Ford EcoBoost 400 Betting News and Notes

Ford EcoBoost 400 Betting News and Notes

Odds & Ends - Homestead
VegasInsider.com

Homestead-Miami Speedway Data

Chase Race #: 10 of 10
Season Race #: 36 of 36 (11-18-12)
Track Size: 1.5-mile
Banking/Turns: 18 - 20 degrees
Banking/Straights: 4 degrees
Frontstretch Length: 1,760 feet
Backstretch Length: 1,760 feet
Race Length: 267 laps / 400.5 miles

Top 12 Driver Rating at Homestead

Carl Edwards 120.9
Martin Truex Jr. 109.7
Matt Kenseth 107.0
Kevin Harvick 102.5
Jimmie Johnson 95.2
Tony Stewart 93.1
Jeff Gordon 92.9
Denny Hamlin 92.5
Greg Biffle 92.2
Kasey Kahne 90.1
Clint Bowyer 87.8
Jeff Burton 86.5

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

Qualifying/Race Data

2011 pole winner: Carl Edwards, Ford, 175.467 mph, 30.775 secs., 11-18-11
2011 race winner: Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 114.976 mph, (3:29:00), 11-20-11
Track qualifying record: Jamie McMurray,Dodge, 181.111 mph, 29.816 sec., 11-16-03
Track race record: Tony Stewart, Pontiac, 140.335 mph, (2:51:14), 11-14-99

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Re: Ford EcoBoost 400 Betting News and Notes

Driver Highlights - Homestead
VegasInsider.com

1 - Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge)
-- Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 99.0

2012 Rundown
-- Five wins, 13 top fives, 23 top 10s
-- Average finish of 9.9
-- Led 21 races for 735 laps

Homestead-Miami Speedway Outlook
-- Average finish of 20.3 in four races
-- Average Running Position of 21.3, 21st-best
-- Driver Rating of 68.9, 23rd-best

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

-- Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 110.0

2012 Rundown
-- Five wins, 18 top fives, 24 top 10s; four poles
-- Average finish of 10.5
-- Led 25 races for 1,719 laps

Homestead-Miami Speedway Outlook
-- Four top fives, seven top 10s; two poles
-- Average finish of 13.5 in 11 races
-- Average Running Position of 14.2, 11th-best
-- Driver Rating of 95.2, fifth-best
-- 50 Fastest Laps Run, 13th-most
-- Average Green Flag Speed of 162.408 mph, sixth-fastest
-- 1,321 Laps in the Top 15 (70.6%), fifth-most
-- 291 Quality Passes, seventh-most

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

-- Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 96.5

2012 Rundown
-- Two wins, 12 top fives, 19 top 10s; four poles
-- Average finish of 12.9
-- Led 11 races for 275 laps

Homestead-Miami Speedway Outlook
-- One top five, four top 10s; two poles
-- Average finish of 14.8 in eight races
-- Average Running Position of 12.9, fifth-best
-- Driver Rating of 90.1, 10th-best
-- 86 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-most
-- 544 Green Flag Passes, fifth-most
-- Average Green Flag Speed of 162.135 mph, 12th-fastest
-- 1,079 Laps in the Top 15 (57.7%), 12th-most
-- 259 Quality Passes, 12th-most

4 - Clint Bowyer (No. 15 5 Hour Energy Toyota)

-- Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 95.9

2012 Rundown
-- Three wins, nine top fives, 22 top 10s
-- Average finish of 11.2
-- Led 13 races for 388 laps

Homestead-Miami Speedway Outlook
-- One top five, three top 10s
-- Average finish of 13.8 in six races
-- Average Running Position of 13.1, sixth-best
-- Driver Rating of 87.8, 11th-best
-- 526 Green Flag Passes, seventh-most
-- Average Green Flag Speed of 162.075 mph, 13th-fastest
-- 1,092 Laps in the Top 15 (68.1%), 11th-most
-- 308 Quality Passes, fourth-most

5 - Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota)

-- Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 102.0

2012 Rundown
-- Five wins, 14 top fives, 17 top 10s; three poles
-- Average finish of 12.5
-- Led 24 races for 1,226 laps

Homestead-Miami Speedway Outlook
-- One win, three top fives, four top 10s
-- Average finish of 10.9 in seven races
-- Average Running Position of 14.3, 12th-best
-- Driver Rating of 92.5, eighth-best
-- 626 Green Flag Passes, second-most
-- 1,156 Laps in the Top 15 (61.8%), eighth-most
-- 314 Quality Passes, third-most

6 - Matt Kenseth (No. 17 Best Buy Ford)

-- Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 99.9

2012 Rundown
-- Three wins, 13 top fives, 19 top 10s; one pole
-- Average finish of 10.9
-- Led 22 races for 478 laps

Homestead-Miami Speedway Outlook
-- One win, three top fives, five top 10s
-- Average finish of 17.6 in 12 races
-- Average Running Position of 9.6, third-best
-- Driver Rating of 107.0, third-best
-- 81 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-most
-- Average Green Flag Speed of 162.650 mph, third-fastest
-- 1,488 Laps in the Top 15 (79.6%), third-most
-- 282 Quality Passes, ninth-most

7 - Greg Biffle (No. 16 3M/SP Richards Ford)

-- Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 100.0

2012 Rundown
-- Two wins, 11 top fives, 20 top 10s; three poles
-- Average finish of 10.3
-- Led 16 races for 721 laps

Homestead-Miami Speedway Outlook
-- Three wins, three top fives, four top 10s
-- Average finish of 15.3 in 10 races
-- Average Running Position of 14.5, 13th-best
-- Driver Rating of 92.2, ninth-best
-- 100 Fastest Laps Run, third-most
-- 572 Green Flag Passes, fourth-most
-- Average Green Flag Speed of 162.436 mph, fifth-fastest
-- 1,150 Laps in the Top 15 (61.5%), ninth-most
-- 253 Quality Passes, 13th-most

8 - Kevin Harvick (No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet)

-- Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 91.2

2012 Rundown
-- One win, five top fives, 13 top 10s
-- Average finish of 12.2
-- Led 9 races for 256 laps

Homestead-Miami Speedway Outlook
-- Five top fives, nine top 10s
-- Average finish of 7.9 in 11 races
-- Average Running Position of 9.7, fourth-best
-- Driver Rating of 102.5, fourth-best
-- Average Green Flag Speed of 162.598 mph, fourth-fastest
-- 1,499 Laps in the Top 15 (80.2%), second-most
-- 307 Quality Passes, fifth-most

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

-- Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 86.7

2012 Rundown
-- Three wins, 12 top fives, 16 top 10s; one pole
-- Average finish of 13.5
-- Led 14 races for 420 laps

Homestead-Miami Speedway Outlook
-- Three wins, four top fives, seven top 10s
-- Average finish of 11.5 in 13 races
-- Average Running Position of 13.7, seventh-best
-- Driver Rating of 93.1, sixth-best
-- 99 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most
-- 533 Green Flag Passes, sixth-most
-- Average Green Flag Speed of 162.313 mph, seventh-fastest
-- 1,263 Laps in the Top 15 (67.5%), sixth-most
-- 290 Quality Passes, eighth-most

10 - Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont 20 Years 'Celebratory' Chevrolet)

-- Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 97.4

2012 Rundown
-- One win, 10 top fives, 17 top 10s; two poles
-- Average finish of 14.5
-- Led 22 races for 554 laps

Homestead-Miami Speedway Outlook
-- Six top fives, 10 top 10s
-- Average finish of 11.3 in 13 races
-- Average Running Position of 14.0, ninth-best
-- Driver Rating of 92.9, seventh-best
-- 68 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-most
-- 1,234 Laps in the Top 15 (66.0%), seventh-most
-- 333 Quality Passes, second-most

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

-- Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 94.9

2012 Rundown
-- Seven top fives, 18 top 10s; one pole
-- Average finish of 12.3
-- Led 11 races for 423 laps

Homestead-Miami Speedway Outlook
-- Two top fives, five top 10s
-- Average finish of 10.4 in seven races
-- Average Running Position of 8.7, second-best
-- Driver Rating of 109.7, second-best
-- 143 Fastest Laps Run, second-most
-- Average Green Flag Speed of 162.860 mph, second-fastest
-- 1,334 Laps in the Top 15 (83.2%), fourth-most
-- Series-high 382 Quality Passes

12 - Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevrolet)
-- Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 96.4

2012 Rundown
-- One win, 10 top fives, 19 top 10s; one pole
-- Average finish of 10.9
-- Led 13 races for 358 laps

Homestead-Miami Speedway Outlook
-- Average finish of 23.1 in 12 races
-- Average Running Position of 21.5, 23rd-best
-- Driver Rating of 69.6, 22nd-best
-- 93 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most
-- Series-high 635 Green Flag Passes

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Re: Ford EcoBoost 400 Betting News and Notes

Ford EcoBoost 400 Preview
By Micah Roberts
VegasInsider.com

Going into Phoenix last week Jimmie Johnson was a -275 favorite to win his sixth title in seven seasons. He looked to be coasting after winning the two previous races with only two races remaining. But after a blown tire relegated him to a 32nd-place finish, Johnson finds himself 20-points behind the tenacious Brad Keselowski.

Now with the season finale at Homestead upon us, Johnson is 10-to-1 to win the Championship -- his highest odds of the season -- and Keselowski is a whopping -1500 (bet $15 to win $1). But this thing is far from over, and Johnson is a driver you never want to doubt.

“My focus is going down there (Homestead) and winning the race,” Johnson said. “We typically haven’t had to have that mentality going into this race, but we have shown we can race for the win. We did it in 2010 against Denny (Hamlin), finished second and won the championship.

Johnson was 15 points behind a young Denny Hamlin in 2010 going into Homestead. Hamlin had shown signs of breaking down on and off the track the week prior at Phoenix, but Keselowski has shown no mental breakdown this year. However, Johnson is still confident based on the game the No. 2 team will have to play.

“This No. 48 Lowe’s team can do it again. We have nothing to lose and can gamble and take chances. Brad (Keselowski) doesn’t have that luxury. This isn’t over. This team never gives up, and we don’t intend to now.”

Because of Johnson's focus on winning this week, he's been installed as the 4-to-1 favorite to win despite having never won on the track. Part of the reason they have never won, at least in his five championship seasons, was that he didn't have to. He played the cautious role like the No. 2 has to play this week.

“We will go down and do our part and just see how things unfold,” Johnson said. “(Phoenix) was proof that anything can happen in this sport, and we will see how things shake out in Miami.”

While it would be nice to see history with Johnson winning another title as he chases his goal of winning eight championships, which would give him the most ever in NASCAR, it would be kind of refreshing to see the Keselowski win. It would also be cool to see Roger Penske finally win his first NASCAR Championship as an owner.

“When I first came to Penske Racing, I viewed it as an organization with so much potential," Keselowski said earlier this week. "I had a vision for what I knew this place could become, and I shared that with Mr. Penske in our first meeting together. And as he began to give (crew chief) Paul (Wolfe) and I the things that we needed, we began to show results on the racetrack which, in turn, led to a lot of trust among myself, Mr. Penske, Paul and everyone else at Penske Racing.

"So having a legitimate shot to win the championship this weekend is something that I take great pride in because I know we got there together. Everything about this team is first-class, from our owner to our facility to our sponsor, Miller Lite. We have everything we need to be a championship contender for years to come and it’s exciting to be a part of that.”

Keselowski is using a chassis this week that finished 11th at Charlotte in September. His best career finish at Homestead was 13th in 2010, but it's fair to say we can throw out all his past history as he's had a succession of career runs on tracks he never performed well at during the Chase.

Because of Johnson's determination and desperation, he's favorite to win Sunday. Keselowski is listed at 10-to-1, low odds because he figures to coast around the track cautiously watching what Johnson does.

Outside of Johnson, the drivers we want to take a look at are all housed in the Roush Racing stable. They have won six of the past eight races at Homsestead, including Carl Edwards runner-up finish last season that cost him the championship by one-point. Greg Biffle won three in a row from 2004-06, Matt Kenseth won in 2007 and Edwards won two of the past four. The best of them all this week looks to be Kenseth.

“We had a really fast car last year at Homestead and we were able to finish fourth," said Kenseth. "Homestead is one of my favorite tracks on the circuit and it’s a great place to end the season. I think that with the banking they put in a few years ago, Homestead has really become one of the best tracks that we race at. There’s enough banking that we can run side-by-side, and the groove ends up being along the top line. I just think it’s a place that creates great racing, so I’m looking forward to this weekend and would love to get a win for this No. 17 team.”

The best part about Kenseth this week besides his optimism is that he's using his winning chassis from Kansas last month. Kenseth can be had at 8-to-1.

Homestead is a 1.5-mile track with progressive banking, but the configuration makes it different from all the other D-shaped ovals on the circuit. However, the set-ups used on the fast tracks like Charlotte, Atlanta and Texas are applicable here, so it's a good idea to check those recent results before placing a wager.

A nice longshot look this week is Kevin Harvick at 25-to-1. He's never won at Homestead, but does have a 7.9 career average that includes two runner-ups. It may sound odd to back a driver that just won his first race of the season a week prior, but Edwards did the same thing in 2010, closing out a then-winless season with two straight wins.

Top-5 Finish Prediction:

1) #17 Matt Kenseth (8/1)
2) #48 Jimmie Johnson (4/1)
3) #16 Greg Biffle (12/1)
4) #29 Denny Hamlin (8/1)
5) #29 Kevin Harvick (25/1)

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Re: Ford EcoBoost 400 Betting News and Notes

Driver Handicaps: Homestead-Miami
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 season finale Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Who's HOT at Homestead-Miami

• Carl Edwards has finished eighth or better in the last seven races, including two wins.
• Kevin Harvick has posted a 4.0 average finish in the last four races.
• Greg Biffle leads all drivers with three victories on the current track configuration.
• Tony Stewart has finished in the top 10 in three of the last four races, including a win last year.
• Matt Kenseth, winner of the 2007 race, is second in laps led (303) on the current track configuration.
• Martin Truex Jr. has posted a 6.8 average finish in his last six starts.
• Denny Hamlin has one win and a 7.2 average finish in his last six starts.
• Jeff Gordon (10.2) and Jimmie Johnson (12.3) are second and third, respectively, in average finish among drivers that have competed in all of the last 10 races.

Keep an Eye On at Homestead-Miami

• Dale Earnhardt Jr., who has yet to post a top 10 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, has recorded an average finish of 7.4 in eight starts on 1.5-mile tracks this season.
• Kasey Kahne (10.0), Kyle Busch (10.6) and Brad Keselowski (11.0) each rank in the top 10 in average finish among drivers that have raced in all 10 races on 1.5-mile tracks this season.
• Clint Bowyer leads all drivers with an average finish of 4.3 in the last three races this season on 1.5-mile tracks.
• Kurt Busch has finished in the top 10 in his last two races of the season with Furniture Row Racing.
• Mark Martin will be driving the same chassis he finished sixth with at Charlotte Motor Speedway last month.
• Ryan Newman has posted an average finish of 9.3 since being reunited with crew chief Matt Borland, three races ago.

MotorRacingNetwork.com Staff Picks

Jeff Wackerlin: Martin Truex Jr.
Pete Pistone: Greg Biffle
Ricky Hamber: Jimmie Johnson
John Singler: Ryan Newman

Top 20 Driver Notes - Ordered by current standings

(All stats/notes are in regards to Homestead-Miami unless noted)

Brad Keselowski: Has yet to finish in the top 10 in four starts; 20.2 average finish; Ninth in average finish (11.0) and third in laps led (362) among all drivers that have competed in all 10 races on 1.5-mile tracks this season; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 830) that he last finished 11th with at Charlotte Motor Speedway in October.

Jimmie Johnson: Has finished in the top five in two of his last three starts; Seventh in average finish (12.8) in the nine races on the current track configuration; Leads all drivers in average finish (7.3) and laps led (651) in the 10 races on 1.5-mile tracks this season; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 728) that he last finished ninth with at Kansas Speedway last month.

Kasey Kahne: Has finished seventh or better in four of his eight starts; 6.5 average finish in last two starts; Sixth among all drivers in average finish (10.0) that have competed in all 10 races on 1.5-mile tracks this season; Will make first track start with Hendrick Motorsports in the same car (chassis No. 729) that he last finished eighth with at Charlotte Motor Speedway last month.

Clint Bowyer: Coming off third top 10 (sixth) in six starts; 13.8 average finish; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 738) that he last finished sixth with at Kansas Speedway.

Denny Hamlin: Winner of the 2009 race after leading 71 laps; Coming off fourth top 10 (ninth) in seven starts; Fifth in average finish (10.9 - seven starts) in the nine races on the current track configuration; Third among all drivers in average finish (9.0) that have competed in all 10 races on 1.5-mile tracks this season.

Matt Kenseth: Winner of the 2007 race; Has finished ninth or better in five of his last seven starts; Eighth in average finish (13.7) in the nine races on the current track configuration; Fourth among all drivers in average finish (9.4) that have competed in all 10 races on 1.5-mile tracks this season; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 826) that he scored the win with at Kansas Speedway last month.

Greg Biffle: Winner of the 2004 - 2006 races; Only top 10 since scoring three-straight wins came in 2010 in 10th; 14.2 average finish in the nine races on the current track configuration; Seventh in average finish (10.3) and second in laps led (368) among all drivers that have competed in all 10 races on 1.5-mile tracks this season; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 817) that he last finished fourth with at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Kevin Harvick: Second in average finish (6.7) in the nine races on the current track configuration; Eighth-place finish last season was fourth consecutive top 10; Fifth among all drivers in average finish (9.8) that have competed in all 10 races on 1.5-mile tracks this season; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 378) that he posted an average finish of 8.0 in four starts this season; He most recently finished 11th in it at Kansas Speedway.

Tony Stewart: Defending race winner; Win was third top 10 in last four starts; Sixth in average finish (12.3) in the nine races on the current track configuration; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 735) that he last finished fifth with at Kansas Speedway last month.

Martin Truex Jr: Third in average finish (5.2 - seven starts) in the nine races on the current track configuration; Finished third last season for fifth top 10 in seven starts; Second among all drivers in average finish (8.3) that have competed in all 10 races on 1.5-mile tracks this season.

Jeff Gordon: Fourth in average finish (10.8) in the nine races on the current track configuration; Has finished ninth or better in eight of his last 10 starts; 10th among all drivers in average finish (12.8) that have competed in all 10 races on 1.5-mile tracks this season.

Dale Earnhardt Jr: Homestead-Miami is the only oval track on the schedule that he's yet to record a top 10 at; Coming off best finish in 12 starts in 11th; 7.4 average finish in eight starts on 1.5-mile tracks this season; Will pilot the same car (chassis No. 716) that Regan Smith drove to a seventh-place finish at Kansas Speedway last month.

Kyle Busch: Only top 10 (eighth) in seven starts came in 2009; 25.9 average finish; Eighth in average finish (10.6) and fourth in laps led (319) among all drivers that have competed in all 10 races on 1.5-mile tracks this season.

Ryan Newman: Only top 10 (seventh) in three starts with Stewart-Haas Racing came in 2010; 19.8 average finish in the nine races on the current track configuration; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 727) that he last finished 15th with at Michigan International Speedway in June.

Carl Edwards: Leads all drivers with a 5.2 average finish; Leads all drivers in laps led (560) on the current track configuration; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 827) that he last finished 14th with at Kansas Speedway.

Paul Menard: Has yet to finish in the top 10 in six starts; Coming off best finish in 16th, which marked his first track start with Richard Childress Racing; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 379) that he last finished 22nd with at Dover International Speedway in September.

Joey Logano: 27.3 average finish in three starts; Will make final start with Joe Gibbs Racing.

Marcos Ambrose: Has yet to finish in the top 20 in four starts; 35.5 average finish; Will pilot a car (chassis No. 703) that he tested at Nashville Superspeedway last month.

Jeff Burton: 20.0 average finish in the nine races on the current track configuration; Coming off sixth top 10 (10th) in 13 overall starts; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 359) that he finished 32nd with at Charlotte Motor Speedway last month due to a broken brake rotor.

Jamie McMurray: 15.4 average finish in the nine races on the current track configuration; Last top 10 (third) came in 2008 with Roush Racing; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 1104) that he ran at Kansas Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway and Dover International Speedway this season.

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Re: Ford EcoBoost 400 Betting News and Notes

Ford EcoBoost 400 Preview
By Greg Engle
Examiner.com

Sit down, strap in and hold on tight. Sunday’s Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway promises to be one wild ride. The final race in the long NASCAR Sprint Cup season will determine the champion for the season, but there are so many sub-plots that the race to find out who that will be is almost an afterthought.

Brad Keselowski seems firmly in control of his own destiny. He leads second place by 20 points. All he needs to do is finish 15th or better and the title will be his.

“We are planning on doing the same things at Homestead this weekend that got us to this point,” crew chief Paul Wolfe said. “Being cautious and ‘laying up’ is a good way to get into trouble. We are an aggressive team, and while we have the big picture in mind, we are going to do what we do.”

Don’t give up on Jimmie Johnson who currently sits in second place though. As he himself proved last week, one error, one mechanical misstep, can dramatically change the championship picture and Johnson knows it.

“My focus is going down there and winning the race,” Johnson said. “We typically haven’t had to have that mentality going into this race, but we have shown we can race for the win.”

Keselowski is in control of the overall points lead but that could certainly be up for grabs Sunday. At Homestead he has finished 20th or worse in three of four races; his best finish was 13th, and he was 20th here last year. Johnson has staged a comeback at Homestead before. He did it in 2010 and it could happen again Sunday.

“This 48 Lowe’s team can do it again,” Johnson said. “We have nothing to lose and can gamble and take chances. Brad (Keselowski) doesn’t have that luxury. This isn’t over. This team never gives up and we don’t intend to, now.”

Since the Chase is now a two driver race, all eyes will be on the top two for the crown. But that doesn’t mean the race winner will come from those spots; several other drivers have a great chance of visiting victory lane Sunday; there are several with agendas and even more who could steal the show.

The driver Johnson beat for the title in 2010, was Denny Hamlin. Hamlin won here in 2009, since then though he’s finished 14th and was ninth in this race last year. However, after stumbling in the Chase and falling out of contention, Hamlin will be eager to add another win to his Homestead resume. If he can find the speed he had earlier in the Chase he could do just that Sunday.

Matt Kenseth will be making his 470th and final start for Roush-Fenway Racing Sunday. Kenseth fizzled as the Chase came to a close, but he has one last shot at going out on a high note. He won here in 2007 and was fourth in this race last season. With the history Roush-Fenway has here he could be the driver to beat Sunday.

Tony Stewart has had a forgettable Chase. After storming to the title last season, Stewart has struggled in this year’s Chase. However, with three wins here, including in this race last year if Stewart races like he did last year he could finish the season on a high note.

Martin Truex Jr., is another driver who has had a forgettable Chase. At Homestead though, Truex has a pretty decent record.

“Last year we ran third and had a shot at winning,” Truex said. “The year before, we were leading and got a flat. This track is definitely a place where I believe we can win. It is certainly one of my best tracks. I can’t think of a better place to end the season.”

If Truex can recapture what he had here last season, he will be a contender Sunday.

Despite their dust-up last week at Phoenix the biggest battle won’t be between Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer but Bowyer and Kasey Kahne. Bowyer could have been a factor in the Chase here, but after being crashed out by Gordon last week, he fell from his third place spot. Kahne meanwhile took over the third spot in the Chase and considering how his championship run has been going would love to finish there. Bowyer wants it back and will have his sights set firmly on finishing ahead of Kahne. Kahne was seventh in this race last year, but with a different team. Bowyer, also with a different team, finished just ahead of Kahne in this race last year in sixth. Expect that kind of result Sunday. With both drivers now with new teams, either one could score their first Homestead win Sunday.

Kevin Harvick would love to follow-up his hard earned win at Phoenix last week and he could do just that Sunday. He has never won here but was in the top three in the last four races. He was eighth here last season, but if he can get back to how he ran prior to that, he should be near the front Sunday.

While there are drivers who will be favored to win Sunday, the overall favorite will be Carl Edwards. Edwards didn’t make the Chase, lost his crew chief in the middle of the season and hasn’t won a race since the spring of 2011. Edwards has one last shot to win this year and begin to right his ship. His record at Homestead, especially in the last four races is the best of the field. He has two wins, a pole and was second here last season.

“Statistically speaking Homestead is our best track, and I really like racing there a lot,” Edwards said. “It seems like every time we go there we have a car that could win.. We’ve got a lot of things happening right now and we’re building the best team we can for next year. There would be no better way to kick off the 2013 season than with a win at Homestead now.”

Favorites:

Carl Edwards
Matt Kenseth
Jimmie Johnson
Kevin Harvick
Martin Truex Jr.
Tony Stewart

Bottom line: The race at Homestead has been won from a top-10 starting position in nine of 13 races. Denny Hamlin won in 2009 from the 38th starting position, the furthest back a race winner has started.

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