in the Top 15 (71.4%), fifth-most
-- 474 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green), third-most
Kurt Busch (No. 51 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet)
-- Three wins, four top fives, nine top 10s
-- Average finish of 17.4
-- Average Running Position of 14.3, 10th-best
-- Driver Rating of 96.1, seventh-best
-- 244 Fastest Laps Run, third-most
-- 785 Green Flag Passes, eighth-most
-- Average Green Flag Speed of 171.472 mph, ninth-fastest
-- 442 Quality Passes, seventh-most
Kyle Busch (No. 18 Wrigley Toyota)
-- One win, three top fives, three top 10s
-- Average finish of 17.7
-- Average Running Position of 14.7, 12th-best
-- Driver Rating of 90.6, 11th-best
-- 197 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-most
-- 851 Green Flag Passes, sixth-most
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevrolet)
-- One win, eight top fives, 10 top 10s; two poles
-- Average finish of 12.8
-- Average Running Position of 12.8, sixth-best
-- Driver Rating of 94.3, eighth-best
-- 223 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-most
-- 856 Green Flag Passes, fourth-most
-- Average Green Flag Speed of 171.574 mph, sixth-fastest
-- 2,820 Laps in the Top 15 (66.4%), eighth-most
Carl Edwards (No. 99 Subway Ford)
-- Three wins, eight top fives, 10 top 10s
-- Average finish of 13.6
-- Average Running Position of 12.8, seventh-best
-- Driver Rating of 101.8, fourth-best
-- Series-high 339 Fastest Laps Run
-- Average Green Flag Speed of 171.891 mph, second-fastest
-- 3,265 Laps in the Top 15 (76.8%), third-most
Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet)
-- Five wins, 15 top fives, 24 top 10s; two poles
-- Average finish of 12.2
-- Average Running Position of 10.2, second-best
-- Driver Rating of 104.1, second-best
-- 219 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-most
-- 3,439 Laps in the Top 15 (80.9%), second-most
-- Series-high 501 Quality Passes
Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Sport Clips Toyota)
-- One top five, four top 10s; one pole
-- Average finish of 17.5
-- Average Running Position of 11.8, fourth-best
-- Driver Rating of 96.2, fifth-best
-- 168 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-most
-- Average Green Flag Speed of 171.713 mph, third-fastest
-- 2,649 Laps in the Top 15 (67.5%), ninth-most
Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's/KOBALT Tools Chevrolet)
-- Three wins, 11 top fives, 13 top 10s
-- Average finish of 10.0
-- Series-best Average Running Position of 7.7
-- Series-best Driver Rating of 109.5
-- 261 Fastest Laps Run, second-most
-- Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 171.979 mph
-- Series-high 3,775 Laps in the Top 15 (88.8%)
-- 497 Quality Passes, second-most
Kasey Kahne (No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet)
-- Two wins, six top fives, eight top 10s; two poles
-- Average finish of 18.3
-- Driver Rating of 91.0, 10th-best
-- 230 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most
-- Average Green Flag Speed of 171.337 mph, 12th-fastest
-- 2,593 Laps in the Top 15 (61.0%), 11th-most
Matt Kenseth (No. 17 Roush Fenway 25 Winning Years Ford)
-- Eight top fives, 13 top 10s
-- Average finish of 12.9
-- Average Running Position of 12.8, eighth-best
-- Driver Rating of 96.2, sixth-best
-- 161 Fastest Laps Run, 11th-most
-- 852 Green Flag Passes, fifth-most
-- Average Green Flag Speed of 171.569 mph, seventh-fastest
-- 2,942 Laps in the Top 15 (69.2%), sixth-most
-- 449 Quality Passes, sixth-most
Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 42 Target Chevrolet)
-- Three top fives, four top 10s
-- Average finish of 16.9
-- Driver Rating of 87.4, 13th-best
-- Average Green Flag Speed of 171.292 mph, 13th-fastest
-- 406 Quality Passes, ninth-most
Tony Stewart (No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet)
-- Three wins, 10 top fives, 15 top 10s
-- Average finish of 11.2
-- Average Running Position of 10.8, third-best
-- Driver Rating of 102.3, third-best
-- 230 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most
-- 732 Green Flag Passes, 11th-most
-- Average Green Flag Speed of 171.668 mph, fourth-fastest
-- 3,181 Laps in the Top 15 (74.8%), fourth-most
-- 474 Quality Passes, third-most
Martin Truex Jr. (No. 56 NAPA Shocks and Struts Toyota)
-- Two top 10s; one pole
-- Average finish of 22.8
-- Average Running Position of 12.3, fifth-best
-- Driver Rating of 88.9, 12th-best
-- 111 Fastest Laps Run, 13th-most
-- Average Green Flag Speed of 171.577 mph, fifth-fastest
-- 2,922 Laps in the Top 15 (74.4%), seventh-most
-- 470 Quality Passes, fifth-most
Re: AdvoCare 500 Betting News and Notes
AdvoCare 500 Preview
By Micah Roberts
Two races remain in the Race to the Chase as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Atlanta's 1 1/2-mile high banked speedway. Once a staple of the NASCAR nation with two annual races since 1960, this will be the second year in a row that Atlanta has only one race.
Even though we haven't seen any action on the track this year, we still have lots of data to use in helping us find out who might be the best candidates to win this week.
We can use the results at Atlanta's sister tracks like Las Vegas, Texas and Charlotte. We can also use a recent race like Michigan from two weeks ago just because of needing big time horsepower to get around the track. However, the most similar of them all is Charlotte. The last race run at Charlotte was on May 27, which was won by Kasey Kahne.
Kahne and his Hendrick teammates had a successful night as all four finished 11th or better. The Gibbs duo of Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch finished second and third, respectively, and all three Roush cars finished in the Top-10.
Kahne looks to be comfortably set in the Chase with his two wins on the season -- sitting in 11th place, but after that we have a mad scramble for the 12th and final position.
Kyle Busch currently leads the drivers with one win and would make the Chase if it started today. But only 16 points separates Busch from Jeff Gordon, 19 points from Ryan Newman and 28 points from Marcos Ambrose.
Carl Edwards could top them all if he could get a win this week or next week at Richmond. He's five points ahead of Busch, but doesn't have any wins on the season which is the criteria required to grab the final two Chase positions. Edwards hasn't won since last season in Las Vegas.
It should be interesting to see how these drivers bunched together for the final position approach the next two races. A win is obviously what they'll all try to get, but they also have to point-race as well and watch what each other does while hoping to avoid being involved in a COSTLY wreck, which unfortunately happened to Newman last week at Bristol.
Because of their success at Charlotte in May, it would seem like Busch and Gordon would have an edge over the other contenders for the final position. Kyle Busch has a 2008 Atlanta win on his resume while Jeff Gordon's Cup career started in Atlanta.
It was 20 years ago that Gordon made his Cup debut in Atlanta, a race that we also said farewell to Richard Petty, who was making his final start.
"I don't remember too much about the weekend, but I do remember Richard walking through the garage with a huge number of fans with him," said Gordon, who won his 85th career Cup race at Atlanta last year. "And he gave us money clips with our starting position during the driver's meeting - something I still have to this day.
"Other than that, not that memorable of a race for me."
Gordon has five Atlanta wins overall, but all were in the day. This Sunday will be a night race creating a different set of Atlanta circumstances for the teams when preparing for the conditions.
"I expect the track to be a lot faster at night," said Gordon. "But I think we will still be able to race high, low and everywhere in between.
"I think one of the reasons so many drivers and teams love this place is the track has a lot of grip, a lot of banking and it is a very fast race track - especially when looking at the qualifying speeds. It's very fast during the race but it has a lot of fall off, so tire wear is significant and the balance of the car changes throughout a run."
You want to make a note on the set-up this week and using Charlotte as a comparison, the last 300 miles during the Coca-Cola 600 were run almost exclusively at night.
Jimmie Johnson has three Atlanta wins over his career, but none since 2007. He finished runner-up to Gordon last season. This week he'll be using a chassis that has ran three races this season with a best finish of second-place at Texas.
Tony Stewart has been one of the best at Atlanta over his career with three wins, his last coming in 2010.
Despite not having any career wins at Atlanta, we should be able to expect Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth to run well. Their Roush teammate, Carl Edwards, has three wins there over his career, but none since 2008.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. started his Atlanta career off strong and was always a candidate to win there until moving to Hendrick Motorsports. He had one win and eight top-five finishes in his first 19 starts, but hasn't cracked the top-10 since in his last six starts. We've obviously seen a transition with his team this year and should see him be one of the contenders with his teammates.
Top-5 Finish Prediction:
1) #24 Jeff Gordon (10/1)
2) #48 Jimmie Johnson (6/1)
3) #18 Kyle Busch (8/1)
4) #14 Tony Stewart (10/1)
5) #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. (10/1)
Re: AdvoCare 500 Betting News and Notes
Driver Notes & Quotes for 2012 Atlanta Advocare 500
BRAD KESELOWSKI ON ATLANTA: “I like the fact that Atlanta is a very slick racetrack. You come in to put tires on and you are almost three seconds a lap faster. That’s huge! A guy that will come in and pit one lap earlier than you do will gain almost half a straightaway on you. That puts pit strategy into focus. It’s just a fun place to race. I’ve had a lot of success running the high line at Atlanta. I don’t really think of myself as a driver that prefers the top, but I’ll definitely search around to see where my Miller Lite Dodge is the fastest. That’s why we love racing at Atlanta. You can go wherever your car is working the best.
“For us right now, it’s all about going for wins. We can take some chances and experiment a bit knowing that we are pretty safe as far as making the Chase. We want to go in with the most wins, or at least tied for the most wins. Every point is critical. You look at last year, Tony (Stewart) and Carl (Edwards) tied in points after Homestead. That’s how close it can be so we want all the points we can get before the Chase starts.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON ON ATLANTA: “It does. This car especially slides a lot so the tire and the surface with all the sliding it wears the tires out quickly. I typically do well on those types of tracks. It has taken us a little time to sort out the COT (Car of Tomorrow) there and I feel like I have been a lot more competitive over the last trip or two. I’m excited to go back I think we will have a good shot at winning. It’s a unique track that challenges you honestly every foot around the race track.”
JOHNSON CHASSIS CHOICE: Chassis No. 714 serves as the primary for Johnson at Atlanta. This car has raced three times in 2012, including a runner-up finish at Texas. Chassis No. 669 serves as the backup.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR. ON ATLANTA: “I really like racing at Atlanta. It’s a fun race track; it’s incredibly fast, and we’ve run well there. The track is wide so you can find a groove that works for you. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do down there.”
KEVIN HARVICK ON ATLANTA: “Atlanta (Motor Speedway) has been a pretty good track for the Rheem team. We had a runner-up finish recently, where we dominated the race all day. It came down to a late-race restart and we lost it in the last five or six laps. We did a tire test at the track several years ago, found some things that worked from the driver side and it’s been a good track for us ever since.”
HARVICK CHASSIS CHOICE: Kevin Harvick will pilot Chassis No. 378 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable in this weekend’s AdvoCare 500. Harvick drove this Chevrolet at Kansas Speedway in April and Michigan International Speedway in June finishing sixth and 10th, respectively. This chassis was also used in competition twice during the 2011 season when Harvick captured a sixth-place finish at Kansas Speedway in October and a second-place finish Chicagoland Speedway in September.
KASEY KAHNE ON ATLANTA: “Atlanta is my favorite track on the circuit. It’s wide and fast, so we can race a lot of different lines. We have a good history here, and I expect a good weekend with a Hendrick Motorsports car under me.”
JEFF GORDON ON ATLANTA: “I expect the track to be a lot faster at night, but I think we will still be able to race high, low and everywhere in between. I think one of the reasons so many drivers and teams love this place is the track has a lot of grip, a lot of banking and it is a very fast race track – especially when looking at the qualifying speeds. It’s very fast during the race but it has a lot of fall off, so tire wear is significant and the balance of the car changes throughout a run.”
RYAN NEWMAN ON ATLANTA: “Atlanta is fast, especially when the conditions are right. You have to hit your marks. It’s bumpy enough that those bumps can spit you right out. Getting into turn one and the middle of three and four, you’ve got catch everything just right. It’s kind of like surfing or wakeboarding – you’ve got to catch the wave’s right and, obviously, put the car in the right spot to do the right things with the gas and the steering wheel. I think it’s the combination of the tire grip we have, initially, and it’s a wide-open racetrack. There’s plenty of room to race there. It’s one of the best racetracks we go to for three- and four-wide racing in the corners. With Atlanta being a one-off race, it has a different feel to it now and a different feel to it than a lot of tracks we go to. But, in the end, we are there to do the same job, and that’s to win.”
PAUL MENARD ON ATLANTA: “Atlanta (Motor Speedway) is one of my favorite tracks. It races really well and it’s a lot of fun, especially with it being a night race now. The race track itself with the old pavement that is hard on tires makes it a lot of fun. It’s kind of a throw-back track that we all enjoy going to.”
JAMIE MCMURRAY ON ATLANTA: “I hope that we don’t have to dodge rain drops all weekend. It sounds like we may have some of the outskirts of Isaac while we are in Atlanta. First and foremost though, I just hope that all of the people in the storm’s path are safe. Atlanta is a really fast track and our guys have been working hard on our intermediate track program, so I hope that we can see some of the results of that effort this weekend. Atlanta is also a really busy weekend for me with several obligations with Coca-Cola, being based right there. We will get meet with a lot of their customers and executives over the weekend. One of the really cool things that I will get to do this weekend is on Friday with Chevrolet when we meet with several breast cancer survivors and give them the thrill of a ride-along around the track. I met a lot of these women last year for this event and they are so excited to be there and we really had a fun time together.”
McMURRAY CHASSIS CHOICE: Crew Chief Kevin “Bono” Manion and the No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats team will bring Chassis #1109 to Atlanta. This will be the first race for this chassis in 2012.
JEFF BURTON ON ATLANTA: “Atlanta Motor Speedway is so slick. It is the slickest race track in the world. It reminds me so much of the old Darlington Raceway. It’s just so rough and slick, an unbelievably difficult track. You would think that on those kinds of conditions that the racing would get away, but it doesn’t. There always seems to be good finishes there.”
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA ON ATLANTA: “Atlanta is a fun track. It’s one of the tracks I’d enjoy racing there twice a year like we did before. It’s a cool place that has no grip. It is probably the oldest asphalt we go to, or it feels like the oldest. To tell you the truth, it’s a fast track and a place you can run the high groove at. The Target team has had some pretty good results there so I’m looking forward to going back.”
MONTOYA CHASSIS CHOICE: Crew Chief Chris “Shine” Heroy and the No. 42 Target team will bring Chassis #1111 to Atlanta this weekend. This Chassis made its debut this season in Indianapolis where Montoya started 12th, and ultimately finished 21st.
REGAN SMITH ON ATLANTA: “This will be the first 1.5-mile track with Todd Berrier as our crew chief. I’ve been upbeat about our potential and going to Atlanta hasn’t changed my optimism. Our performance has picked up considerably and we would like to leave Atlanta with a top-10 or top-five finish. Tire management and tire strategy will be important in Atlanta since the track surface there is a little rougher. As I’ve been saying each week, if we can avoid accidents and mistakes, we should then be in good position at the checkered flag.”
KURT BUSCH ON ATLANTA: “I think one of the biggest things that can be tough at Atlanta is getting your car to handle in turns three and four. It’s very specific. You really need the car to hook at the bottom of three and four, particularly when you’re on fresh tires. If you have a car that can run the bottom close to wide open in three and four, then that’s when you can do to separate yourself to be a race-winning contender.”
BUSCH CHASSIS CHOICE: Sunday night’s AdvoCare 500 will be the third race of the 2012 season for this chassis. This chassis made its last appearance at Dover (Del.) International Speedway in June, when Busch picked up the ninth starting spot but had his day end prematurely due to an engine failure. It’s also the same car the team used at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway in May, when Busch competed in the top-10 during the majority of the event before settling for a 21st-place finish due to a late-race spin. Prior to the 2012 season, the car was used as a road course car. Hendrick Motorsports built this chassis with a universal clip, which allows for greater adjustments with the geometric points on the chassis. As such, the team converted the car from a road-course car to an intermediate-track car for this season.
DANICA PATRICK ON ATLANTA: “I’ve heard lots of great things about Atlanta. It’s good racing. The tires definitely go off with the surface, and the line moves around a lot. I’ve heard a lot of really good things about it. For me it’s going to be a big weekend not only from the standpoint that there’s Cup and Nationwide, but it’s a big Coca-Cola weekend so I’ll be really busy. I think nothing is better than going to a new track and having lots of track time.”
Re: AdvoCare 500 Betting News and Notes
Driver Handicaps: Atlanta
By: Jeff Wackerlin
Motor Racing Network brings you our weekly detailed look at some of the field for Sunday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Advocare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Who's HOT at Atlanta
• Defending race winner Jeff Gordon has posted an average finish of 8.1 in the last 10 races.
• Tony Stewart has two wins and an 8.8 average finish in the last 10 races.
• Jimmie Johnson leads all drivers with a 10.0 average finish.
• Matt Kenseth has the best average (6.9) in the last 10 races.
• Carl Edwards has posted seven top 10 finishes in his last 10 starts, including a win in 2008.
• Kurt Busch, who will be making his first track start with Phoenix Racing, leads all drivers in wins (2) and laps led (385) in the races with the COT car.
Keep an Eye On at Atlanta
• Greg Biffle (6.8), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (7.4), Kasey Kahne (7.4), Denny Hamlin (7.6), Kevin Harvick (9.0) and Martin Truex Jr. (9.0) each have posted average finishes of 10.0 or better in the five races at 1.5-mile tracks in 2012.
• Juan Pablo Montoya has posted an average finish of 7.5 in his last four starts at Atlanta.
• Kyle Busch, who won the 2008 spring race at Atlanta, is fourth in laps led (173) in the five races at 1.5-mile tracks in 2012.
• Marcos Ambrose, who finished 10th at Atlanta in 2010, is coming off three-straight top fives this month.
• Mark Martin has posted 23 top 10s in 51 starts at Atlanta.
• Brad Keselowski, who scored his first top 10 at Atlanta last year, has posted one win at a 1.5-mile track (Kentucky) this season.
MotorRacingNetwork.com Staff Picks
Jeff Wackerlin: Jimmie Johnson
Pete Pistone: Jeff Gordon
Ricky Hamber: Kyle Busch
John Singler: Carl Edwards
Top 20 Driver Notes - Ordered by current standings
(All stats/notes are in regards to Atlanta unless noted)
Greg Biffle: Last of nine top 10s came in 2010 spring race; 16.1 average finish in 17 starts; Second in average finish (6.8) and first in laps led (296) in the five races held at 1.5-mile tracks in 2012; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 786) that he finished 35th with at Homestead-Miami Speedway last season.
Jimmie Johnson: Three-time winner; Finished second last year for second consecutive top-three finish; 10.0 average finish in 20 starts; Tied for the second-best average finish (8.1) in the last 10 races; First in average finish (4.8) and third in laps led (214) in the five races held at 1.5-mile tracks in 2012; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 714) that he led 156 laps and finished second with at Texas Motor Speedway.
Dale Earnhardt Jr: 14.0 average finish in seven starts with Hendrick Motorsports; Sixth-best average finish (14.0) in the last 10 races; Tied for third in average finish (7.4) and ninth in laps led (70) in the five races held at 1.5-mile tracks in 2012; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 668) that he won the Sprint Showdown at Charlotte Motor Speedway with.
Matt Kenseth: Finished ninth last year for 13th top 10 in 23 starts; Leads all drivers with a 6.9 average finish in the last 10 races; Sixth in average finish (9.6) in the five races held at 1.5-mile tracks in 2012; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 808) that he finished 35th with at Indianapolis Motor Speedway after getting caught up in an accident.
Martin Truex Jr: 17.7 average finish in three starts with Michael Waltrip Racing; Last of two top 10s in 13 starts came with Earnhardt Ganassi in 2009; Tied for fifth in average finish (9.0) and second in laps led (242) in the five races held at 1.5-mile tracks in 2012.
Clint Bowyer: 17.4 average finish in 11 starts; Last of five top 10s (seventh) came in this event in 2010; Will make track debut with Michael Waltrip Racing driving a new car (chassis No. 738) in the Advocare 500.
Brad Keselowski: Finished sixth in this event last year for first top 10 in three starts; Eighth in laps led (72) in the five races held at 1.5-mile tracks in 2012; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 818) that he finished 18th with at Pocono Raceway in June.
Denny Hamlin: Finished eighth last year for fourth top 10 in 12 starts; Has combined to lead 191 laps in last six starts; 10th-best average finish (16.0) in the last 10 races; Fourth in average finish (7.6) and sixth in laps led (103) in the five races held at 1.5-mile tracks in 2012.
Kevin Harvick: Finished seventh last year for seventh top 10 in 21 starts; Ninth-best average finish (14.6) in the last 10 races; Tied for fifth in average finish (9.0) in the five races held at 1.5-mile tracks in 2012; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 378) that he finished sixth and 10th, respectively, in the Advocare 500.
Tony Stewart: Last of three wins came in this event in 2010; Finished third last year for 15th top 10 in 25 starts; Third-best average finish (8.8) in the last 10 races; Fifth in laps led (127) in the five races held at 1.5-mile tracks in 2012; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 707) that he finished 17th with in the All-Star Race.
Kasey Kahne: Last of two wins came in this event in 2009; Has combined to lead 235 laps in last four starts; Tied for third in average finish (7.4) and seventh in laps led (96) in the five races held at 1.5-mile tracks in 2012; Will make first track start with Hendrick Motorsports in the same car (chassis No. 739) that he finished 12th with at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Carl Edwards: Last of three wins came in 2008; Finished fifth last season for 10th top 10 in 14 starts; Eighth-best average finish (14.5) in the last 10 races; Eighth in average finish (10.2) in the five races held at 1.5-mile tracks in 2012; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 782) that he finished 11th with 11th with at Michigan International Speedway in June.
Kyle Busch: Winner of the 2008 spring race; Last of three top 10s in 14 starts came in this event in 2010 in fifth; Fourth in laps led (173) in the five races held at 1.5-mile tracks in 2012.
Jeff Gordon: Defending race winner; Win was fifth in 38 starts; Tied for the second-best average finish (8.1) in the last 10 races; Seventh in average finish (9.8) in the five races held at 1.5-mile tracks in 2012.
Ryan Newman: Last of six top 10s came in this event in 2010; Seven-time pole winner; 17.5 average finish in 19 starts; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 738) in the Advocare 500.
Marcos Ambrose: Finished 21st last season in first track starts with Richard Petty Motorsports; Only top 10 in six starts came in this event in 2010; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 784) that he last finished fifth with at Michigan International Speedway this month.
Paul Menard: Finished 18th in first track start with Richard Childress Racing last season; 21.6 average finish in 10 starts; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 351) that he last finished 16th with at Dover International Speedway last fall.
Joey Logano: 27.6 average finish in five starts; Best finish came in this event in 2009 in 22nd.
Jamie McMurray: 20.0 average finish in three starts with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing; Last of four top 10s (seventh) came in 2008 with Roush Racing; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 1109) in the Advocare 500.
Jeff Burton: Last of 14 top 10s (fourth) came in this event in 2010; Fifth-best average finish (13.5) in the last 10 races; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 393) that he most recently finished 21st with at Michigan International Speedway in June.
Re: AdvoCare 500 Betting News and Notes
AdvoCare 500 Preview
By Greg Engle
Sunday night’s AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway will be an act of desperation for some; 500 miles that could make or break an entire NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Chief among the desperate is Jeff Gordon. Atlanta marks Gordon’s best chance to add another win to his season total and secure a Wild Card spot in this year’s Chase.
Gordon leads all active drivers here with five wins. He’s also the defending winner of this race having taken the victory in an event that was rescheduled to Tuesday last season due to rain. Gordon rolls in here 14th in standings with only one victory this year. He desperately needs to end up in victory lane Sunday night to have a chance to make the Chase this year. Given that the rescheduled event was in daylight last year, Gordon anticipates a different race Sunday.
Jeff Hammond previews Sunday's race in Atlanta.
Video: Hammond: Looking ahead to Atlanta
"I expect the track to be a lot faster at night,” Gordon said. “But I think we will still be able to race high, low and everywhere in between. I think one of the reasons so many drivers and teams love this place is the track has a lot of grip, a lot of banking and it is a very fast race track - especially when looking at the qualifying speeds. It's very fast during the race but it has a lot of fall off, so tire wear is significant and the balance of the car changes throughout a run."
Tony Stewart is barely hanging on to a Chase spot only 11 points ahead of 11th. He was second here last year and won in 2010. Stewart will be looking for redemption after being knocked out early last week at Bristol. With his hold on 10th spot in the standings tenuous at best, Stewart will be another driver desperate for a win and could do so Sunday. To Stewart Atlanta is all about balance.
“When the track cools down at Atlanta, it gains a lot of grip,” Stewart said. “It’s a very temperature-sensitive racetrack. So, the biggest thing is just keeping your balance and keeping up with it as the track cools off. Normally, I can’t say that it changes a bunch balance-wise, it just changes a lot grip-wise. So, just having the car adjustable enough from the start of the race to the end of the race is important.”
The driver just behind Stewart in 11th spot in points could lock up a spot in the Chase by taking over the 10th spot or at least a Wild Card spot with win Sunday night. Kasey Kahne has two victories on the season; a third win could knock Stewart out of 10th and put Kahne into the top seeding for this year’s Chase. He won the pole last year and heads to Atlanta for the first time in a Hendrick Motorsports Chevy.
“Atlanta is my favorite track on the circuit,” Kahne said. “It’s wide and fast, so we can race a lot of different lines. We have a good history here, and I expect a good weekend with a Hendrick Motorsports car under me.”
Jimmie Johnson has three wins here, including a season sweep in 2007. He was second in this race last season and with the strong performances he’s been putting down lately, could easily steal the show Sunday night.
Keep an eye on: Carl Edwards has three wins here and has scored two top five finishes in the last two Atlanta races. Perhaps no one is more desperate for a win than Edwards who’s only chance to make the Chase is to score a win.
"We are headed to Atlanta this weekend knowing what we need to do as a team,” crew chief Chad Norris said. “We are focused and determined, and we refuse to give up on making the Chase. We have two races left and Atlanta has always been a great track for Carl. A win there would put us right in the thick of the battle for the two wild card spots. In the next two weeks we’ve got 725 laps to give it all we have.”
Bottom Line: 14 races have been won from the pole. The last to do so was Kasey Kahne in 2006. The last two races have been won from the fifth position. 60 of the 104 races at Atlanta have been won from the first five starting positions.
Re: AdvoCare 500 Betting News and Notes
NASCAR Practice Notes & Driver Ratings
By Micah Roberts
Practice Notes - Atlanta
Rating Driver Odds Practice 1 Qualified Practice 2 Practice 3
1 Denny Hamlin 8/1 16th 7th 7th 3rd
Notes: Best finish of third-place in 2008; strongest overall in Saturday practices; great on long runs.
2 Matt Kenseth 8/1 7th 4th 2nd 1st
Notes: Runner-up in 2010; eight career top-5 finishes; using Brickyard 400 chassis this week.
3 Greg Biffle 8/1 8th 2nd 1st 5th
Notes: Finished fourth or better on similar sister tracks in 2012, including win at Texas in April.
4 Jeff Gordon 12/1 22nd 5th 6th 2nd
Notes: Five-time winner, including last year; best 10-consecutive lap average in final practice.
5 Kyle Busch 8/1 2nd 3rd 8th 4th
Notes: 2008 winner; good practices and gets high marks for third-place finish at Charlotte in May.
6 Tony Stewart 8/1 3rd 1st 14th 7th
Notes: Three wins, the last coming in 2010; won on sister track at Las Vegas; using All-Star race car.
7 Jimmie Johnson 6/1 17th 8th 9th 21st
Notes: Three-time winner; finished second and third in past two starts; using runner-up Texas chassis.
8 Kasey Kahne 12/1 5th 11th 11th 28th
Notes: Two-time winner; struggled in Saturday practices, but won at Charlotte; using Brickyard car.
9 Martin Truex, Jr. 25/1 1st 28th 4th 8th
Notes: Signed to a new 3-year $16 million extension on Friday and has been fast in all practices since.
10 Brad Keselowski 12/1 4th 21st 10th 6th
Notes: Sixth-place finish last season; fast average speeds in Saturday practices; using Pocono car.
* Note: The sister tracks of Las Vegas, Texas and Charlotte all provide a great information that is applicable at Atlanta due to similar high banking on the 1.5-mile layouts.
Betting Notes: Denny Hamlin looks to have the best car in the field this weekend, but as we know to be true almost every week, the best car doesn’t always win. The drivers I would key on this week outside of Hamlin are Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch.
Martin Truex Jr. also offers a nice opportunity to cash in at large odds. I’ve been saying that all year and have come close, but my pocket is still empty with return on investments.
I was a little puzzled to see Gordon so strong in final practice while all his teammates finished 20th or worse on the charts. Gordon was better than Hamlin in the 10-consecutive lap average department. The later practice they ran was cooler making it more similar to the night conditions they’ll run tomorrow. The temperatures are still off from what they’ll be when the green flag drops tomorrow night, but it makes me feel justified in a wager.
The main thing with Stewart is that he looked strong in practice, which is a rarity, making him someone to definitely take notice of. No one has been better than Stewart over his last 20 Atlanta races and he has three wins over that span, including 2010.
Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth were dazzling in practices, but have never won at Atlanta. They’ve always been competitive there, but have come up just short.
Because of poor practices on Saturday, Kasey Kahne should have odds stacked against him in matchups. He’ll be good Sunday night, just like Charlotte, and should present lots of plus-money opportunities.