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Duck Commander 500 Betting News and Notes
Duck Commander 500 Betting News and Notes
Texas Motor Speedway Data
Season Race #: 7 of 36 (04-06-14)
Track Size: 1.5-mile
Banking/Turn 1 & 2: 24 degrees
Banking/Turn 3 & 4: 24 degrees
Banking/Frontstretch: 5 degrees
Banking/Backstretch: 5 degrees
Frontstretch Length: 2,250 feet
Backstretch Length: 1,330 feet
Race Length: 334 laps / 501 miles
Top 10 Driver Ratings at Texas
Matt Kenseth 107.2
Jimmie Johnson 106.4
Greg Biffle 101.8
Kyle Busch 101.6
Tony Stewart 99.1
Carl Edwards 97.5
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 93.8
Denny Hamlin 93.3
Clint Bowyer 92.3
Jeff Gordon 90.6
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2013 races (18 total) among active drivers at Texas Motor Speedway.
2013 Coors Light Pole winner:
Kyle Busch, Toyota
196.299 mph, 27.509 secs. 04-12-13
2013 race winner:
Kyle Busch, Toyota
144.751 mph, (03:27:40), 04-13-13
Track qualifying record:
Kyle Busch, Toyota
196.299 mph, 27.509 secs. 04-12-13
Track race record
Greg Biffle, Ford
160.577 mph, (3:07:12), 11-14-12
Re: Duck Commander 500 Betting News and Notes
Texas Driver Tale of the Tape
Greg Biffle (No. 16 3M/Give Kids A Smile Ford)
· Two wins, eight top fives, 12 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 15.1
· Average Running Position of 12.3, seventh-best
· Driver Rating of 101.8, third-best
· 465 Fastest Laps Run, second-most
· 1,194 Green Flag Passes, 10th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 173.396 mph, third-fastest
· 4,457 Laps in the Top 15 (74.0%), fourth-most
· Series-high 742 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green)
Clint Bowyer (No. 15 Willie’s Duck Diner Toyota)
· Three top fives, nine top 10s
· Average finish of 12.8
· Average Running Position of 12.6, eighth-best
· Driver Rating of 92.3, ninth-best
· Average Green Flag Speed of 173.094 mph, eighth-fastest
Kurt Busch (No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet)
· One win, three top fives, 12 top 10s
· Average finish of 15.3
· Driver Rating of 88.0, 12th-best
· 191 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-most
· 1,372 Green Flag Passes, third-most
· 578 Quality Passes, 12th-most
Kyle Busch (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota)
· One win, six top fives, seven top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 14.0
· Average Running Position of 11.0, fourth-best
· Driver Rating of 101.6, fourth-best
· 331 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 173.452 mph, second-fastest
· 4,158 Laps in the Top 15 (73.1%), sixth-most
· 597 Quality Passes, 10th-most
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet)
· One win, four top fives, 13 top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 13.7
· Average Running Position of 11.5, fifth-best
· Driver Rating of 93.8, seventh-best
· 216 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-most
· 1,343 Green Flag Passes, sixth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 173.134 mph, seventh-fastest
· 4,624 Laps in the Top 15 (76.8%), third-most
· 736 Quality Passes, second-most
Carl Edwards (No. 99 Fastenal Ford)
· Three wins, six top fives, eight top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 15.6
· Average Running Position of 12.3, sixth-best
· Driver Rating of 97.5, sixth-best
· 358 Fastest Laps Run, third-most
· 1,164 Green Flag Passes, 12th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 173.320 mph, fourth-fastest
· 4,425 Laps in the Top 15 (73.5%), fifth-most
· 703 Quality Passes, fourth-most
Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Axalta/Texas A&M School of Engineering Chevrolet)
· One win, eight top fives, 11 top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 17.8
· Average Running Position of 14.5, 11th-best
· Driver Rating of 90.6, 10th-best
· 307 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 172.965 mph, 11th-fastest
· 3,727 Laps in the Top 15 (61.9%), eighth-most
· 629 Quality Passes, ninth-most
Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota)
· Two wins, five top fives, nine top 10s
· Average finish of 10.7
· Average Running Position of 12.7, ninth-best
· Driver Rating of 93.3, eighth-best
· 167 Fastest Laps Run, 11th-most
· 1,301 Green Flag Passes, ninth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 172.998 mph, 10th-fastest
· 3,596 Laps in the Top 15 (67.2%), 12th-most
· 696 Quality Passes, fifth-most
Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's “Spring is Calling” Chevrolet)
· Three wins, 10 top fives, 16 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 8.7
· Average Running Position of 10.3, second-best
· Driver Rating of 106.4, second-best
· Series-high 488 Fastest Laps Run
· Average Green Flag Speed of 173.319 mph, fifth-fastest
· 4,660 Laps in the Top 15 (77.4%), second-most
· 681 Quality Passes, sixth-most
Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Dollar General Toyota)
· Two wins, 13 top fives, 16 top 10s
· Average finish of 8.3
· Series-best Average Running Position of 9.0
· Series-best Driver Rating of 107.2
· 350 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most
· 1,360 Green Flag Passes, fifth-most
· Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 173.482 mph
· Series-high 4,827 Laps in the Top 15 (80.1%)
· 709 Quality Passes, third-most
Tony Stewart (No. 14 Code 3 Associates/Mobil 1 Chevrolet)
· Two wins, six top fives, 12 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 13.1
· Average Running Position of 10.8, third-best
· Driver Rating of 99.1, fifth-best
· 344 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 173.180 mph, sixth-fastest
· 4,023 Laps in the Top 15 (70.7%), seventh-most
· 596 Quality Passes, 11th-most
Martin Truex Jr. (No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet)
· Two top fives, eight top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 15.0
· Average Running Position of 13.7, 10th-best
· Driver Rating of 89.1, 11th-best
· 1,164 Green Flag Passes, 12th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 173.017 mph, ninth-fastest
· 3,605 Laps in the Top 15 (63.4%), 11th-most
Re: Duck Commander 500 Betting News and Notes
Duck Commander 500 Preview
By Micah Roberts
We get our second look at a high banked 1.5-mile layout this week at Texas Motor Speedway, but let’s take a moment to reflect on what we saw last week at Martinsville where Las Vegan Kurt Busch took a beat up car to end his personal 81-race winless streak. He radioed in to his crew saying that their ’day was done’ after an early pit road crunch with Brad Keselowski, and then went blow for blow with a hoodless and fenderless Keselowski for multiple laps, and then finally won on a track where four select drivers had won 17 of the past 19 races.
It was a magical ride for all of us, and with the win, he became the sixth different driver to win in the first six races. The ride would have been better is I actually had Kurt Busch at the 50/1 odds (Bet $100 to win $5,000) offered by the LVH SuperBook. The most encouraging thing is that there looks to finally be hope for other drivers at Martinsville like the days when 30/1 or higher payouts were common with Ricky Rudd, Bobby Hamilton, John Andretti and Ricky Craven. Lately, Martinsville has been won by the big favorites. So make a mental note for when they return to the track on Oct. 26 that longer shots actually do have a chance now.
Over the years, we haven’t seen too many upsets at Texas, so when looking at the best candidates to win Sunday’s Duck Commander 500, you might want to keep your eyes at the top half of the odds board.
You could categorize Jeff Burton’s win in 2007 at 35/1 odds as a longshot, but for the most part, the elite have won. And when getting to see them run in final practices, the eventual winner should become much clearer as the cream rises to the top of the speed charts.
One way to get a head start on who might be the best Sunday is look at what happened during the Las Vegas race from Mar. 9 won by Brad Keselowski. Both are 1.5-mile tracks with each having their own unique characteristics. But since it’s the only relative thing to go off of from this season, it should be an important part of any wagering equation.
In the Las Vegas race, Dale Earnhardt Jr. gambled with fuel mileage and was leading when he ran out of fuel on the final lap, whereupon Keselowski passed for the win. Junior would finish second and was followed by Paul Menard, who would be considered somewhat of a long shot candidate this week.
Joey Logano, Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch led some laps in that race, and Busch would go on to win at Fontana, which is a race that can also be applied into the betting equation this week.
Here’s a look at how some of top candidates to win have fared at Texas over their careers:
Matt Kenseth: It doesn’t matter what car he is driving, Kenseth has always loved some Texas cooking. Since NASCAR began compiling their loop data in 2005, he has the top driver rating (107.2) at Texas among all drivers. Over his past 20 starts, he’s averaged a seventh-place finish and has two wins overall, the last in 2011.
Jimmie Johnson: He has won two of the past three Texas races and has three wins overall. He is just behind Kenseth on a consistency level with an 8.7 average finish. He hasn’t won a race yet, and this would appear to be a good setting for him to do so.
Dale Earnhardt Jr: He won his first career race at Texas as a rookie, in perhaps his best father-son moment captured on video where Dale Sr. was beaming with pride showing everyone a side most had never seen out of the Intimidator. That was in 2000, and he’s yet to win there since, but he did finish second to Johnson there last fall, and with his great Vegas run, he should be considered a quality candidate to win.
Kevin Harvick: He’s never won at Texas, but has finished 13th or better in the past five races there. He’s a candidate just because his car does have some horsepower, and although his Vegas 41st-place finish doesn’t look good on paper, he did lead twice for 23 laps and was very fast. He was also the star of a test session at Vegas, which gave the team invaluable notes for setting up their cars on all the 1.5-mile tracks.
Kyle Busch: He won this race last spring and has been considered one of the favorites to win here over the past seven seasons. His Fontana win should also elevate him high on any list or ranking.
Top-5 Finish Prediction:
1) #4 Kevin Harvick (10/1)
2) #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. (10/1)
3) #2 Brad Keselowski (8/1)
4) #48 Jimmie Johnson (6/1)
5) #18 Kyle Busch (7/1)
Re: Duck Commander 500 Betting News and Notes
#1-Jamie McMurray: chassis not reported on race preview.
#2-Brad Keselowski: Primary Chassis for Texas is PRS-862, which is a new chassis. The backup chassis is PRS-840 which last served as a backup at Las Vegas in March. With 11 NSCS starts at Texas to his credit, Keselowski owns a best result of second-place. The finish, which came after Keselowski earned an eighth-place starting spot, was recorded at the fall race of his 2012 championship winning season.
#3-Austin Dillon: will pilot chassis No. 465 in the Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. This is a new Dow Powerhouse Chevrolet SS that will be utilized for the first time this weekend. Dillon has two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts to his credit at Texas Motor Speedway, earning finishes of 33rd and 22nd in 2013.
#4-Kevin Harvick will pilot Chassis No. 4-858 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. Built new for 2014, Chassis 4-858 will see its first laps of competition this weekend. In 22 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Texas, Harvick has three top-five finishes and 11 top-10s. Additionally, the 38-yearold driver has an average starting position of 21.1, an average finish of 12.3 and has completed 99.8 percent of the laps he's contested (7,345 of 7,359).
#5-Kasey Kahne: Crew chief Kenny Francis will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-863 for Sunday's race at Texas. This is a new chassis. Kahne went to Victory Lane at Texas on April 9, 2006, after starting from the pole position and leading 63 laps. The driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet SS has five top-five finishes, six top-10s and has led a total of 218 laps in 19 Cup starts at the Fort Worth, Texas, oval. Most recently, Kahne scored a fifth-place result there in November 2013.
#7-Michael Annett chassis not reported on race preview.
#9-Marcos Ambrose: chassis not reported on race preview.
#11-Denny Hamlin: chassis not reported on race preview.
#13-Casey Mears: chassis not reported on race preview.
#15-Clint Bowyer: Chassis No. 802 serves as the primary chassis for Bowyer at Texas Motor Speedway. Bowyer drove this Toyota to a 23rd-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after hitting the wall with just 35 laps remaining. Chassis No. 800 serves as the back-up chassis. This chassis has never seen action on the race track but has served as the back up for Fontana and Las Vegas.
#16-Greg Biffle: and the Matt Puccia led #16 3M ESPE Dental Give Kids A Smile team will bring primary chassis RK-896 at Texas, a brand new chassis. The backup chassis is RK-879 which last ran at Las Vegas and finished 22nd. In his 20 career Cup Series starts at the 1.5-mile track, Biffle has two wins, eight top-five and 12 top-10 finishes. His average starting position is 12.7 with an average finishing position of 15.1. This is the fourth year that Give Kids a Smile has been on the hood of Greg's No. 16 Ford and they were on the hood last year for his win at Michigan.
#17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: and the #17 Ford EcoBoost team will be using primary chassis Chassis RK-899 at Texas, which is a brand new chassis. The backup chassis is RK-860, which was last raced at Texas in 2013 and finished 16th. Stenhouse has two Sprint Cup career starts with an average starting position of 13.0 and average finishing position of 28.0.
#18-Kyle Busch: chassis not reported on race preview.
#20-Matt Kenseth: chassis not reported on race preview.
#22-Joey Logano: Primary Chassis is PRS-848 for Texas, which last raced at New Hampshire, finishing 14th. The Backup Chassis is PRS-844 which was last used as a backup at Las Vegas. After finishing fifth in the first Texas race last season, Logano backed it up with a third-place finish in the fall race at TMS. The only other time Logano has finished inside the top five at Texas came at the end of 2010 when he finished fourth.
#24-Jeff Gordon: crew chief Alan Gustafson has selected Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 24-830 for this Sunday's race. This chassis has been used in competition twice - once at Las Vegas Motor Speedway earlier this year when Gordon raced it to a ninth-place finish and once in the 2013 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway where he finished 11th.: Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta/Texas A&M College of Engineering Chevrolet SS, has one win, two pole positions, eight top-five finishes and 11 top-10s in 26 Cup starts at Texas Motor Speedway. Currently tied with Jeff Burton, Bobby Labonte and Mark Martin for the most Cup starts at the 1.5-mile track, Gordon will move into sole possession of most starts with a 27th on Sunday.
#27-Paul Menard will pilot chassis No. 454 this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. This Quaker State/Menards Chevrolet SS was last used at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this year where Menard scored a third-place finish. Through 15 starts at the 1.5-mile track, Paul Menard has achieved one top-five, two top-10s and two laps led. He's completed 4,835 of 5,021 laps (96.3 percent) contested with an average start of 19th and a 20.6 finishing average. Menard's best start of fourth was achieved twice (Nov. 2011 and Nov. 2013). His best finish of fifth was in April 2011.
#31-Ryan Newman will race chassis No. 456 in Sunday's Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Chassis No. 456 was raced on March 9 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway where Newman qualified 10th and finished seventh. Newman is looking to capture his second-career victory at Texas when he makes his 22nd NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start. His win came in the spring of 2003 making him the youngest Texas winner at 25 years, 3 months and 22 days. The Rocket Man also won the pole for both Sprint Cup Series events in 2005 to complete the sweep. In total, he owns three top-five and five top-10 finishes. The South Bend, Ind., native has an average start of 17th and average finish of 19th. When calculating points earned through the last 10 races at TMS, Newman ranks 10th in most championship points earned.
#34-David Regan chassis not reported on race preview.
#35-David Reutimann chassis not reported on race preview.
#36-Reed Sorenson chassis not reported on race preview.
#38-David Gilliland chassis not reported on race preview.
#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 Chassis No. 48-797 which Johnson drove to Victory Lane last November at Texas. The backup car is Chassis No. 48-784 which Johnson most recently raced last season at Michigan International Speedway in June. In 21 starts at Texas Motor Speedway, Johnson has three wins, 10 top-five finishes and 16 top-10s. Johnson has an average starting spot of 8.5 and an average finish of 8.7 during this timeframe. Last April, Johnson started seventh and finished sixth at the 500-mile event. He won the race in November en route to his sixth Cup series championship.
#55-Brian Vickers: Primary Chassis 803 has not raced. The backup chassis is 801, which finished 13th at Las Vegas. In 28 MWR starts, Vickers has posted a win, 12 top-10 (43%) and 5 top-five finishes (18 percent).
#78-Martin Truex Jr. chassis not reported on race preview.
#88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.: crew chief Steve Letarte and the #88 team has selected Chassis No. 88-822. Earnhardt last raced this chassis to a second-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March. In 23 Sprint Cup starts at Texas Motor Speedway, Earnhardt has scored one win, two pole positions, four top-five finishes and 13 top-10s. He has an average starting position of 11.3, which is his second-best at all tracks. He has led at least one lap in 13 of those starts for a total of 448 laps.
#99-Carl Edwards the #99 Fastenal blue team will unload primary chassis RK-897 at Texas, which is a new chassis. The backup chassis is RK-880 which was last used in 2014 as a primary at Vegas, finishing fifth. Edwards is tied with Jimmie Johnson for the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins at Texas Motor Speedway with three. Edwards first went to victory lane in 2005 at the track and then swept the season in 2008. Edwards has 18 Sprint Cup starts at Texas Motor Speedway with an average start of 13.4 and an average finish of 15.6. Edwards has finished in the top-five six times and in the top-ten eight times.
Re: Duck Commander 500 Betting News and Notes
Driver Handicaps: Texas
By: Jeff Wackerlin
Who's HOT at Texas
• Kyle Busch has posted a 5.7 average finish in his last three starts, including a win in this event last year after leading 171 laps.
• Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards lead all drivers with three wins each.
• Matt Kenseth leads all drivers with a 6.0 average finish in the last 10 races.
• Two-time winner Greg Biffle's only finish outside the top 10 in the last 10 races is a 12th last fall.
• Brad Keselowski - winner at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last month - has posted a 5.7 average finish in his last four starts.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. has finished in the top 10 in six of his last eight starts.
Who to Keep an Eye On at Texas
• Joey Logano, who won the pole and finished fourth at Las Vegas last month, has posted a 6.3 average finish in his last three Texas starts.
• Kevin Harvick, who has posted a 10.4 average finish in his last five Texas starts, was fast in testing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and led 23 laps in the Vegas race before a front hub locked up.
• Jeff Gordon has only posted two top 10s at Texas since his win in this event in 2009, but does have the second-best average finish (8.3) among all drivers in the six races this season.
• Tony Stewart has posted one win and a 12.9 average finish in nine starts with Stewart-Haas Racing at Texas.
• Martin Truex Jr. (8.6), Kasey Kahne (10.2) and Clint Bowyer (11.4) each rank in the top 10 in average finish in the last five races at Texas.
• Last week's winner Kurt Busch does have one win at Texas, coming with Penske Racing in the 2009 fall race. He will make his first track start with Stewart-Haas Racing in a new chassis.
• Two-time winner Denny Hamlin did not race in this event last year because of injury, but does have a three top 10s in the last four races on 1.5-mile tracks, including a win at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Brian Vickers, who subbed for Hamlin last year and finished eighth, will make his first track start with Michael Waltrip Racing.
• Kyle Larson has yet to post a top 10 on a 1.5-mile track in his young career but does like racing at these types of tracks, especially ones like Texas that have a worn out surface.
• Paul Menard will return in the same car that he finished third with at Las Vegas last month.
Tire Notes: Teams will run a new right-side tire that will have Goodyear's multi-zone tread technology. The left-side tire is the same one teams have run at the track since 2011; and have also run at Chicagoland Speedway, Darlington Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2013.
MRN.com Staff Picks
Jeff Wackerlin: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Pete Pistone: Jimmie Johnson
Dustin Long: Jimmie Johnson
John Singler: Matt Kenseth
Top 20 Driver Notes - Ordered by Current Standings
Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Returns to the site of his first career win with six top 10s in his last eight starts at Texas, including a runner-up finish last fall. In the first race of the 2014 season on a 1.5-mile track - and first with the new rules package - Earnhardt led 52 laps and finished second at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and will race that same car (chassis No. 822) this weekend. In the last five races on 1.5-mile tracks dating back to Kansas Speedway last fall, Earnhardt is tied with Matt Kenseth for second among all drivers in average finish (6.0). Earnhardt is also tied for the active pole lead at Texas and has made the final round in "knockout" qualifying once in five attempts this season.
Matt Kenseth: The overall leader in top fives (13), top 10s (16) and average finish (8.3) in his 23 starts at Texas. He scored two wins (last coming in this event in 2011) driving for Roush Fenway Racing in his first 21 starts at the track. Last year, he raced at Texas for the first time with Joe Gibbs Racing, posting finishes of 12th and fourth. In the last five races on 1.5-mile tracks dating back to Kansas Speedway last fall, Kenseth is tied with Earnhardt for second among all drivers in average finish (6.0). In the last three races of this season, Kenseth has made the final round of qualifying and won the pole at Auto Club Speedway.
Carl Edwards: Tied with Jimmie Johnson for the most wins (3) at Texas, his last one coming in a sweep of both races in 2008. Last fall, Edwards won the pole and led 38 laps before engine issues. He finished fifth last month in the first race of the season on a 1.5-mile track. In the five races so far this season where "knockout" qualifying has been held, Edwards has made the final round in the last four. This weekend, Edwards will look to finish in the top 10 for the ninth time in his career at Texas driving a new car (chassis No. 897) in the Duck Commander 500.
Jeff Gordon: A winner of this race in 2009, Gordon will become the all-time starts leader at Texas this weekend when he takes the green flag for the 27th time. His last of 11 top 10s came in this event in 2012, fourth place. Gordon has finished in the top 10 in three of the last four races on 1.5-mile tracks dating back to Kansas last fall, including a ninth-place run last month at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Gordon will return this weekend in the same car (chassis No. 830) that he ran at Vegas, but with a special Texas A&M School of Engineering paint scheme. Gordon will also be looking to make the final round of qualifying for the fourth consecutive week on Saturday.
Jimmie Johnson: Coming off his third win at Texas, tying him with Edwards for the most at the track. Johnson has finished ninth or better in seven of his last eight Texas starts and has the third-best average finish (8.3) in the last 10 races there. In the first race of the season on a 1.5-mile track - Las Vegas Motor Speedway - and first with the new rules package, Johnson led 34 laps and finished sixth. In the past five races on 1.5-mile tracks dating back to Kansas Speedway, Johnson leads all drivers with a 5.2 average finish. He is one of only two drivers to make all five final rounds of "knockout" qualifying this season and will return in the same car (chassis No. 797) that he won with at Texas last fall.
Kyle Busch: Won this race last year for his first Cup victory in 17 Texas starts. He is second only to Johnson in the last three races there in average finish (5.7). In the first race on a 1.5-mile track this season - Las Vegas Motor Speedway - and first with the new rules package, Busch led 52 laps and finished 11th. Busch, the Texas qualifying record holder, is coming off his first pole of the season after making the final qualifying round for the third time this year.
Brad Keselowski: Has finished ninth or better, and has led a combined 105 laps, in his last three starts at Texas. His average finish of 5.7 in that span is second only to Johnson and tied with Busch. In the first race on a 1.5-mile track - Las Vegas Motor Speedway - and first with the new rules package, Keselowski led the most laps (53) en route to the win. He is the only multiple winner (2) in the last five races on 1.5-mile tracks dating back to Kansas Speedway last fall. Last weekend, Keselowski missed the final round of qualifying for the first time this season as the team was concentrating on race runs in practice. This weekend, Keselowski is piloting a new car (chassis No. 862).
Joey Logano: Last season, Logano made his first two Texas starts with Team Penske - posting an average finish of 4.0. He's coming off his best finish in 11 overall starts, third place. In the first race on a 1.5-mile track - Las Vegas Motor Speedway - and first with the new rules package, Logano won the pole and led 44 laps en route to a fourth-place finish. Along with Johnson, Logano is the only other driver that has made the final round of all five "knockout" qualifying sessions this season. This weekend, Logano will return in the same car (chassis No. 848) that he last finished 14th with at New Hampshire Motor Speedway last fall.
Austin Dillon: Will be making his first Cup Series start at Texas in the No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing. Last season he posted a 27.5 average finish in the two races driving both the No. 51 and 33 cars, respectively. This weekend, Dillon will debut a new car (chassis No. 465) in the Duck Commander 500.
Ryan Newman: Coming off a pair of top-10 finishes at Texas driving for Stewart-Haas Racing. This weekend, Newman will make his first track start with Richard Childress Racing in the same car (chassis No. 456) that he finished seventh with at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the first 1.5-mile track of the season. Newman does have one victory at Texas, winning with Team Penske in 2003.
Paul Menard: Has posted a 16.2 average finish in six Texas starts driving for Richard Childress Racing. His best finish with RCR came in this event in 2011, fifth place. Menard had a strong run in the first race on a 1.5-mile track this season, finishing third at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. In fact, Menard will be back in the same car he ran at Vegas - chassis No. 454.
Denny Hamlin: Coming off a seventh-place finish at Texas last fall after missing this race last season due to injury. The finish was his ninth top 10 in 16 starts, which includes wins in both races in 2010. Hamlin - who finished 12th at Las Vegas last month - has posted three top 10s in the last four races on 1.5-mile tracks, including a win at Homestead-Miami Speedway to close last season. Hamlin has recorded top-two starting positions in the last two "knockout" qualifying sessions he's participated in.
Brian Vickers: Subbed for the injured Hamlin in this race last year and went on to post his first top 10 (eighth) in 15 Texas starts. This weekend, Vickers will make his first Texas start with Michael Waltrip Racing in a new car (chassis No. 803).
Marcos Ambrose: Coming off his second consecutive top-five finish on a short track and will now look to improve on his 24th-place finish at the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway last month. Ambrose, who scored his lone top 10 at Texas in the 2011 spring race, will pilot a new chassis in the Duck Commander 500.
Tony Stewart: Captured his second Texas win in the 2011 fall race. Stewart missed the fall Texas race last season due to injury, but has posted a 12.9 average finish in nine starts with Stewart-Haas Racing. Stewart will be looking to score his first top 10 in the spring Texas race since 2009 driving the same car (chassis No. 754) that he raced to an 11th-place finish last month at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the first 1.5-mile track of the season.
AJ Allmendinger: In the last two races of the season Allmendinger has finished in the top 12, the first time JTG Daugherty has done that since 2010. This weekend, he will make his first start at Texas with the team, and first there since 2012. Allmendinger has a pair of 10th-place finishes at Texas coming in 2009 and 2011 fall race with Richard Petty Motorsports.
Clint Bowyer: Has posted a 12.0 average finish in four Texas starts with Michael Waltrip Racing. He's coming off his ninth top 10 in 16 overall starts and has posted a 12.6 average finish in the last five races on 1.5-mile tracks dating back to Kansas Speedway last fall. This weekend, Bowyer will return in the same car (chassis No. 802) that he finished 23rd with at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last month after hitting the wall late in the race. The car will carry a Willie’s Duck Diner paint scheme in conjunction with the race title sponsor, Duck Commander.
Greg Biffle: Currently holds the Texas race record (160.577 mph) after winning this event in 2012. That win was his second at the track and 12th top 10 in 20 starts there. Last year in this event, Biffle finished fourth for his 10th consecutive top 10 at Texas. Biffle has not finished in the top 10 in the last five races on 1.5-mile tracks dating back to Kansas Speedway last fall, but will look to turn that around with a new car (chassis No. 896) in the Duck Commander 500.
Kyle Larson: Finished 23rd in first Texas Cup start last season driving the No. 51 Chevrolet. He finished 19th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last month - his first start on a 1.5-mile track in the No. 42 Chevrolet with crew chief Chris Heroy. Larson does like racing on 1.5-mile tracks, especially the ones with worn-out surfaces where you have to search for grip.
Kurt Busch: Coming off his first win with Stewart-Haas Racing and first overall in 83 races, last weekend at Martinsville Speedway. Busch, who has one win at Texas with Team Penske in 2009, last finished in the top 10 there in the 2012 fall race when he drove for Furniture Row Racing. After finishing 26th in his first start on a 1.5-mile track (Las Vegas Motor Speedway) with Stewart-Haas, Busch will look for a better result when he climbs into a new car (chassis No. 860) for the Duck Commander 500.
Re: Duck Commander 500 Betting News and Notes
Drivers to Watch - Texas
The NASCAR field heads to Fort Worth for Sunday's Duck Commander 500 race at Texas Motor Speedway. This 1.5-mile intermediate track was built in 1996 as a quad-oval with 24-degree banking on the turns. The straights are just five degrees of banking and measure at 2,250 feet (or 0.43 miles) and 1,330 feet (0.25 miles).
This track has had a different winner in nine of the past 11 starts in Fort Worth. Denny Hamlin and defending track champion Jimmie Johnson are the only two-time winners during this stretch. Kyle Busch is the defending champion of this spring race, as he won from the pole at this track last April, while Johnson won the November race in Texas.
Drivers to Watch
Carl Edwards (20/1) - Edwards has some outstanding odds for Sunday considering he has six top-3 finishes in his career in Fort Worth, including three victories (2005 and twice in 2008). Not including his four DNFs at this track, his average finish in the 14 career Texas races he actually finished is an impressive 9.7. Edwards has also been rolling all season with four top-10's in his six starts, including a win in Bristol, to put him third in the current point standings.
Denny Hamlin (15/1) - Hamlin has great value for Sunday's race, as his average career finish at Texas is 12.3, which ranks third among active drivers. This includes his back-to-back wins in 2010, plus three other top-5 showings, and last fall he finished 7th at this track. Hamlin has also given himself great starting positions all season with a 9.2 average, including three top-4 starts, which is important because 77 percent of Fort Worth race winners have started among the top-10.
Matt Kenseth (7/1) - The reason why Kenseth's odds are so low is due to his dominance at this track. In 23 career Texas starts, he has 13 top-5 finishes including a pair of wins (2002, 2011). His 8.3 average finish in Fort Worth leads all active drivers, and he's led at least one lap of a Texas race 16 times in his career. Kenseth loves the distance of this track with 19 career wins on 1-to-2 mile speedways such as Texas. The No. 20 car is also off to a fast start to the 2014 season, ranking second in the points standings with top-6 showings in three of his six starts.
Greg Biffle (30/1) - The darkhorse pick of the weekend has to go to Biffle at 30-to-1, which is quite a drop from his 7-to-1 price at this race last spring. Not only does Biffle hold the Texas Motor Speedway record with his 160.577 mph average during his 2012 victory, but he has not placed worse than 12th in 11 straight starts at Fort Worth. His average finish during this stretch has been an impressive 6.1, and he has led multiple laps in seven of these 11 races. Of his 19 career wins, 63% (12) have come on speedways measuring between one and two miles, and his 18 laps led in Martinsville last week shows that he's starting to bust out of his slump to start the 2014 season (18th in points standings, 19.5 average finish).
Austin Dillon (100/1) - The best longshot on the board for Sunday's race is Dillon, who has been consistently strong this season, with only one finish outside the top-15. He's been able to greatly out-race his starting position in three straight starts, with an average starting position of 27th place and an average finish of 12th place. He's made only two career starts in Fort Worth, but showed great improvement with a 22nd-place showing last November after a weak 33rd-place finish last spring.
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Re: Duck Commander 500 Betting News and Notes
Duck Commander 500 Post-Practice Betting Notes
By: Micah Roberts
LAS VEGAS – Kurt Busch laid down the fastest lap (194.630 mph) during Saturday’s final Sprint Cup practice session at Texas Motor Speedway in preparation for Sunday’s Duck Commander 500, and he did it with his back-up car.
Busch's primary car slapped the wall during Friday’s practice after blowing a left rear tire. It's a surprise to see the back-up so dialed in, but maybe it shouldn’t be. Clearly, the Stewart-Haas Racing organization gained some great information through a test session at Las Vegas last month when Kevin Harvick was the star.
Apparently, SHR is prepared to go fast on the high-banked 1.5-mile tracks this year because Harvick came through with the third-fastest lap in Saturday’s practice and Tony Stewart won the pole. The biggest sign that Harvick might be in line to win his first Texas race was that he had the fastest 10-consecutive lap average among the 18 drivers that ran as many laps straight.
We can look Harvick’s 41st-place performance at Las Vegas and be skeptical of his chances Sunday, but if we look deeper than just the results sheet, we notice that Harvick had a brake issue that sent him to the garages during the race -- but not before he led twice for 23 laps. He was a contender then, and he should be one on Sunday.
So, why don’t we have Harvick rated No. 1?
Harvick definitely looked the best overall in practice, but it’s Jimmie Johnson who gets the nod at the top, not only because of his good practices, but also because of past history that has seen him win three times at Texas, including two of the past three. He’s also driving a chassis that has pretty good history itself, winning at Texas last fall in addition to winning at Dover in September.
Perhaps the most pleasant surprise of both practice sessions was seeing Greg Biffle near the top of the charts again. Biffle had a very ordinary Las Vegas race, finishing 22nd, but he came out blazing with the second-fastest lap in Friday’s session and fourth best during Saturday’s happy hour, which was actually 90 minutes. He then qualified fourth.
Biffle certainly has history on his side with two career wins, and he also has a Roush-Fenway Racing program behind him that has won nine races at Texas, more than any other team.
Another beneficiary of the Roush pedigree is three-time Texas winner Carl Edwards. Although Edwards didn’t shine during practices at Las Vegas, he did manage to pull out a gutsy fifth-place finish. Edwards had the second-fastest lap during Saturday’s practice.
The best long shot to consider is Paul Menard, listed at 75-to-1 odds before practices. He finished third at Las Vegas and will be using the same chassis again this week. He had the sixth-fastest lap during happy hour Saturday and finished third behind Harvick and Johnson in the 10-consecutive lap average category. If looking for one driver who can help turn $20 into a quick vacation fund, Menard would be it.
Because of Las Vegas being a nice measuring tool for what to expect at Texas, we were initially high on Brad Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt Jr. They finished 1-2 at Vegas and each led more than 50 laps, but they weren’t overly impressive Saturday during happy hour. In fact, Keselowski looked terrible, but he gets the benefit of the doubt because of what he did at Vegas. He also found speed somewhere Saturday during qualifying and will start on the front row next to Stewart.
Overall, Junior was much better between the two practices and is also using the same chassis that ran out of fuel on the last lap while leading at Vegas.
Rain is expected Sunday in the Fort Worth area, so this one could be raced under the lights. If so, Friday’s practice conditions might be more relevant to race day than Saturday’s, which ran in the morning.