Food City 500 Betting News and Notes

Food City 500 Betting News and Notes

Bristol Motor Speedway Data

Season Race #: 4 of 36 (03-16-14)
Track Size: 0.533-miles
Banking/Turns 1 & 2: 24-28 degrees
Banking/Turns 3 & 4: 24-28 degrees
Banking/Frontstretch: 4-8 degrees
Banking/Backstretch: 4-8 degrees
Frontstretch Length:  650 feet
Backstretch Length:  650 feet
Race Length: 500 laps / 266.5 miles

Top 10 Driver Ratings at Bristol

Kyle Busch 101.8
Matt Kenseth 101.8
Jeff Gordon 101.2
Brad Keselowski 94.9
Greg Biffle 94.8
Kurt Busch 92.0
Jimmie Johnson 91.4
Denny Hamlin 90.3
Kevin Harvick 89.8
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 89.3

Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2013 races (18 total) among active drivers at Bristol Motor Speedway

Qualifying/Race Data

2013 pole winner:
Kyle Busch, Toyota
129.535 mph, 14.813 secs. 03-15-13

2013 Race Winner

Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet
92.206 mph, (2:53:25), 03-17-13

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Bristol Driver Tale of the Tape


Greg Biffle (No. 16 Megular’s Ford)

· Six top fives, 12 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 12.0
· Average Running Position of 12.7, third-best
· Driver Rating of 94.8, fifth-best
· 318 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-most
· 764 Green Flag Passes, 12th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 115.009 mph, fourth-fastest
· 6,393 Laps in the Top 15 (70.9%), third-most
· 483 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green), fifth-most

Kurt Busch (No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet)

· Five wins, seven top fives, 14 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 14.0
· Average Running Position of 14.3, ninth-best
· Driver Rating of 92.0, sixth-best
· 338 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-most
· 850 Green Flag Passes, sixth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 114.978 mph, sixth-fastest
· 5,657 Laps in the Top 15 (62.8%), seventh-most
· 480 Quality Passes, sixth-most

Kyle Busch (No. 18 Skittles Toyota)

· Five wins, eight top fives, 12 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 9.9
· Average Running Position of 13.0, fourth-best
· Series-best Driver Rating of 101.8
· Series-high 585 Fastest Laps Run
· Average Green Flag Speed of 115.066 mph, third-fastest
· 6,008 Laps in the Top 15 (66.7%), fifth-most
· 456 Quality Passes, seventh-most

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

· One win, seven top fives, 14 top 10s
· Average finish of 11.5
· Average Running Position of 13.6, eighth-best
· Driver Rating of 89.3, 10th-best
· Series-high 1,003 Green Flag Passes
· Average Green Flag Speed of 114.918 mph, seventh-fastest
· 5,656 Laps in the Top 15 (62.8%), eighth-most
· 485 Quality Passes, fourth-most

Carl Edwards (No. 99 Kelloggs/ Frosted Flakes Ford)

· Two wins, four top fives, seven top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 15.9
· Average Running Position of 15.1, 12th-best
· Driver Rating of 87.7, 12th-best
· 340 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 114.798 mph, 11th-fastest
· 5,590 Laps in the Top 15 (62.0%), ninth-most

Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet)

· Five wins, 16 top fives, 23 top 10s; five poles
· Average finish of 12.3
· Series-best Average Running Position of 9.5
· Driver Rating of 101.2, third-best
· 409 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 115.110 mph, second-fastest
· Series-high 7,413 Laps in the Top 15 (82.2%)
· 523 Quality Passes, third-most

Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota)

· One win, four top fives, seven top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 16.1
· Average Running Position of 14.9, 10th-best
· Driver Rating of 90.3, eighth-best
· 382 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-most
· 833 Green Flag Passes, seventh-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 114.874 mph, ninth-fastest
· 4,689 Laps in the Top 15 (58.5%), 12th-most

Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet)

· One win, nine top fives, 12 top 10s
· Average finish of 13.4
· Average Running Position of 13.6, seventh-best
· Driver Rating of 89.8, ninth-best
· 285 Fastest Laps Run, 11th-most
· 887 Green Flag Passes, third-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 114.994 mph, fifth-fastest
· 5,523 Laps in the Top 15 (61.3%), 10th-most
· 406 Quality Passes, 12th-most

Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Kobalt Tools Chevrolet)

· One win, seven top fives, 13 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 15.3
· Average Running Position of 13.2, fifth-best
· Driver Rating of 91.4, seventh-best
· 469 Fastest Laps Run, third-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 114.793 mph, 12th-fastest
· 6,247 Laps in the Top 15 (69.3%), fourth-most
· 411 Quality Passes, 11th-most

Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet)

· One win, five top fives, nine top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 17.4
· Driver Rating of 87.9, 11th-best
· 399 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most
· 861 Green Flag Passes, fifth-most
· 4,785 Laps in the Top 15 (53.1%), 11th-most
· 443 Quality Passes, ninth-most

Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Home Depot Husky Toyota)

· Three wins, 11 top fives, 18 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 12.5
· Average Running Position of 10.6, second-best
· Driver Rating of 101.8, second-best
· 470 Fastest Laps Run, second-most
· Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 115.129 mph
· 7,226 Laps in the Top 15 (80.2%), second-most
· Series-high 563 Quality Passes

Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Miller Lite Ford)

· Two wins, three top fives, three top 10s
· Average finish of 14.4
· Average Running Position of 13.2, sixth-best
· Driver Rating of 94.9, fourth-best
· Average Green Flag Speed of 114.916 mph, eighth-fastest

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Food City 500 Preview
By Micah Roberts
VegasInsider.com
    
Las Vegas probably experienced the most dramatic race of the 17 years the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has been coming to town. Of course the main reason for the heightened drama was because of Dale Earnhardt Jr. being part of the mix, as he ran out of fuel on the final lap which allowed a hard charging Brad Keselowski to pass for the win. Keselowski could have been found as high as 12/1 (Bet $100 to win $1,200) during the week, but he closed around 7/1 (Bet $100 to win $700) at many books.

As for Junior, he was the most heavily bet driver of the week because fans can see there is a definite change not only with the equipment of his No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy, but also with his actual demeanor. It’s okay to say it now because he’s won, but let’s be honest, Junior had been a failure for the past six seasons with Hendrick where he won only two races.
   
But so far this season, we’ve had three races and three vastly different tracks and Junior has finished no worse than second in any of them. That is Jimmie Johnson-type stuff, and it’s possible that Junior may finally be getting the good stuff, or it could be the good stuff was there all along and Junior is now finally motivated. Whatever it may be, only four other drivers have started as season as good as Junior has and three of those, including Johnson, have gone on to win a championship that same season.

If liking those numbers, then maybe a wager at the LVH SuperBook on Junior to win the title at 8/1 should be looked into. There is a new format in the Chase this year that rewards winning, but if running through his final 10 races of 2013, Junior would have won the championship using the new rules, despite not winning a single race, by virtue of having the best finish at Homestead, which is now the Championship game.

We’ve had several stories of drivers carrying momentum over from last season, but there is no better example than Junior, and while I still consider him a long shot to win the title, I can honestly say that I am a little more excited abut watching a race just to see if he can keep the momentum going. Yep, I’ve fallen into the trap so many others have. Junior matters now, and I think I like it.

Heading into this Sunday’s race at Bristol, no place is happier about Junior’s success than Bristol Motor Speedway. Once the toughest ticket to get in sports, Bristol has had plenty of empty seats the past three seasons, but the Junior angle might get the track to a sellout status again. Junior is worth at least 20,000 additional seats purchased because of his current run. If I’m excited in Las Vegas, and not even a fan of his, how about everyone in the southern region who are huge fans of his.

The funny thing is that they just might see him win the race. Over the past 20 Bristol races, no one has a better average finish than Junior (9.4). His only win came in 2004, which ironically is the last time he won the Daytona 500 before this season. Last season he finished sixth and 10th.

The driver that really stood out last season at Bristol was Kasey Kahne, who this race and finished second in the fall night race. Without even seeing how his car looks in practice, you have to consider Kahne just because drivers have shown a penchant for winning multiple times in quick bunches at all different stages of the many layout configurations of the track. Kyle Busch won four times in three seasons, Kurt Busch five times in five seasons, Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski and Matt Kenseth twice each in two seasons.

If we’re talking about momentum with Junior, it’s also appropriate to mention momentum on an individual tracks, and Kahne would appear to have that.   

However, the top dogs at Bristol are still Kyle Busch and Keselowski and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them finish 1-2.

Top-5 Finish Prediction:

1) #2 Brad Keselowski (8/1)
2) #18 Kyle Busch (6/1)
3) #5 Kasey Kahne (12/1)
4) #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr (12/1)
5) #20 Matt Kenseth (10/1)

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Chassis Selections
Jayski.com

#1-Jamie McMurray: chassis not reported on race preview.
#2-Brad Keselowski: Primary Chassis:PRS-839. Last Raced: Backup at several races (never raced). Backup Chassis: PRS-853. Last Raced: Texas 2013 (finished third as No. 22 car)
#3-Austin Dillon: will pilot Chassis No. 430 in the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. This is the same Chevrolet SS Dillon raced to a 24th-place finish at Phoenix International Raceway on March 2. The Gil Martin-led team utilized this RCR-prepared chassis on two occasions during the 2013 season, finishing first (Phoenix International Raceway, November) and third (Chicagoland Speedway, September).
#4-Kevin Harvick: The #4 team will utilize Chassis No. 846 in Sunday's race. This is a new car from the Stewart-Haas Racing shop.
#5-Kasey Kahne: Crew chief Kenny Francis will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-809 for Sunday's event at Bristol. Kahne raced this car three times last year, recording an average finish of 7.3. He notably drove it to a third-place finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July 2013 and a seventh-place result at Michigan International Speedway in August 2013.
#7-Michael Annett: chassis not reported on race preview.
#9-Marcos Ambrose: chassis not reported on race preview.
#10-Danica Patrick: Chassis No. 10-846: Chassis No. 10-846 is a new car that has not been on track before.
#14-Tony Stewart: Chassis No. 14-825: This is a brand new racecar that has never turned a wheel on the racetrack. It has, however, visited the wind tunnel numerous times.
#15-Clint Bowyer: Chassis No. 804 serves as the primary chassis for Bowyer at Bristol Motor Speedway. It is a new chassis. Chassis No. 795 serves as the back-up chassis. This chassis tested at New Smyrna and Nashville.
#16-Greg Biffle: Primary Chassis: RK-885. Brand new chassis. Backup Chassis: RK-863. Last ran Kansas - finished 13th.
#17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Chassis RK-888 is a brand new chassis for the 2013 Rookie of the Year. The back-up chassis raced several times in 2013, but most recently at Dover where Stenhouse finished 17th.
#18-Kyle Busch: chassis not reported on race preview.
#20-Matt Kenseth: chassis not reported on race preview.
#22-Joey Logano: Primary Chassis: PRS-845. Last Raced: Richmond Fall Race (finished 17th as No. 2 car). Backup Chassis: PRS-858. Last Raced: Phoenix backup chassis (never raced).
#24-Jeff Gordon: Crew chief Alan Gustafson has selected Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 24-812 for this this weekend at Bristol. This chassis has been raced six times - all during the 2013 season - with Gordon claiming one pole (Richmond (Va.) International Raceway in September) and three top-10s (Kansas Speedway in October, Richmond in September and Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July).
#27-Paul Menard: will pilot chassis No. 403 in the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. This No. 27 Chevrolet SS has been a workhouse for the Richard Childress Racing stable, testing and racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Pocono Raceway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Last month, it was utilized in a test session at Bristol Motor Speedway.
#31-Ryan Newman: will drive chassis No. 438 in Sunday's Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. This No. 31 Chevrolet SS is brand new in competition. It was utilized in two test sessions at Nashville Superspeedway in December and January, in addition to Charlotte Motor Speedway in December.
#34-David Regan: chassis not reported on race preview.
#35-David Reutimann: chassis not reported on race preview.
#38-David Gilliland: chassis not reported on race preview.
#41-Kurt Busch: Chassis No. 727: Busch will pilot Chassis No. 727 in Sunday's Food City 500 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. In four previous starts, all as the No. 39 for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), it has two top-10s with a best finish of eighth in the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. Chassis No. 727 finished 13th as the SHR No. 39 at the 2013 Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte, 21st at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in August, eighth at Charlotte in October and ninth at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth in November. The chassis tested in Nashville prior to the start of this season. Sunday marks its first start for the No. 41 team.
#42-Kyle Larson: chassis not reported on race preview.
#43-Aric Almirola: chassis not reported on race preview.
#47-A.J. Allmendinger: chassis not reported on race preview.
#48-Jimmie Johnson: Crew chief Chad Knaus has selected Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 48-728 for Bristol. This chassis has 7,200 miles on it as Johnson drove it five times last season to an average finish of 8.2. Johnson notably drove this chassis to win at Pocono Raceway in June 2013 and record top-five results at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (second), Darlington (S.C.) Raceway (fourth) and Texas Motor Speedway (sixth in April 2013). The backup car for Bristol is Chassis No. 48-784 which Johnson last raced in June at Michigan International Speedway.
#51-Justin Allgaier: chassis not reported on race preview.
#55-Brian Vickers: Primary 805 Backup 781 - Neither car has raced.
#78-Martin Truex Jr.: chassis not reported on race preview.
#88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.: This weekend, crew chief Steve Letarte and the No. 88 team will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-745. Earnhardt most recently raced this chassis to a second-place finish at Dover (Del.) International Speedway last September.
#95-Michael McDowell: will pilot Chassis No. PRS-838 in the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. McDowell drove this LFR-prepared Ford Fusion to a 33rd-place finish at Phoenix International Raceway on March 2 and tested it at Bristol Motor Speedway in February.
#99-Carl Edwards: Primary chassis RK-886 is a new chassis. Backup chassis RK-831 was last used in 2013 as a primary at Texas where it started on the pole but finished the day in 37th due to engine troubles.

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Driver Handicaps: Bristol
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 Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Who's HOT at Bristol

• Kyle Busch, who finished second in this event last year, has posted five wins and has led 1,431 laps in his last 16 starts.
• Defending race winner Kasey Kahne has recorded an average finish of 4.0 in his last three starts.
• Matt Kenseth, winner of last year's night race, has led the most laps (234) in the two races with the Gen-6 car.
• Denny Hamlin, winner of the 2012 night race, is the only driver besides Kenseth to lead more than 200 laps (210) in the three races since the top groove of the progressive banking was ground down.
• Brad Keselowski has captured two wins and has combined to lead 294 laps in the last two races in March.
• Brian Vickers and Paul Menard are the only drivers that have finished in the top 10 in each of the last four races.
• Jeff Gordon and Kurt Busch are five-time winners (all on the old track surface/configuration).

Who to Keep an Eye On at Bristol

• Joey Logano, who is coming off his first top five at Bristol, has posted a 1.5 average start in the two races since "knockout" qualifying was implemented this season.
• Jimmie Johnson, winner of the 2010 March Bristol race, posted four consecutive top 10s up until last season, when he finished 22nd and 36th.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. (8.0), Clint Bowyer (9.5), Greg Biffle (10.0) and Marcos Ambrose (13.5) each rank among the top 10 in average finish among drivers that competed in both races with the Gen-6 car at Bristol last season.
• Kevin Harvick has not posted a top 10 at Bristol since 2011 but will look to turn things around with crew chief Rodney Childers, who led Vickers to four consecutive top-eight finishes there.
• Ryan Newman, who posted his 13th top 10 at Bristol in this event last year, will make his first track start with Richard Childress Racing driving a car he tested numerous times in the off-season, including twice at Nashville Superspeedway.
• Two-time Bristol winner Carl Edwards led 119 laps last summer before engine issues sidelined him.
• Rookies Kyle Larson and Austin Dillon each have posted two top fives in the Nationwide Series at Bristol.  Both of Larson's finishes came in his only starts and it included a second-place finish.

Tire Notes: Teams will run a new tire combination at Bristol this weekend.  The left-side tire code (D-4564) is the same one that teams ran at New Hampshire last season.

MRN.com Staff Picks

Jeff Wackerlin: Kyle Busch
Pete Pistone: Kyle Busch
Dustin Long: Kevin Harvick
John Singler: Kevin Harvick

Top 20 Driver Notes - Ordered by current standings

(All stats/notes are in regards to Bristol Motor Speedway unless noted)

Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Coming off fourth straight top-15 finish; Fifth among all drivers in average finish (8.0) in the two races with the Gen-6 car; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 745) that he last finished second with at Dover International Speedway last fall.

Brad Keselowski: Two-time winner; Finished third in this event last year for third top 10 in eight starts; 16.5 average finish in the two races with the Gen-6 car; Will pilot a car (chassis No. 839) that was used as a back-up last season.

Jimmie Johnson: Winner of this event in 2010; 22nd-place finish in this race snapped streak of four consecutive top-10s; 29.0 average finish in the two races with the Gen-6 car; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 728) that he raced five times last season, including a win at Pocono Raceway in June.

Joey Logano: Coming off second top 10 (fifth place) in 10 starts; Eighth among all drivers in average finish (11.0) in the two races with the Gen-6 car (also first two track starts with Penske Racing); Will pilot the same chassis (No. 845) that Brad Keselowski raced (No. 2 car) to a 17th-place finish last September at Richmond International Raceway.

Jeff Gordon: Coming off his 23rd top 10 (seventh) in 42 starts; Last top 10 in the March race came in 2009, fourth place; 20.5 average finish and 66 laps led in the two races with the Gen-6 car; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 812) that he scored three top-10s with last season, most recently at Kansas Speedway.

Carl Edwards: Winner of the 2007 and 2008 night races; Last of seven top 10s (ninth) in 19 starts came in the 2011 night race; 28.5 average finish and 119 laps led in the two races with the Gen-6 car; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 886) in the Food City 500.

Matt Kenseth: Coming off third win in 28 starts; Led 85 laps last year in this event until a crash took him out of contention; 18.0 average finish and leads all drivers in laps led (234) in the two races with the Gen-6 car.

Denny Hamlin: Winner of the 2012 night race; Led 117 laps in this event last season, but a flat right-front tire took him out of contention late in the race; 25.5 average finish and second among all drivers in laps led (140) in the two races with the Gen-6 car.

Ryan Newman: Finished seventh in this event last year for 13th top 10 in 24 starts; 14.0 average finish in the two races with the Gen-6 car; Will make his first track start with Richard Childress Racing in a new car (chassis No. 438) that was tested twice at Nashville Superspeedway.

Kyle Busch: Last of five wins came in this event in 2011; Started from the pole in this event last year and led 56 laps en route to a runner-up finish; Third among all drivers in average finish (6.5) in the two races with the Gen-6 car.

Jamie McMurray: Last of nine top-10s (10th) came in this event last year; 14.5 average finish in the two races with the Gen-6 car.

Greg Biffle: Coming off 12th top 10 (ninth) in 22 starts; Seventh among all drivers in average finish (10.0) in the two races with the Gen-6 car; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 885) in the Food City 500.

Austin Dillon: Making first track start in the Cup Series; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 430) that he finished 24th with at Phoenix International Raceway earlier this month.

Kevin Harvick: Last of 12 top 10s (sixth) in 26 starts came in this event in 2011; Winner of this event in 2005; 24.0 average finish in the two races with the Gen-6 car; Will make first track start with Stewart-Haas Racing in a new car (chassis No. 846).

Kasey Kahne: Defending race winner; Finished second last summer for third consecutive top 10; First among all drivers in average finish (1.5) in the two races with the Gen-6 car; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 809) that he raced three times last year, including a third-place finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: 17.0 average finish in two starts; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 888) in the Food City 500.

Casey Mears: 15th-place finish in this event last year is best in seven starts with Germain Racing; 24.0 average finish in the two races with the Gen-6 car.

Paul Menard: Has finished in the top 10 in his last four starts; Fourth among all drivers in average finish (7.5) in the two races with the Gen-6 car; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 403) that he raced numerous times last season.

Marcos Ambrose:
Coming off fifth top-10 in 10 starts; 13.5 average finish in the two races with the Gen-6 car.

Brian Vickers: Has finished in the top 10 in his last four starts; Second among all drivers in average finish (6.0) in the two races with the Gen-6 car; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 805) in the Food City 500.

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Drivers to Watch - Bristol
By Sportsbook.ag

The NASCAR circuit heads to Bristol, TN, for the first short-track race of the season on Sunday for the Food City 500. Kasey Kahne won this race last March, and fell just short of capturing the season sweep as the runner-up to Matt Kenseth in the August night race at this track. Bristol Motor Speedway is a .533-mile, oval track with a seating capacity of more than 160,000 people. The bankings measure a hefty 36° on turns, and there is 16° banking on the straightaways, which are exactly 650 feet (0.12 miles).

Drivers to Watch

Brad Keselowski (6/1) -
He has won two of the past five races at Bristol, which came from ideal starting spots of eighth and fifth. Keselowski also started seventh at this track last March, which allowed him to lead for 62 laps in an eventual third-place finish behind Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch. So far this season, Keselowski has been outstanding, finishing third at both Daytona and Phoenix before taking home the checkered flag at Las Vegas last week. His odds are pretty low, but for all the chalk that this race has to offer (seven drivers with single-digit odds), Keselowski has the most value of any of these favorites and is our pick to win Sunday's race.

Matt Kenseth (7/1) - Kenseth is the other chalk pick to play this week, as the most recent winner in Bristol last August. That continues Kenseth's roaring success at this track with 18 top-10's in 28 starts (64.3%) including 11 top-5's (39.3%) and a two other victories in 2005 and 2006. He has finished outside the top-10 in just two of his past nine Bristol races, with one of the two poor finishes resulting from a crash last March. At 7-to-1, Kenseth is worthy of a small wager.

Greg Biffle (40/1) -
If you're searching for darkhorse candidates, don't forget about Biffle who has placed among the top-9 drivers in exactly half of his 22 career starts at the World's Fastest Half Mile, banging out an impressive 12.0 average finish at this track. A good starting spot is always important, and Biffle won the pole at this race two years ago and started third in the August race in that 2012 season. He is currently sitting 12th in the points standings, and with such small odds on the board this weekend, Biffle represents excellent value at 40-to-1.

Clint Bowyer (20/1) - Bowyer is still searching for his first Bristol win, but he does have a dozen top-5's, including two victories, in 48 career short-track races. And despite an average starting spot of 21.5 in the past two years in Bristol, Bowyer has cranked out an average finish of 7.5 in these four races, which included leading for 50 laps in the August night race. His rough start to the 2014 season (26.0 average finish) helps to boost his potential payout to a favorable 20-to-1 this week, which is good enough to drop a 1-or-2 unit bet on.

Paul Menard (100/1) -
The best longshot of the weekend goes to Paul Menard, who has tallied top-10's in five of his past six Bristol starts, which includes a 6th-place showing last August. He has captured the lead in three of those six races for a total of 100 laps led. Menard is also brimming with confidence after placing third at Las Vegas last week, and he knows he belongs in this field with 35 laps led this season, including 29 at Daytona.


Check out more NASCAR Odds and Props at Sportsbook.ag!

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Driver Handicaps: Bristol
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 Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Who's HOT at Bristol

• Kyle Busch, who finished second in this event last year, has posted five wins and has led 1,431 laps in his last 16 starts.
• Defending race winner Kasey Kahne has recorded an average finish of 4.0 in his last three starts.
• Matt Kenseth, winner of last year's night race, has led the most laps (234) in the two races with the Gen-6 car.
• Denny Hamlin, winner of the 2012 night race, is the only driver besides Kenseth to lead more than 200 laps (210) in the three races since the top groove of the progressive banking was ground down.
• Brad Keselowski has captured two wins and has combined to lead 294 laps in the last two races in March.
• Brian Vickers and Paul Menard are the only drivers that have finished in the top 10 in each of the last four races.
• Jeff Gordon and Kurt Busch are five-time winners (all on the old track surface/configuration).

Who to Keep an Eye On at Bristol

• Joey Logano, who is coming off his first top five at Bristol, has posted a 1.5 average start in the two races since "knockout" qualifying was implemented this season.
• Jimmie Johnson, winner of the 2010 March Bristol race, posted four consecutive top 10s up until last season, when he finished 22nd and 36th.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. (8.0), Clint Bowyer (9.5), Greg Biffle (10.0) and Marcos Ambrose (13.5) each rank among the top 10 in average finish among drivers that competed in both races with the Gen-6 car at Bristol last season.
• Kevin Harvick has not posted a top 10 at Bristol since 2011 but will look to turn things around with crew chief Rodney Childers, who led Vickers to four consecutive top-eight finishes there.
• Ryan Newman, who posted his 13th top 10 at Bristol in this event last year, will make his first track start with Richard Childress Racing driving a car he tested numerous times in the off-season, including twice at Nashville Superspeedway.
• Two-time Bristol winner Carl Edwards led 119 laps last summer before engine issues sidelined him.
• Rookies Kyle Larson and Austin Dillon each have posted two top fives in the Nationwide Series at Bristol.  Both of Larson's finishes came in his only starts and it included a second-place finish.

Tire Notes: Teams will run a new tire combination at Bristol this weekend.  The left-side tire code (D-4564) is the same one that teams ran at New Hampshire last season.

MRN.com Staff Picks

Jeff Wackerlin: Kyle Busch
Pete Pistone: Kyle Busch
Dustin Long: Kevin Harvick
John Singler: Kevin Harvick

Top 20 Driver Notes - Ordered by current standings

(All stats/notes are in regards to Bristol Motor Speedway unless noted)

Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Coming off fourth straight top-15 finish; Fifth among all drivers in average finish (8.0) in the two races with the Gen-6 car; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 745) that he last finished second with at Dover International Speedway last fall.

Brad Keselowski: Two-time winner; Finished third in this event last year for third top 10 in eight starts; 16.5 average finish in the two races with the Gen-6 car; Will pilot a car (chassis No. 839) that was used as a back-up last season.

Jimmie Johnson: Winner of this event in 2010; 22nd-place finish in this race snapped streak of four consecutive top-10s; 29.0 average finish in the two races with the Gen-6 car; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 728) that he raced five times last season, including a win at Pocono Raceway in June.

Joey Logano: Coming off second top 10 (fifth place) in 10 starts; Eighth among all drivers in average finish (11.0) in the two races with the Gen-6 car (also first two track starts with Penske Racing); Will pilot the same chassis (No. 845) that Brad Keselowski raced (No. 2 car) to a 17th-place finish last September at Richmond International Raceway.

Jeff Gordon: Coming off his 23rd top 10 (seventh) in 42 starts; Last top 10 in the March race came in 2009, fourth place; 20.5 average finish and 66 laps led in the two races with the Gen-6 car; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 812) that he scored three top-10s with last season, most recently at Kansas Speedway.

Carl Edwards: Winner of the 2007 and 2008 night races; Last of seven top 10s (ninth) in 19 starts came in the 2011 night race; 28.5 average finish and 119 laps led in the two races with the Gen-6 car; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 886) in the Food City 500.

Matt Kenseth: Coming off third win in 28 starts; Led 85 laps last year in this event until a crash took him out of contention; 18.0 average finish and leads all drivers in laps led (234) in the two races with the Gen-6 car.

Denny Hamlin: Winner of the 2012 night race; Led 117 laps in this event last season, but a flat right-front tire took him out of contention late in the race; 25.5 average finish and second among all drivers in laps led (140) in the two races with the Gen-6 car.

Ryan Newman: Finished seventh in this event last year for 13th top 10 in 24 starts; 14.0 average finish in the two races with the Gen-6 car; Will make his first track start with Richard Childress Racing in a new car (chassis No. 438) that was tested twice at Nashville Superspeedway.

Kyle Busch: Last of five wins came in this event in 2011; Started from the pole in this event last year and led 56 laps en route to a runner-up finish; Third among all drivers in average finish (6.5) in the two races with the Gen-6 car.

Jamie McMurray: Last of nine top-10s (10th) came in this event last year; 14.5 average finish in the two races with the Gen-6 car.

Greg Biffle: Coming off 12th top 10 (ninth) in 22 starts; Seventh among all drivers in average finish (10.0) in the two races with the Gen-6 car; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 885) in the Food City 500.

Austin Dillon: Making first track start in the Cup Series; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 430) that he finished 24th with at Phoenix International Raceway earlier this month.

Kevin Harvick: Last of 12 top 10s (sixth) in 26 starts came in this event in 2011; Winner of this event in 2005; 24.0 average finish in the two races with the Gen-6 car; Will make first track start with Stewart-Haas Racing in a new car (chassis No. 846).

Kasey Kahne: Defending race winner; Finished second last summer for third consecutive top 10; First among all drivers in average finish (1.5) in the two races with the Gen-6 car; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 809) that he raced three times last year, including a third-place finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: 17.0 average finish in two starts; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 888) in the Food City 500.

Casey Mears: 15th-place finish in this event last year is best in seven starts with Germain Racing; 24.0 average finish in the two races with the Gen-6 car.

Paul Menard: Has finished in the top 10 in his last four starts; Fourth among all drivers in average finish (7.5) in the two races with the Gen-6 car; Will return in the same car (chassis No. 403) that he raced numerous times last season.

Marcos Ambrose: Coming off fifth top-10 in 10 starts; 13.5 average finish in the two races with the Gen-6 car.

Brian Vickers: Has finished in the top 10 in his last four starts; Second among all drivers in average finish (6.0) in the two races with the Gen-6 car; Will debut a new car (chassis No. 805) in the Food City 500.

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Re: Food City 500 Betting News and Notes

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

LAS VEGAS – Casey Mears was fastest in the final NASCAR Sprint Cup practice Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway, but it was Brad Keselowski who impressed the most. He's our top-rated driver Sunday’s Food City 500, and if he should win, it would be his third Bristol victory in his past six starts there.

After giving the appearance of being sluggish in the early practice session Saturday, Keselowski continued an ongoing trend the past two weeks of being fast during the final practices by laying down the fourth-fastest lap. What really elevated him to the top of our charts was being the fastest on 10-consecutive lap runs.

Because Bristol is a half-mile track, the 10-consecutive lap average doesn’t hold as much weight as it would at Phoenix’s 1-mile track or Las Vegas’1.5-mile layout, as drivers will run more laps during each fuel window. What we're trying to gauge is who will likely be the fastest at the end of those runs. For a 1.5-mile track, 10-consecutive lap averages is a huge tool for bettors because drivers only go around 40 laps before having to pit. But at Bristol, the driver will go well over 100 laps before having to refuel. If there were only a stat provided for us from NASCAR that had 20-consecutive laps, it might be more indicative of who will be fastest when the drivers start putting 80-laps on a single set of tires.

Having said all that, Keselowski put himself above all the other drivers with those average speeds, but he didn't need much to give him an extra edge at the betting windows. He comes off a win last week in Las Vegas and was strong the week before in Phoenix. What really gives him the biggest boost is his tenacity at Bristol. Even with a car that didn’t top the average charts, it wouldn't be smart to bet against Keselowski at Bristol.

The two drivers that looked almost as good as Keselowski in both of Saturday’s practices were Kurt Busch and Matt Kenseth, who have eight Bristol wins between them. But we still felt Kyle Busch – despite just an okay set of final practices -- deserved to be rated above them because of his Bristol history, which includes five wins like his older brother. Like Keselowski, Kyle Busch brings the tenacity, and while the new Bristol layout might not evoke as many bump-and-runs as the past, it still takes a driver with some moxie to get the job done. And, while his win in Saturday's Nationwide series has little to do with Sunday's Cup race, it's hard to ignore three straight wins by Kyle in that series.

And that brings us to Kasey Kahne, who got the job done better than anyone at Bristol last season with a win and a second-place finish. He wasn’t spectacular in practice, but he did have the third-fastest 10-consecutive lap average behind Keselowski and Joey Logano during happy hour. We've seen quite a few drivers take over Bristol in two- and three-year flashes with multiple wins, and if looking for a driver to keep that history roll going, Kahne would be it. However, something will likely have to happen to Keselowski for that to happen.

Rain is expected Sunday, so expect lengthy delays and a strong possibility that the race may have to run late under the lights or even Monday morning.

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