AdvoCare 500 Betting News and Notes

AdvoCare 500 Betting News and Notes

Phoenix International Raceway Data

Season Race #: 35 of 36 (11-10-13)
Chase Race #: 9
Track Size: 1-mile
Banking/Turn 1 & 2: 10-11 degrees
Banking/Turn 3 & 4: 8-9 degrees
Banking/Frontstretch: 3 degrees
Banking/Backstretch: 8-9 degrees
Frontstretch Length: 1,179 feet
Backstretch Length: 1,551 feet
Race Length: 312 laps / 312 miles

Top 13 Driver Rating at Phoenix

Jimmie Johnson 116.4
Carl Edwards 100.6
Denny Hamlin 100.3
Tony Stewart 99.2
Kevin Harvick 99.0
Jeff Gordon 98.8
Kurt Busch 97.7
Kyle Busch 97.5
Mark Martin 97.5
Greg Biffle 92.0
Matt Kenseth 87.0
Ryan Newman 86.8
Jeff Burton 85.0

Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2013 races (17 total) among active drivers at Phoenix International Raceway.

Qualifying/Race Data

2012 pole winner: Kyle Busch, Toyota, 138.766 mph, 25.943 secs. 11-9-12
2012 race winner: Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 111.182 mph, (02:52:09), 11-11-12
Track qualifying record: Kyle Busch, Toyota, 138.766 mph, 25.943 secs. 11-9-12
Track race record: Tony Stewart, Pontiac, 118.132 mph, (2:38:28), 11-7-99

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Re: AdvoCare 500 Betting News and Notes

Phoenix Driver Tale of the Tape


1 - Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's/KOBALT Tools Chevrolet)


· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 110.0

2013 Rundown
· Six wins, 15 top fives, 22 top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 11.0
· Led 22 races for 1,984 laps

Phoenix International Raceway Outlook:
· Four wins, 13 top fives, 16 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 6.5 in 20 races
· Series-best Average Running Position of 7.0
· Series-best Driver Rating of 116.4
· Series-high 538 Fastest Laps Run
· 665 Green Flag Passes, 13th-most
· Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 125.519 mph
· Series-high 4,749 Laps in the Top 15 (88.2%)
· Series-high 466 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green)

2 - Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Dollar General Toyota)

· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 111.2

2013 Rundown
· Seven wins, 11 top fives, 19 top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 12.1
· Led 25 races for 1,639 laps

Phoenix International Raceway Outlook:
· One win, five top fives, nine top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 17.2 in 22 races
· Average Running Position of 16.0, 15th-best
· Driver Rating of 87.0, 11th-best
· 717 Green Flag Passes, sixth-most
· 3,210 Laps in the Top 15 (59.6%), 12th-most

3 - Kevin Harvick (No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet)

· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 93.7

2013 Rundown
· Three wins, eight top fives, 19 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 11.5
· Led 10 races for 191 laps

Phoenix International Raceway Outlook:
· Three wins, six top fives, 10 top 10s
· Average finish of 12.9 in 21 races
· Average Running Position of 11.0, fifth-best
· Driver Rating of 99.0, fifth-best
· 245 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-most
· 678 Green Flag Passes, 12th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 125.133 mph, fifth-fastest
· 4,035 Laps in the Top 15 (75.0%), fifth-most
· 365 Quality Passes, ninth-most

4 - Kyle Busch (No. 18 M&M’s Toyota)

· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 101.8

2013 Rundown
· Four wins, 16 top fives, 20 top 10s; three poles
· Average finish of 13.0
· Led 20 races for 1,227 laps

Phoenix International Raceway Outlook:
· One win, three top fives, 10 top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 13.9 in 17 races
· Average Running Position of 12.0, eighth-best
· Driver Rating of 97.5, eighth-best
· 247 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-most
· 717 Green Flag Passes, sixth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 125.076 mph, sixth-fastest
· 4,224 Laps in the Top 15 (78.5%), third-most
· Series-high 466 Quality Passes

5 - Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet)

· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 97.5

2013 Rundown
· Eight top fives, 20 top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 13.2
· Led 13 races for 312 laps

Phoenix International Raceway Outlook:
· Two wins, five top fives, nine top 10s
· Average finish of 17.6 in 22 races
· Average Running Position of 17.2, 21st-best
· Driver Rating of 82.6, 16th-best
· 130 Fastest Laps Run, 13th-most
· 723 Green Flag Passes, fifth-most

6 - Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet)

· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 91.7

2013 Rundown
· One win, eight top fives, 17 top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 14.5
· Led 16 races for 385 laps

Phoenix International Raceway Outlook:
· Two wins, 10 top fives, 20 top 10s; three poles
· Average finish of 11.4 in 29 races
· Average Running Position of 10.7, third-best
· Driver Rating of 98.8, sixth-best
· 197 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 125.014 mph, ninth-fastest
· 4,292 Laps in the Top 15 (79.7%), second-most
· 379 Quality Passes, seventh-most

7 - Clint Bowyer (No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota)

· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 93.9

2013 Rundown
· Nine top fives, 18 top 10s
· Average finish of 11.9
· Led 11 races for 354 laps

Phoenix International Raceway Outlook:
· Two top fives, six top 10s
· Average finish of 16.9 in 16 races
· Average Running Position of 16.7, 16th-best
· Driver Rating of 81.3, 18th-best
· Average Green Flag Speed of 124.786 mph, 13th-fastest

8 - Greg Biffle (No. 16 Scotch Ford)

· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 83.3

2013 Rundown
· One win, four top fives, 13 top 10s
· Average finish of 14.1
· Led 6 races for 123 laps

Phoenix International Raceway Outlook:
· Five top fives, seven top 10s
· Average finish of 13.9 in 19 races
· Average Running Position of 14.8, 10th-best
· Driver Rating of 92.0, 10th-best
· 283 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most
· 711 Green Flag Passes, 10th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 124.957 mph, 10th-fastest
· 3,090 Laps in the Top 15 (57.4%), 13th-most
· 356 Quality Passes, 11th-most

9 - Joey Logano (No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford)

· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 91.6

2013 Rundown
· One win, 11 top fives, 17 top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 14.4
· Led 14 races for 290 laps

Phoenix International Raceway Outlook:
· One top five, three top 10s
· Average finish of 18.0 in nine races
· Average Running Position of 17.0, 18th-best
· Driver Rating of 76.6, 22nd-best

10 - Kurt Busch (No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet)

· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 93.2

2013 Rundown
· 10 top fives, 15 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 14.8
· Led 14 races for 444 laps

Phoenix International Raceway Outlook:
· One win, four top fives, 11 top 10s
· Average finish of 13.9 in 21 races
· Average Running Position of 10.7, fourth-best
· Driver Rating of 97.7, seventh-best
· 285 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 125.052 mph, eighth-fastest
· 3,707 Laps in the Top 15 (73.1%), seventh-most
· 343 Quality Passes, 12th-most

11 - Carl Edwards (No. 99 Fastenal Ford)

· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 92.7

2013 Rundown
· Two wins, nine top fives, 16 top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 13.4
· Led 15 races for 488 laps

Phoenix International Raceway Outlook:
· Two wins, seven top fives, 11 top 10s; three poles
· Average finish of 11.8 in 18 races
· Average Running Position of 12.8, ninth-best
· Driver Rating of 100.6, second-best
· 332 Fastest Laps Run, second-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 125.160 mph, fourth-fastest
· 3,645 Laps in the Top 15 (67.7%), eighth-most
· 365 Quality Passes, ninth-most

12 - Ryan Newman (No. 39 Quicken Loans Salute To Veterans Day Chevrolet)

· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 81.6

2013 Rundown
· One win, six top fives, 17 top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 16.1
· Led 15 races for 97 laps

Phoenix International Raceway Outlook:
· One win, eight top fives, eight top 10s; four poles
· Average finish of 19.0 in 22 races
· Average Running Position of 15.5, 12th-best
· Driver Rating of 86.8, 12th-best
· 3,516 Laps in the Top 15 (65.3%), 10th-most
· 450 Quality Passes, fourth-most

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

· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 96.0

2013 Rundown
· Two wins, 10 top fives, 13 top 10s
· Average finish of 16.7
· Led 9 races for 636 laps

Phoenix International Raceway Outlook:
· One win, three top fives, six top 10s
· Average finish of 19.1 in 18 races
· Average Running Position of 19.5, 24th-best
· Driver Rating of 77.5, 20th-best
· 130 Fastest Laps Run, 13th-most

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Re: AdvoCare 500 Betting News and Notes

Advocare 500 Preview
By Micah Roberts
VegasInsider.com

Jimmie Johnson's dominating performance Sunday at Texas, where he led 255 of the 334 laps, was enough evidence for the LVH Super Book to make him the overwhelming 1-to-5 favorite (bet $5 to win $1) to win the his sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup title. Last week heading into Texas, Johnson was 5-to-7 and tied in points with Matt Kenseth. Now he's got a 7-point lead and heads to Phoenix this week, one of his best tracks, before closing the season out at Homestead.

Kenseth finished a solid fourth-place at Texas, but he needed to finish better than Johnson there to have a legitimate shot at beating him for the title. Kenseth had been better on just about every 1.5-mile track than Johnson this season, capturing four wins. Up until Sunday, Johnson had been winless on the 1.5-mile tracks, but with such a dominating win, Johnson not only showed his team made the needed changes to be fast on these types, but he also gained a huge psychological edge.

Barring any type of mechanical failure or being in a wreck, which is always a possibility, Johnson will be hard to pass no matter what Kenseth does. Johnson figures to lengthen his lead Sunday at Phoenix where he's averaged a 6.5 finish in his past 20 starts that include four wins.

On the other side, Kenseth has a 2002 win at Phoenix, but hasn't had a top-5 finish there since spring of 2007, a span of 12 starts. Even on Kenseth's best possible day at Phoenix, where he would be ecstatic with a fifth or sixth-place finish, he still should expect to have his deficit of 7-points lengthened past double-digits. He needed to be leading the Chase coming out of Texas in a bad way, just because of Johnson's skills at Phoenix.

The one thing Kenseth might have in his favor this week is how he's done at similar race tracks this season. I like to lump the 1-mile Phoenix layout into the same category with the 1-mile New Hampshire and ¾-mile Richmond tracks. Although all three are configured differently, the one common denominator for each is that they're all flat tracks with almost no banking. Because of the similarities, the set-ups required for all are almost the same, which means if a driver is good at one place, they'll usually be good at the other.

And Kenseth has been good on all of them, including a Sept. 22 win at New Hampshire, which was the second race of the Chase and last race run any of the three similar tracks. Kenseth has finished ninth or better in all five races held on those tracks this season, including seventh-place at Phoenix on March 3.

Johnson was runner-up to Carl Edwards in the first Phoenix race, but didn't capture a win in any of the four races held at New Hampshire or Richmond. He was fourth at New Hampshire in September.

So while Johnson's Phoenix credentials say Johnson is a huge favorite this week and also to win the Chase, there is still a small argument to be made for Kenseth at 5-to-2 Chase odds. It was just two weeks ago when Johnson was going to Martinsville, place on paper that said he should roll and gain a huge edge over Kenseth, but it was Kenseth who came up with a career performance and finished better than Johnson.

Edwards is a driver that should be considered strongly to win this week just because his only two wins of the season came on the similar tracks. In addition to his Phoenix win at the beginning on the season, Edwards also won at Richmond on Sept. 7, the final race before the Chase started. In 18 career Phoenix starts, Edwards has an 11.8 average finish -- only four drivers are better -- that include two wins.

Other drivers that have fared well on these type of tracks this season include Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer, and believe it or not, Jeff Burton. Burton has finished in the top-10 in four of the five races this season with a best of third-place at New Hampshire in July. He's a two-time winner at Phoenix, with the last coming in 2001, but has maintained a solid 12.6 average finish in 20 races since.

Top-5 Phoenix Finish Prediction:

1) #99 Carl Edwards (12/1)
2) #29 Kevin Harvick (12/1)
3) #48 Jimmie Johnson (5/1)
4) #18 Kyle Busch (6/1)
5) #20 Matt Kenseth (7/1)

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Re: AdvoCare 500 Betting News and Notes

Driver Handicaps: Phoenix
By: Jeff Wackerlin
Racingone.com

To assist in making your fantasy racing picks, MRN.com's Jeff Wackerlin breaks down all the stats and information to help steer you toward Sunday's AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.

Who's HOT at Phoenix

• March winner Carl Edwards has posted the second-best average finish (7.8) in the four races on the new track configuration.
• Denny Hamlin has finished in the top three in his last three starts, including a win in the 2012 spring race.
• Jimmie Johnson, who has four wins on the old track configuration, finished second in the spring.
• Kevin Harvick is the defending race winner, which was his second top-two finish in the last three races.
• Brad Keselowski has finished sixth or better in the last three races.
• Kyle Busch leads all drivers in laps led (289) over the last four races, including 237 led en route to a third-place finish in this event last year.

Who to Keep an Eye On at Phoenix

• Matt Kenseth finished seventh in his first Phoenix start with Joe Gibbs Racing in March.
• Greg Biffle (10.0), Juan Pablo Montoya (12.5) and Mark Martin (14.0) each rank in the top 10 in average finish among drivers that have driven in all four races on Phoenix's new track configuration.
• Kasey Kahne has finished in the top five in the last two Phoenix fall races - fourth last season with Hendrick Motorsports and a win in 2011 with Red Bull Racing.
• Ryan Newman has finished in the top five in the the last three Phoenix fall races.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. led 47 laps in March at Phoenix for his first top 10 in the last four races.
• Jeff Gordon, winner of the last race on the old Phoenix configuration, has finished in the top 10 in two of the last three races there.
• Clint Bowyer finished sixth in March for his first top 10 in three Phoenix starts with Michael Waltrip Racing.
• Kurt Busch finished eighth in this event last year in his first Phoenix start with Furniture Row Racing.
• Paul Menard's only two Phoenix top 10s have come in the last two fall races.
• Danica Patrick (Finished 39th in March), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (Finished 16th in March), Jeff Burton (finished 10th in March) and Montoya (finished 12th in March) participated in the Goodyear Tire test at Phoenix in September.

MRN.com Staff Picks

Jeff Wackerlin: Kyle Busch
Pete Pistone: Kevin Harvick
Dustin Long: Jimmie Johnson
John Singler: Clint Bowyer

Top 20 Driver Notes - Ordered by current standings

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

Jimmie Johnson: 13.0 average finish and 56 laps led in the four races run on the current track configuration; Finished second in March for second top five in the last four races and 13th in 20 overall starts; Last of four wins came in this event in 2009 on old track configuration; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 832) that he finished sixth and fourth, respectively, with this season at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Matt Kenseth: Finished seventh in first track start with Joe Gibbs Racing in March; Finish was first top 10 in the last five races and ninth in 22 overall starts; 17.0 average finish and 50 laps led in the four races run on the current track configuration.

Kevin Harvick: Defending race winner; Fourth-best average finish (8.8), 103 laps led and one win in the four races run on the current track configuration; Swept both races in 2006 on old track configuration; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 430) that he last finished third with at Chicagoland Speedway.

Kyle Busch: Finished 23rd in March; Led 237 laps in this event last year en route to a third-place finish; 17.0 average finish and 289 laps led in the four races run on the current track configuration; A 36th-place finish in this event in 2011 due to engine issues hampered his four-race average finish; Won this race in 2005 with Hendrick Motorsports.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.: 16.0 average finish in the four races run on the current track configuration; Finished fifth and led 47 laps in March for first top 10 in that four-race span; Won this event in 2003 and 2004 with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. on the old track configuration; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 818) that he last finished sixth with at New Hampshire in September.

Jeff Gordon: Winner of the 2011 spring race - the last on the old track configuration; 19.8 average finish in the four races run on the current track configuration; Has not finished inside the top 30 in the past two fall races.

Clint Bowyer: Finished sixth in March to give him a 21.3 average finish in three track starts with Michael Waltrip Racing; 18.5 average finish in the four races run on the current track configuration; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 761) that he last finished 17th with at New Hampshire in September.

Greg Biffle: Fifth-best average finish and 39 laps led in the four races run on the current track configuration; Finished seventh in this event last year for second consecutive top 10; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 867) that he finished third with at New Hampshire in September.

Joey Logano: Finished 26th in March in first track start with Penske Racing; 18.5 average finish in the four races run on the current track configuration; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 863) that he won the pole but finished 37th with (engine) at Chicagoland Speedway to open the Chase.

Kurt Busch: Finished eighth in this event last year in first track start with Furniture Row Racing; 18.0 average finish and 59 laps led in the four races run on the current track configuration.

Carl Edwards: Led 122 laps en route to his win in March; Second-best average finish (7.8) and 149 laps led in the four races run on the current track configuration; Also won this event in 2010; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 866) that he finished ninth with at New Hampshire in September.

Ryan Newman: Crashed and finished 40th in March; Has finished in the top five in five of the last seven races, including a win in the 2010 spring race; 17.8 average finish in the four races run on the current track configuration; Has finished fifth in this race the last two seasons; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 826) in Sunday's AdvoCare 500.

Kasey Kahne: Fourth-place finish in this event last year is best - and only top 15 - in three track starts with Hendrick Motorsports; Won this event on 2011 with Red Bull Racing; 14.5 average finish in the four races run on the current track configuration; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 815) that he last finished 37th with at New Hampshire in September after leading 31 laps.

Brad Keselowski: Third-best average finish (8.2) in the four races run on the current track configuration; Fourth-place finish in March was third consecutive finish of sixth or better; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 864) that he finished seventh with at Chicagoland Speedway.

Jamie McMurray: 24.8 average finish in the four races run on the current track configuration; 17th-place finish in this event in 2011 is best in that span; last of two top 10s (10th) in 20 overall starts came in this event in 2010.

Martin Truex Jr.: 26.5 average finish and 29 laps led in the four races run on the current track configuration; Only top 10 (seventh) in that span came in the 2012 spring race; 21.7 average finish in seven track starts with Michael Waltrip Racing.

Paul Menard: Has finished ninth in the last two fall races; 17.2 average finish in the four races run on the current track configuration; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 434) that he finished 22nd with at New Hampshire in September.

Aric Almirola: Has yet to finish in the top 10 in five starts; 14.3 average finish in the four races run on the current track configuration; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 837) that he's raced five times this season, scoring a best finish of eighth at Richmond International Raceway in April.

Jeff Burton: 15.0 average finish in the four races run on the current track configuration; Coming off second top 10 (10th) in that span and 14th in 28 overall starts; Participated in the Goodyear Tire test in September; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 429) that he finished 14th with at Dover International Speedway in September.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Started 12th and finished 16th in first Cup track start in March; Participated in the Goodyear Tire test in September; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 868) that he finished 24th with at New Hampshire in September.

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Re: AdvoCare 500 Betting News and Notes

AdvoCare 500 Post-Practice Betting Notes
By: Micah Roberts 
Sportingnews.com

Jimmie Johnson already had the best Phoenix resume coming into this week's race, and following the two days of practices and qualifying, he gave every indication that he is the driver to beat in Sunday's Advocare 500. On Friday, he laid down the fastest lap in practice and then set a track record in qualifying (139.222 mph). On Saturday he showed he wasn't only fast in single-lap qualifying situations by having the best 10-consecutive laps average during the early practice session.

Johnson is a four-time winner at Phoenix with a track-best 6.5 average finish in 20 career starts. He holds a slim seven-point lead in the Sprint Cup Chase over Matt Kenseth, but the figure looks to grow larger based on the disparity between he and Kenseth during practices. While Johnson is the driver to beat this week, Kenseth's car has the look of -- at best -- maybe being a top-five finisher.

Kenseth was fifth fastest during happy hour after being ninth quickest in the early session, but he wasn't as impressive as several others drivers, in particular on longer runs. Kenseth's only win at Phoenix came in 2002, and he hasn't had a top-five finish there since 2007.

The driver who looks to give Johnson the most trouble Sunday is three-time Phoenix winner Kevin Harvick. It's not very often Harvick looks like one of the best in practice, so when he does perform well like on Saturday, it's something to be taken very seriously. In the final session, Harvick had the best 10-consecutive lap average and also had the second-fastest lap in the early session. Unlike Johnson, Harvick also has a win on the new configuration of Phoenix, winning this race last fall.

Jeff Gordon was the star of last fall's Phoenix event, not for winning, but for creating a great fireworks show after the race between he and Clint Bowyer. Gordon put down the second fastest lap during happy hour and had the second-best 10-consecutive lap average behind Harvick. Gordon is a two-time winner at Phoenix with the last coming in 2011. His only goal right now is to finish well enough in the final two races to end the season within the top-five in points. He's currently sixth right now.

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Re: AdvoCare 500 Betting News and Notes

Kenseth, Johnson duel in the desert Sunday
By: Brian Graham
StatFox.com

Just two races remain in NASCAR’s Chase for the Cup. This Sunday the drivers start their engines in the desert at Phoenix International Speedway for the AdvoCare 500. This 1-mile, tri-oval intermediate track was built in 1964 with a small degree of banking on the turns (11 degrees at Turns 1-2 and 9 degrees at Turns 3-4). The backstretch is also 9 degrees of banking, and measures 1,551 feet (0.29 miles), while the frontstretch is a mere 3 degrees, measuring 1,179 feet (0.22 miles).

Jimmie Johnson's win last week in Texas puts him in the lead in the Chase for the Cup standings by just seven points over Matt Kenseth. Kevin Harvick resides in third place (40 points back) with Kyle Busch sitting in fourth (52 points back).

Drivers to Watch

Brad Keselowski (10/1) -
He has raced very well to close out the season with a win at Charlotte, 4th-place finish at Martinsville (a track very similar to Phoenix) and a 6th-place showing in Texas last week. He's also been in contention in each of his past three starts at Phoenix, placing 4th, 5th and 6th with at least three laps led in each race. With his double-digit odds, Keselowski is the driver to place your largest wager on this Sunday.

Carl Edwards (15/1) - He has had a frustrating few weeks, falling from 4th to 11th in the points standings with a 19.3 average finish in the past six races, including engine failure last week after starting from the pole. But Edwards has performed very well in Phoenix in his career with an average finish of 11.8 with seven top-5's in his past 15 starts, including a victory in 2010, a runner-up in 2011 and another victory in March. At 15-to-1, he represents the best bang for your buck on Sunday.

Denny Hamlin (10/1) - His recent track history at Phoenix makes Hamlin worthy of a small wager on Sunday. After winning last spring, Hamlin was the runner-up in the fall and then finished third this past March. He also raced well on the last track similar to Phoenix, coming in 7th place at Martinsville two weeks ago. While his winless 2013 season will not be one to remember, he is at least racing hard for prize money with results of 9th, 7th and 7th in the past three races that he actually finished.

Ryan Newman (30/1) - Newman has always raced well at Phoenix in his career. In 22 starts at this track, he's grabbed the pole four times, and has posted eight top-5 finishes. This includes five top-5's in his past seven starts, winning the 2010 Subway Fresh Fit 600, and then placing 2nd, 5th, 5th, 21st and 5th before crashing in March. What's more impressive about this run is that his average start in these six races was 14.9, as he started no better than 6th in any of these races. He has also had a very strong Chase with top-10 finishes in seven of his past 10 starts, while leading for multiple laps in six of those past 10 races. With such darkhorse odds, Newman is certainly worthy of a one-unit wager on Sunday.

Mark Martin (100/1) -
The longshot pick of the week is clearly Martin who had meager 15-to-1 odds last fall at Phoenix, and 20-to-1 odds at this track in March. He has produced the ninth-most driver points in the past four races at this track, placing 9th last spring and 10th last fall, before fading to a 21st-place showing after winning the pole in March. Martin has two wins in Phoenix (1993 and 2009) as part of 12 top-5's and 21 top-10's finishing in an average place of 9.4 in his 33 starts at this track.

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