Hollywood Casino 400 Betting News and Notes

Hollywood Casino 400 Betting News and Notes

Odds & Ends - Kansas
VegasInsider.com

Kansas Speedway Data

Chase Race #: 6 of 10
Season Race #: 32 of 36 (10-21-12)
Track Size: 1.5-mile
Variable Banking/Turns: 17-20 degrees
Variable Banking/Frontstretch: 9-11 degrees
Banking/Backstretch: 5 degrees
Frontstretch Length: 2,685 feet
Backstretch Length: 2,207 feet
Race Length: 267 laps / 400.5 miles

Top 12 Driver Rating at Kansas

Jimmie Johnson 120.7
Greg Biffle 116.3
Tony Stewart 102.9
Matt Kenseth 102.4
Jeff Gordon 102.2
Carl Edwards 96.2
Kevin Harvick 92.1
Mark Martin 91.9
Brad Keselowski 90.7
Kurt Busch 90.3
Denny Hamlin 89.9
Martin Truex Jr. 88.4

Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2012 races (seven total) among active drivers at Kansas Speedway.

Qualifying/Race Data

2011 pole winner: Greg Biffle, Ford (174.887 mph, 30.877 sec., 10-07-11)
2011 race winner: Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet (137.181 mph, 2:58:27, 10-09-11)
Track qualifying record: Matt Kenseth, Ford (180.856 mph, 29.858 sec., 10-08-05)
Track race record: Denny Hamlin, Toyota (144.122 mph, 02:46:44, 4-22-12)

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Re: Hollywood Casino 400 Betting News and Notes

Driver Highlights - Kansas
VegasInsider.com

1 - Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge)

- Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 98.3

2012 Rundown
- Five wins, 12 top fives, 19 top 10s
- Average finish of 10.5
- Led 18 races for 642 laps

Kansas Speedway Outlook:
- One win, two top fives, two top 10s
- Average finish of 10.2 in five races
- Average Running Position of 12.7, seventh-best
- Driver Rating of 90.7, ninth-best

2 - Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet)

- Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 109.1

2012 Rundown
- Three wins, 16 top fives, 21 top 10s; two poles
- Average finish of 10.4
- Led 22 races for 1,314 laps

Kansas Speedway Outlook:
- Two wins, five top fives, 10 top 10s; three poles
- Average finish of 7.9 in 12 races
- Average Running Position of 6.8, second-best
- Series-best Driver Rating of 120.7
- Series-high 373 Fastest Laps Run
- 645 Green Flag Passes, ninth-most
- Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 162.892 mph
- 2,145 Laps in the Top 15 (91.2%), second-most
- Series-high 425 Quality Passes

3 - Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota)

- Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 103.0

2012 Rundown
- Five wins, 13 top fives, 16 top 10s; three poles
- Average finish of 11.9
- Led 22 races for 1,168 laps

Kansas Speedway Outlook:
- One win, three top fives, three top 10s
- Average finish of 14.1 in nine races
- Average Running Position of 14.4, 11th-best
- Driver Rating of 89.9, 11th-best
- 68 Fastest Laps Run, 12th-most
- 614 Green Flag Passes, 11th-most
- Average Green Flag Speed of 161.921 mph, eighth-fastest
- 1,589 Laps in the Top 15 (67.6%), eighth-most
- 342 Quality Passes, seventh-most

4 - Clint Bowyer (No. 15 5-hour Energy Benefiting Avon Foundation for Women Toyota)

- Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 94.0

2012 Rundown
- Three wins, eight top fives, 19 top 10s
- Average finish of 11.2
- Led 11 races for 229 laps

Kansas Speedway Outlook:
- One top five, three top 10s
- Average finish of 15.0 in eight races
- Average Running Position of 17.3, 16th-best
- Driver Rating of 85.7, 15th-best

5 - Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet)

- Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 94.8

2012 Rundown
- Two wins, nine top fives, 16 top 10s; three poles
- Average finish of 13.4
- Led 9 races for 262 laps

Kansas Speedway Outlook:
- One top five, four top 10s; two poles
- Average finish of 16.1 in 10 races
- Average Running Position of 15.1, 13th-best
- Driver Rating of 86.9, 13th-best
- 87 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-most
- 670 Green Flag Passes, sixth-most
- Average Green Flag Speed of 161.746 mph, 12th-fastest
- 1,391 Laps in the Top 15 (59.2%), 11th-most
- 286 Quality Passes, 11th-most

6 - Greg Biffle (No. 16 3M/Sherwin Williams Ford)

- Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 101.7

2012 Rundown
- Two wins, 11 top fives, 17 top 10s; three poles
- Average finish of 9.9
- Led 16 races for 721 laps

Kansas Speedway Outlook:
- Two wins, seven top fives, nine top 10s; one pole
- Average finish of 8.0 in 12 races
- Series-best Average Running Position of 6.7
- Driver Rating of 116.3, second-best
- 194 Fastest Laps Run, second-most
- 601 Green Flag Passes, 12th-most
- Average Green Flag Speed of 162.622 mph, second-fastest
- Series-high 2,208 Laps in the Top 15 (93.9%)
- 406 Quality Passes, second-most

7 - Martin Truex Jr. (No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota)

- Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 96.7

2012 Rundown
- Six top fives, 17 top 10s; one pole
- Average finish of 11.3
- Led 11 races for 423 laps

Kansas Speedway Outlook:
- One top five, one top 10
- Average finish of 23.3 in eight races
- Average Running Position of 14.3, 10th-best
- Driver Rating of 88.4, 12th-best
- 102 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-most
- Average Green Flag Speed of 161.933 mph, seventh-fastest

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

- Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 87.6

2012 Rundown
- Three wins, 10 top fives, 14 top 10s; one pole
- Average finish of 13.5
- Led 14 races for 420 laps

Kansas Speedway Outlook:
- Two wins, five top fives, eight top 10s
- Average finish of 12.2 in 13 races
- Average Running Position of 9.6, fourth-best
- Driver Rating of 102.9, third-best
- 137 Fastest Laps Run, third-most
- Average Green Flag Speed of 162.254 mph, fourth-fastest
- 1,857 Laps in the Top 15 (79.0%), fourth-most
- 374 Quality Passes, fourth-most

9 - Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet)

- Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 96.8

2012 Rundown
- One win, 10 top fives, 15 top 10s; two poles
- Average finish of 14.4
- Led 20 races for 460 laps

Kansas Speedway Outlook:
- Two wins, eight top fives, nine top 10s
- Average finish of 11.1 in 13 races
- Average Running Position of 8.8, third-best
- Driver Rating of 102.2, fifth-best
- 99 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-most
- Average Green Flag Speed of 162.353 mph, third-fastest
- 2,105 Laps in the Top 15 (89.5%), third-most
- 390 Quality Passes, third-most

10 - Kevin Harvick (No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet)

- Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 91.9

2012 Rundown
- Four top fives, 11 top 10s
- Average finish of 12.1
- Led 8 races for 241 laps

Kansas Speedway Outlook:
- One top five, six top 10s
- Average finish of 13.0 in 13 races
- Average Running Position of 12.8, eighth-best
- Driver Rating of 92.1, seventh-best
- 79 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-most
- Series-high 721 Green Flag Passes
- Average Green Flag Speed of 161.894 mph, ninth-fastest
- 1,591 Laps in the Top 15 (67.7%), seventh-most
- 331 Quality Passes, eighth-most

11 - Matt Kenseth (No. 17 Zest Ford)

- Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 100.2

2012 Rundown
- Two wins, 11 top fives, 17 top 10s; one pole
- Average finish of 11.3
- Led 19 races for 398 laps

Kansas Speedway Outlook:
- Four top fives, seven top 10s; one pole
- Average finish of 16.9 in 13 races
- Average Running Position of 10.6, fifth-best
- Driver Rating of 102.4, fourth-best
- 119 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most
- Average Green Flag Speed of 162.030 mph, fifth-fastest
- 1,852 Laps in the Top 15 (78.8%), fifth-most

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Re: Hollywood Casino 400 Betting News and Notes

Kansas Speedway NASCAR Notes
Nascar.com

Picking Kansas Winner Easy As One-Two-Three Easy to pick the favorites in Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400. Just check the top of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup™ standings. Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin remain one, two and three as NASCAR’s post season rolls into its second half. Hamlin, Johnson and Keselowski are Kansas Speedway’s three most recent race winners. Coincidence? Perhaps; perhaps not. Sunday’s race marks the first time in the Chase era – and the 21st Century – that the top three in NASCAR Sprint Cup standings go to a track where they’ve won the past three races. It’s happened seven times, most recently on Sept. 26, 1999 at Dover International Speedway. Dale Jarrett, Bobby Labonte and Mark Martin were the points leaders/three most recent race winners. Keselowski saw his Chase lead halved at Charlotte Motor Speedway where a fuel-mileage miscalculation – heretofore the No. 2 Penske Racing Dodge team’s strong point – resulted in an 11th-place finish. Not the end of the world for Keselowski’s championship hopes but certainly a misstep, especially after he led the most laps (139) of the Bank of America 500. Keselowski’s first victory (of eight) for Penske Racing came at Kansas in May 2011. His average finish in five Kansas races is 10.2. Oh – and he won on fuel mileage. He finished 11th in April. Johnson is among four drivers with two Kansas victories. Last fall’s victory didn’t lead to a sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup title. Winning in 2008 did make Johnson the only driver with a Kansas victory and a championship under the Chase format. While statistics may be a subject measurement with the 1.5-track repaved and reconfigured since May’s STP 400, Johnson’s results can’t be ignored. His average finish (7.9 in 12 races) is best among active drivers. Johnson’s Driver Rating (120.7) also is best, as is his 373 Fastest Laps Run, Average Green Flag Speed (162.892) and 425 Quality Passes. Johnson finished third in May’s Kansas stop. Hamlin’s May victory was solid in every respect: A start of fourth, twice a leader including the final 31 laps and a Driver Rating of 128.6 – fractionally lower than that of second-place Martin Truex Jr., who paced the most laps. The Virginia native has three top fives at Kansas and an average finish in nine races of 14.4, 11th-best among active drivers. His other Loop Data stats are in the mid-range – none better than seventh (342 Quality Passes). Toyota’s one-two finish in May was unprecedented. The manufacturer never had won at Kansas Speedway, let alone sweep the top two positions. Hendrick Motorsports’ four victories – two each by Johnson and Jeff Gordon – are the most by a team in Kansas.

Bowyer Heads Home Truly A Championship Contender

A hero’s welcome awaits Clint Bowyer’s return to his native Kansas this week. And why not? Bowyer, who switched teams at the conclusion of 2011 – from Richard Childress Racing to Michael Waltrip Racing – is riding a high that well could take the Emporia native straight to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. Bowyer’s third and latest victory of the year last week at Charlotte Motor Speedway boosted the 33-year-old veteran to fourth in Chase standings, 28 points behind leader Brad Keselowski. He’s enjoying a career-best season – most wins, top fives (eight) and top 10s (19). For Bowyer – and MWR, in the Chase for the first time – change is good. He’s among active drivers who’ve boosted their competitive standing by swapping teams. Among them are Kyle Busch, eight victories in his first year with Joe Gibbs Racing; Mark Martin, a five-time winner in his debut with Hendrick Motorsports and Tony Stewart, whose decision to co-own Stewart-Haas Racing was good for four wins in 2009 and a third NASCAR Sprint Cup title two years later. Bowyer has three top 10s at the “old” Kansas Speedway including a second place in 2007. He finished seventh in last year’s Hollywood Casino 400 but was 36th in May’s STP 400. His Driver Rating is 85.7 – 15th best among active drivers. Momentum, the will to win and a brand-new racing surface could make Bowyer a tough driver to beat in Sunday’s race and beyond. “If we could possibly pull this off again in Kansas, it would be, that’s my, do you dare say Daytona 500? But it truly is. That’s the biggest race you can possibly win in front of your hometown,” said Bowyer following his Bank of America 500 victory.

Teams Confront Entirely Different Kansas Speedway

Loose the Dragon. That’s as in Kansas Speedway’s Tire Dragon, a device that’s been in use around the clock since the completion of the track’s repaving and reconfiguration in late summer. The machine uses more than 200 Goodyear tires to “rubber in” the new surface, which will see cars on track with testing by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning. Additionally, a number of drivers – Randy LaJoie, David Green, Brian Keselowski, Steve Grissom, Justin Labonte and Brad Noffsinger – have been circling the 1.5-mile track in retired NASCAR Sprint Cup cars running higher lines to encourage multiple grooves with additional rubber. The same two processes were employed successfully in 2011 at Phoenix International Raceway. Teams will see two major changes when they arrive in Kansas City, Kan. There’s the brand-new asphalt surface eliminating the seams that previously held the winter-ravaged and deteriorating pavement together and upset the handling of the race cars. Kansas Speedway’s turns also have been reconfigured, relegating teams’ previous set-up manuals to the rubbish bin. The track’s turns were banked 15 degrees from apron to SAFER barrier. Variable banking of 17 through 20 degrees, much like that of Homestead-Miami Speedway, should create multiple racing grooves. Computer modeling based on the geometry of the track after the reconfiguration was completed has all three lines within 0.1 seconds of each other. The computer says the highest line – 20 degrees – is the fastest way around the track.

Edwards Will Take Any Victory, Especially In Kansas

It’s hard to think of Carl Edwards as “spoiler,” especially at his home track, Kansas Speedway. But that’s the Columbia, Mo. resident’s role on Sunday, Edwards having failed to qualify for the Chase for just the second time in 2012 and without a victory since March 2011. But perhaps it’s Edwards’ time to get his due – where winning would be among his greatest achievements regardless of championship implications. Edwards has the credentials to become Kansas Speedway’s first “outsider” winner since Greg Biffle crashed the Chasers’ party in 2007. His sixth consecutive top-10 finishes include a second in 2008, and at 10.5, his Kansas Speedway average finish ranks fourth among active drivers Edwards isn’t the only outlier thirsting for a Chase-busting victory. Mark Martin, racing a part-time schedule for Michael Waltrip Racing, has been on the cusp of Victory Lane all season. Were Martin, a Kansas winner in 2005 a Chase qualifier, he’d have championship buzz: two top-five and four top-10 finishes plus a Coors Light Pole in his most recent six races. Martin is a Kansas winner (2005) and finished 10th in last year’s fall event.

Stewart, Gordon Facing Must-Win Scenarios

Reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart has five races in which to display last year’s magic. There’s still time to mount a successful defense of his third title – but not much and it’s running out. And he’s going to have to get some cooperation from his competition. Stewart stood fifth at the mid-point of last year’s Chase, three positions higher than currently ranked. The deficit to Carl Edwards was 24 points. Stewart currently trails by 50 points, following a 13th-place finish in Charlotte. Stewart opened this year’s Chase with back-to-back top 10s leading laps at both Chicagoland and New Hampshire. He’s led one lap and finished 20th or worse in two of three subsequent races. Kansas offers opportunity. Stewart twice has won at the track where his Driver Rating (102.9) is third best. The Hollywood Casino 400 likely is Jeff Gordon’s last stand. Gordon failed to take advantage of Brad Keselowski’s fuel-mileage miscue at Charlotte and is 50 points behind the Chase leader. Gordon also is a two-time Kansas winner (2001-02) and posted five consecutive top-five finishes between 2007 and last year’s spring race. On the flip side, Gordon was eliminated from last year’s Chase race by engine failure and finished three laps down in 21st this May.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Etc.
Chevrolet can mathematically clinch its 10th consecutive NSCS Manufacturers’ Championship (and 36th overall) on Sunday in Kansas. If Chevrolet leads the manufacturer standings by 25 points leaving the race, it will clinch. Chevrolet currently holds a 24-point lead over Toyota. Finishing ahead of Toyota will guarantee the title. … Michael Jackson of Duluth, Minnesota, will enjoy a VIP experience at Kansas as one of four national finalists for the 2012 Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award, given annually to a NASCAR fan who has had an impact on children in the local community. Jackson will take a pace car ride and garage tour and will meet Denny Hamlin, and other NASCAR Toyota drivers. Jackson’s chosen charity, Starlight Children’s Foundation, will receive $25,000 from The NASCAR Foundation. The national winner, chosen by a fan vote on NASCAR.com/award, will receive $100,000 for his or her charity and be recognized at the awards banquet in Las Vegas in Nov. 30.

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Re: Hollywood Casino 400 Betting News and Notes

Hollywood Casino 400 Preview
By Micah Roberts
VegasInsider.com

Forty-seven drivers tested the new pavement at Kansas Speedway Wednesday, and just like we saw at the repaved tracks at Michigan and Pocono already this season, speeds are going to be faster. Thirty drivers topped the track qualifying record of 180.856 mph set by Matt Kenseth in 2005. Greg Biffle was fastest on the day at 184.900 mph.

The change in the track from 15 degrees of banking into a progressive banking like at Homestead makes past Kansas trends and set-up notes almost useless.

“I look at it as a new race track,” said Jeff Gordon, who won the first two Kansas races. “We don’t think of it from any notes that we had from this track in the past. We pretty much just start from scratch. It’s like going to a brand new race track somewhere else. It looks completely different than it ever did before.”

The good news for the drivers is that they all seem to be comfortable with the tire compound, which wasn't the case at Pocono and Michigan.

“This track went to being pretty abrasive and wearing the tires out to now it’s smooth and super fast,” Gordon said. “We’re having fun out there, going really fast and having a lot of grip and testing and trying a lot of new things. That part of it is very interesting and fun.”

Since we we've thrown out most of our past Kansas trends, we can kind of generalize from a broad sense on 1.5-mile high banked tracks, almost like the drill we ran last week at Charlotte.

We haven't seen Jimmie Johnson win on a 1.5-mile track yet this season, but his chances look pretty good this week. He's the 5/1 co-favorite to win with Denny Hamlin, but the car that he's brought this week should make him more like a 7/2 favorite. This car is batting .500 this season with wins at Dover and the Brickyard. It also finished runner-up at Chicago and fourth at Dover.

We mentioned that Johnson hasn't won on a 1.5-mile track yet this season, but he did finish runner-up at Las Vegas, a track that looks very similar to Kansas now and he also finished third last week at Charlotte. It's also hard to throw away everything he's done at Kansas just because of the repave. He has a track best 7.9 career average finish with two wins, including this race last fall.

Oh yeah, he's also in the midst of a Chase, seven points behind Brad Keselowski, trying to win his sixth championship.

He's got everything in his favor this week: stellar car, crew chief, momentum and knowledge of how he's supposed to react in these situations. He may not show too much emotion, but his corporate mentality with everything being all business has to be commended, and respected.

That's the one area where Hamlin doesn't have the edge over Johnson. Hamlin has two wins on 1.5-mile tracks, including the spring race at Kansas, but his confidence is kind of a false front. While Hamlin called his shot at New Hampshire may have been a way for him to get himself pumped up, in reality, Hamlin has to be scared stiff that he doesn't fail like in 2010.

Johnson knows how to win this thing, while Hamlin is still learning on the fly.

Following the Charlotte race, the LVH Super Book in Las Vegas (odds below) made Hamlin the 3/2 favorite to win the Chase despite being third in points, 15 behind Keselowski. The thinking is that Hamlin has stayed the course steady and he'll have the edge on the three 1.5s remaining as well as Martinsville and Phoenix.

I still like Hamlin to win it all, but Johnson is a hard driver to bet against in this format, especially considering that he'll probably win on Sunday.

While I do expect those two to battle it out for the win, there are a few other drivers that are interesting looks this week, beginning with Greg Biffle who seems to have figured out NASCAR's aero package that was mandated in midseason. Biffle and the other Fords were thrown for a loop and were far behind the other manufacturers, but it's apparent by his finish last week at Charlotte (4th) and Wednesday's testing that they are back in business as a contender. He'll be driving a new car this week.

Regan Smith has the luxury of driving the same chassis that Dale Earnhardt Jr. won with at Michigan. I kind of had a conspiracy feeling last week when the No. 88 had some issues ending a good run by Smith. That team had perfect cars on the previous eight races run on 1.5-mile tracks and the one week Junior was out, they failed. We can't have a replacement driver winning in his first race, which may prove that Junior may not have the type of skills we all think he has. It basically was just bad luck, no conspiracy, but Smith will be a driver I take a long look at in the sports book this week.

Kasey Kahne will be using his winning Charlotte chassis from May. Kevin Harvick will be running the same car that he finished runner-up with at Chicago. And Martin Truex Jr. should also be given a shot even though he's only won one race over his career and that was in 2007. But he's been so close and his MWR car is super-fast.

Top-5 Finish Prediction:

1) #48 Jimmie Johnson (5/1)
2) #11 Denny Hamlin (5/1)
3) #16 Greg Biffle (7/1)
4) #5 Kasey Kahne (8/1)
5) #56 Martin Truex Jr (15/1)

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Re: Hollywood Casino 400 Betting News and Notes

NASCAR ready to roll the dice at Kansas
By: Greg Engle
Examiner.com

As the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Kansas Speedway for Sundays Hollywood Casino 400, choosing a favorite might seem easy. Then again past statistics might actually mean nothing at all and it could be anyone’s race.

For the first time in the history of the Chase and since 1999, the top three contenders for the title are the same three who have won the last three races at the track the series is racing at. Denny Hamlin won here in the spring, Jimmie Johnson won this race last season and Brad Keselowski won the Kansas race last spring. You might think it would be easy to pick those three as the favorites this week. You’d be wrong.

Kansas has been repaved since the last visit here and the turns now have variable banking – 17 degrees to 20 degrees – that replaces the 15 degrees (apron to wall) of the former layout. Teams got a chance to try out the new surface this week during a short two day testing session, but don’t except past success to equal future victory.

Brad Keselowski is still in control of the points lead. After finishing outside the top 10 last week at Charlotte, BK lost half of his lead and enters Kansas 7 markers ahead. While he did have a bad finish last week, keep in mind that he did lead the most laps on the 1.5 mile Charlotte track coming up short in the end after fuel mileage gamble that was played wrong. Keselowski could make up for his mistake last week with a win Sunday.

“We can’t wait to get to Kansas to prove that our finish at Charlotte was an anomaly, a blip on the radar,” Keselowski said. “And going to a track where we’ve won before gives us a little extra confidence, although it is a new surface that we’ll be breaking in. We were able to take part in the tire test there a few weeks ago and they did an outstanding job with the repave. It’s smooth and fast, and while it may be one-groove for a few races, I think we’ll see it become a very competitive place. I would definitely like to be the first driver to win on the new surface.”

Jimmie Johnson parleyed his fuel mileage gamble last week into a strong third place finish. Johnson is the defending winner of this race and was third here in the spring. Johnson’s frustration at having gone winless since Indy could come to an end Sunday. Remember though, Kansas is usually a fuel mileage race and that’s something Johnson has yet to completely master.

Denny Hamlin won the spring race here but was 16th in this race last season. He was third the year prior but 12th then fifth. He could surprise this weekend but with his up and down record and given the unknowns that make the notebooks obsolete, it could be a day of simply surviving for Hamlin.

Clint Bowyer has never been known for his prowess on 1.5 tracks. However, last week at Charlotte Bowyer was able to conserve enough fuel and get in a position to score his first win on a 1.5 mile track. There’s something to be said for momentum and heading to the 1.5 track Bowyer considers his home track, Bowyer could just stage a repeat this Sunday.

“A lot of confidence, a lot of momentum, everything that comes off of a win,” Bowyer said. “But to be able to do it rolling into home, and Kansas is very special, a lot of testing over the next couple days, looking forward to getting there and seeing what we have for a race car and the new repave.”

Kasey Kahne was a favorite last week and came up far short of expectations. He’s never won at Kansas although he was second in this race last year and 8th in the spring. The two races prior to his runner up finish last season, Kahne finished outside the top 10. Kahne could be strong Sunday, but may just hope to finish inside the top 10.

Greg Biffle made the biggest gain in the points last week with a fourth place finish at Charlotte. Baffle now heads to Kansas where he’s a two time winner and finished fifth here in the spring. He also has the second highest driver rating in the field, second only to Johnson. If Biffle is on his game this weekend, he could just be the driver to beat Sunday.

Martin Truex Jr. was second here in the spring, but his record at Kansas prior to that is less than stellar. In four of the last five races prior to this year, Truex finished outside the top 20. He also has the lowest driver rating among the Chase field. Never say never, but a win at Kansas is probably not in Truex’s future.

Tony Stewart has had a quiet Chase thus far. A 13th place finish last week at Charlotte didn’t help his cause. Heading to Kansas might give him some glimmer of hope; after all he does have two wins here and the third highest driver rating. But Stewart has finished outside the top 10 in his last two visits here including a 13th here in the spring. He’s been hot and he’s been cold here; lately he seems colder than hotter.

Jeff Gordon has been in the Chase then out of the Chase. He started at the bottom and made it as high as sixth. After finishing 18th last week at Charlotte Gordon fell three spots and now enters Kansas in ninth. Gordon does have two wins here, but those came a decade ago. He was 21st here in the spring and engine woes in this race last year relegated him to a 34th. Gordon is struggling and especially so at the 1.5 mile tracks. Don’t look to victory lane for Gordon this week.

Kevin Harvick had a career best finish of third here in 2010. Since then he’s finished sixth in the spring and in this race last year and 11th in the spring race last season. Harvick has been a no-show during the Chase and that probably won’t change Sunday.

Matt Kenseth has never won here, but that could change this weekend. Kenseth has finished fourth here in the last two races including the spring race. Kenseth won at Talladega and could definitely add another win this Sunday.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., will be setting out another race as he recovers from the effects of a concussion. It will be fun to watch his replacement Regan Smith try and keep the No. 88 Chevy in the top 10.

Non-Chasers.

Carl Edwards would love nothing more than to add to Kansas Speedway victory to his resume. The Missouri native considers Kansas his home track, but has never finished better than second here. He was ninth in the spring race but with nothing to lose, Edwards could go all the way Sunday.

Mark Martin running a part time schedule for Michael Waltrip Racing has been competitive in every race he’s entered. Martin has two top-five and four top-10 finishes plus a pole in his most recent six races. Martin is a Kansas winner (2005) and finished 10th in last year’s fall event.

Seven of the 13 races have been won from a top-10 starting position. Two drivers have won from the pole: Joe Nemechek in 2004 and Jimmie Johnson in 2008. The furthest back in the field that a race winner started was 25th, by Brad Keselowski last season.

Favorites:
Brad Keselowski
Greg Biffle
Matt Kenseth
Non-Chasers
Carl Edwards
Mark Martin

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Re: Hollywood Casino 400 Betting News and Notes

Driver Handicaps: Kansas
By: Jeff Wackerlin
Racingone.com

Motor Racing Network brings you our weekly detailed look at some of the field for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway.

Note: The Hollywood Casino 400 will be the first race on Kansas Speedway's new asphalt that includes variable banking in the turns. Sprint Cup teams had two days of testing that started on Wednesday. Testing Speeds

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 eight of the last nine races.
• Denny Hamlin won in the spring for his third top five in his last five starts.
• Brad Keselowski has posted a 5.0 average finish in his last three starts, including a win.
• Matt Kenseth has finished seventh of better in his last four starts.

Keep an Eye On at Kansas

• Martin Truex Jr. (8.5), Kasey Kahne (8.9), Kyle Busch (9.0) and Kevin Harvick (9.8) each rank in the top 10 in average finish in the eight races on 1.5-mile tracks in 2012.
• Regan Smith Will be making his second start in the No. 88 Chevrolet, which will be the same chassis that Dale Earnhardt won with at Michigan International Speedway in June.
• Marcos Ambrose, Kurt Busch and Paul Menard were among the top 10 on the speed chart in the opening testing session at Kansas.
• Clint Bowyer and Joey Logano have posted respective average finishes of 5.5 and 8.0 in the last two races this season on 1.5-mile tracks.
• Mark Martin, who was second fastest in the first day of testing, has posted five top 10s - including one win - in 13 starts at Kansas.

MotorRacingNetwork.com Staff Picks

Jeff Wackerlin: Greg Biffle
Pete Pistone: Brad Keselowski
Ricky Hamber: Jeff Gordon
John Singler: Denny Hamlin

Top 20 Driver Notes - Ordered by current standings

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

Brad Keselowski: Winner of the 2011 spring race; Has posted a 5.0 average finish in last three starts; Tied for the most wins on 1.5-mile tracks this season with two; Ninth among all drivers in average finish (12.5) in the eight races on 1.5-mile tracks in 2012; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 832) that he won with at Chicagoland Speedway.

Jimmie Johnson: Leads all drivers with a 7.9 average finish (12 starts); Defending event winner; Has finished ninth or better in last seven starts; Second in average finish (7.9) and first in laps led (439) in the eight races on 1.5-mile tracks in 2012;

Denny Hamlin: Coming off first win in nine starts; Win was third top five in the last five races; Tied for the most wins on 1.5-mile tracks this season with two; Leads all drivers with a 7.1 average finish in the eight races on 1.5-mile tracks in 2012.

Clint Bowyer: Finished 36th due to an engine failure in the spring in first track start with Michael Waltrip Racing; Last of three top 10s (seventh) came in this event last year; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 738) that he finished 27th with at Atlanta Motor Speedway in September.

Kasey Kahne: Third fastest in the opening day of testing; Finished eighth in first track start with Hendrick Motorsports in April; Finish was second consecutive top 10 and fourth overall in 10 starts; Two-time pole winner; Fifth in average finish (8.9) in the eight races on 1.5-mile tracks in 2012.

Greg Biffle: Led the opening day of testing with a lap of 184.900 mph; Two-time winner; Has finished in the top 10 in his last seven starts; Third in average finish (8.2) and Second in laps led (368) in the eight races on 1.5-mile tracks in 2012; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 825) in the Hollywood Casino 400.

Martin Truex Jr: Led 173 laps and finished second in April; Finish was first top 10 in eight starts; Fourth in average finish (8.5) and laps led (282) in the eight races on 1.5-mile tracks in 2012.

Tony Stewart: Two-time winner; 8.2 average finish in five starts with Stewart-Haas Racing; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 735) that he finished 10th with at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Jeff Gordon: Winner of the first two races in 2001 and 2002; Finished in the top five from 2007 to the 2011 spring race; 27.5 average finish in last two starts.

Kevin Harvick: Coming off consecutive sixth-place finishes; Six top 10s and an average finish of 13.0 in 13 starts; Seventh in average finish (9.8) and eighth in laps led (106) in the eight races on 1.5-mile tracks in 2012; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 378) that he most recently finished fifth with at Atlanta Motor Speedway in September.

Matt Kenseth: Eighth fastest in the opening day of testing; Has finished seventh or better in last four starts; Eighth among all drivers in average finish (10.6) in the eight races on 1.5-mile tracks in 2012; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 826) in the Hollywood Casino 400.

Dale Earnhardt Jr: Not racing; Regan Smith will be behind the wheel of the No. 88 Chevrolet again; Smith has yet to finish inside the top 20 in his five starts; Smith was ninth fastest in the opening day of testing; Smith will be driving the same car (chassis No. 716) that Earnhardt Jr. raced to a seventh-place finish at Kansas in April and to a win at Michigan International Speedway in June.

Kyle Busch: Coming off second top 10 (10th) in 10 starts; 15.7 average finish in six starts with Joe Gibbs Racing; Sixth in average finish (9.0) and laps led (239) in the eight races on 1.5-mile tracks in 2012.

Ryan Newman: Winner of the 2003 race; 16.8 average finish in five starts with Stewart-Haas Racing; Only top 10 (ninth) with SHR came in 2010; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 733) that he last finished 21st with at Dover International Speedway last month.

Carl Edwards: Seventh fastest in the opening day of testing; Coming off sixth consecutive top 10; 10.5 average finish in 10 starts; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 827) in the Hollywood Casino 400.

Paul Menard: Tenth fastest in the opening day of testing; 16.3 average finish in three starts with Richard Childress Racing; Only top 10 (20.1) in seven starts came with Richard Petty Motorsports in 2010; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 351) that he finished eighth with at Atlanta Motor Speedway in September.

Joey Logano: Coming off best finish in six starts in 15th; 25.2 average finish.

Marcos Ambrose: Fourth fastest in the opening day of testing; Only top 10 (ninth) in six starts came in this event last year; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 784) that he most recently finished 17th with at Atlanta Motor Speedway in September.

Jeff Burton: Last of two top 10s (seventh) came in 2008; 19.5 average finish in 13 starts; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 393) that he most recently finished 12th with at Atlanta Motor Speedway in September.

Jamie McMurray: 20.3 average finish in 11 starts; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 1207) that he raced four times this season with his best finish, of eighth, coming at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

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Re: Hollywood Casino 400 Betting News and Notes

NASCAR Practice Notes & Driver Ratings     
By Micah Roberts
VegasInsider.com

Practice Notes - Kansas

Rating     Driver     Odds     Practice 1     Qualified     Practice 2     Practice 3
1     Jimmie Johnson     5/1     6th     7th     21st     3rd
Two-time winner with track best 7.9 average finish; using chassis that won at Indy and Dover.

2     Greg Biffle     7/1     1st     11th     1st     13th
Two-time winner with eighth-place average finish; using a brand new chassis this week.

3     Matt Kenseth     12/1     8th     12th     4th     1st
Career best fourth-place finish in past two starts; using a brand new chassis this week.

4     Kasey Kahne     8/1     5th     1st     3rd     4th
Runner-up last fall; using chassis that has three top-three finishes, including Charlotte win.

5     Denny Hamlin     5/1     21st     9th     12th     10th
Won April 22 race, the first of two wins on 1.5-mile tracks this season; 15-points behind in Chase.

6     Mark Martin     15/1     14th     2nd     10th     7th
2005 winner; best 10-consecutive lap average in final practice; using Indy chassis.

7     Regan Smith     30/1     7th     39th     24th     2nd
Driving No. 88 car for injured Dale Earnhardt Jr.; using chassis that Junior won with at Michigan.

8     Martin Truex Jr.     15/1     20th     16th     5th     5th
Led four times for race high 173 laps in April 22 race en route to a runner-up finish.

9     Clint Bowyer     15/1     12th     3rd     13th     16th
Emporia, Kansas native with a career best runner-up in 2007; only 28-points behind in Chase.

10     Brad Keselowski     8/1     19th     25th     16th     6th
2011 winner with two wins on 1.5-mile tracks this season; using winning Chicago chassis.

Note: Kansas Speedway was recently resurfaced giving the 1.5- track a progressive banking that makes it now run similar to Homestead. Some drivers compared it to Michigan.

Betting Notes: The Fords of Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle looked pretty strong during the practice sessions giving reason to believe their little slump on 1.5-mile tracks is over. We saw Biffle run well last week at Charlotte with a fourth-place finish and they are going to be tough to beat Sunday. Both Kenseth and Biffle are using brand new cars for this race.

The one driver that could ruin the day for the new Roush Fords is Jimmie Johnson. He finished third last week at Charlotte and is still searching for his first 1.5-mile track win of the season. He's using a car this week that has two wins in four starts. The beast of a car won at Dover and Brickyard, as well as finishing runner-up at Chicago and fourth at Dover a few weeks ago. In the second practice session, Johnson had the best 10-consecutive lap average.

Mark Martin has been a driver teasing us all season with great qualifying and practice efforts, but still doesn't have a win on the season. We know he's got a strong car, but he just can't seem to get over the hump. He looks to be capable again this week. He had the best 10-consecutive lap average in final practice.

Kasey Kahne is still only 35-points behind the leader with five Chase races left and should find himself running in the top-5 all race. He had fantastic practice sessions and is using a chassis that finished third or better three times, including winning at Charlotte in May.

Denny Hamlin has been the best on 1.5-mile tracks this season, but didn't do anything in practice to suggest he'll be running for the win. He's got a top-10 car for sure, but for his sake, hopefully he doesn't try to get too much out of it and get himself in a wreck, which would ruin his Chase chances. He's got to take what the car gives him and make the most of it, which may be hard for a driver like Hamln to do.

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