Toyota Owners 400 Betting News and Notes

Toyota Owners 400 Betting News and Notes

Richmond Track Facts


Richmond International Raceway Data


Season Race #: 9 of 36 (04-26-14)
Track Size: 0.75-miles
Banking/Turns 1 & 2: 14 degrees
Banking/Turns 3 & 4: 14 degrees
Banking/Frontstretch: 8 degrees
Banking/Backstretch: 2 degrees
Frontstretch Length:  1,290 feet
Backstretch Length:  860 feet
Race Length: 400 laps / 300 miles

Top 10 Driver Ratings at Richmond

Denny Hamlin 114.8
Kyle Busch 111.9
Kevin Harvick 110.0
Clint Bowyer 100.7
Tony Stewart 96.5
Jeff Gordon 96.0
Kurt Busch 92.2
Ryan Newman 91.6
Carl Edwards 90.1
Jimmie Johnson 88.5

Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2013 races (18 total) among active drivers at Richmond International Raceway

Qualifying/Race Data
2013 Coors Light pole winner:
Matt Kenseth, Toyota
130.334 mph, 20.716 secs. 04-25-13

2013 race winner:
Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet
92.141 mph, (03:18:17), 04-27-13

Track qualifying record:
Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet
130.599 mph, 20.674 secs. 09-04-13

Track race record:
Dale Jarrett, Ford
109.047 mph, (02:45:04), 09-06-97

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Re: Toyota Owners 400 Betting News and Notes

Richmond Driver Tale of the Tape


Clint Bowyer (No. 15 AAA Insurance Toyota)


· Two wins, three top fives, nine top 10s
· Average finish of 10.1
· Average Running Position of 9.5, fourth-best
· Driver Rating of 100.7, fourth-best
· 183 Fastest Laps Run, 11th-most
· 851 Green Flag Passes, 12th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 116.414 mph, fifth-fastest
· 5,140 Laps in the Top 15 (80.1%), fifth-most
· 485 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green), fourth-most


Kurt Busch (No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet)

· One win, five top fives, nine top 10s
· Average finish of 17.3
· Average Running Position of 14.4, eighth-best
· Driver Rating of 92.2, seventh-best
· 364 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 116.386 mph, sixth-fastest
· 4,338 Laps in the Top 15 (60.1%), ninth-most
· 428 Quality Passes, 10th-most


Kyle Busch (No. 18 M&M's Toyota)

· Four wins, 12 top fives, 13 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 7.2
· Average Running Position of 7.8, second-best
· Driver Rating of 111.9, second-best
· 529 Fastest Laps Run, second-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 116.749 mph, second-fastest
· 6,271 Laps in the Top 15 (86.9%), second-most
· 533 Quality Passes, third-most

Carl Edwards (No. 99 FordAlwaysRacing Ford)

· One win, four top fives, 10 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 13.7
· Average Running Position of 14.9, ninth-best
· Driver Rating of 90.1, ninth-best
· 291 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-most
· 957 Green Flag Passes, sixth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 116.290 mph, ninth-fastest
· 4,276 Laps in the Top 15 (59.3%), 10th-most
· 429 Quality Passes, ninth-most

Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet)


· Two wins, 16 top fives, 26 top 10s; six poles
· Average finish of 14.1
· Average Running Position of 13.8, seventh-best
· Driver Rating of 96.0, sixth-best
· 343 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 116.375 mph, seventh-fastest
· 4,518 Laps in the Top 15 (62.6%), eighth-most
· 436 Quality Passes, seventh-most

Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota)

· Two wins, seven top fives, nine top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 8.9
· Series-best Average Running Position of 6.6
· Series-best Driver Rating of 114.8
· Series-high 584 Fastest Laps Run
· Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 116.782 mph
· 5,361 Laps in the Top 15 (89.2%), fourth-most

Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Outback Steakhouse Chevrolet)

· Three wins, seven top fives, 16 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 11.3
· Average Running Position of 7.9, third-best
· Driver Rating of 110.0, third-best
· 458 Fastest Laps Run, third-most
· 854 Green Flag Passes, 11th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 116.658 mph, third-fastest
· Series-high 6,617 Laps in the Top 15 (91.7%)
· Series-high 613 Quality Passes

Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet)

· Three wins, five top fives, eight top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 17.3
· Average Running Position of 16.2, 12th-best
· Driver Rating of 88.5, 10th-best
· 274 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 116.232 mph, 11th-fastest

Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet)

· One win, four top fives, seven top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 18.0
· Driver Rating of 86.8, 11th-best
· 341 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-most
· 923 Green Flag Passes, eighth-most
· 4,088 Laps in the Top 15 (56.7%), 12th-most
· 433 Quality Passes, eighth-most

Ryan Newman (No. 31 Quicken Loans Chevrolet)

· One win, six top fives, 14 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 11.4
· Average Running Position of 11.7, fifth-best
· Driver Rating of 91.6, eighth-best
· 921 Green Flag Passes, ninth-most
· 5,419 Laps in the Top 15 (75.1%), third-most
· 550 Quality Passes, second-most

Tony Stewart (No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1Chevrolet)

· Three wins, 11 top fives, 19 top 10s
· Average finish of 10.6
· Average Running Position of 12.1, sixth-best
· Driver Rating of 96.5, fifth-best
· 276 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-most
· 875 Green Flag Passes, 10th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 116.498 mph, fourth-fastest
· 4,755 Laps in the Top 15 (69.8%), sixth-most
· 462 Quality Passes, fifth-most

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Re: Toyota Owners 400 Betting News and Notes

Toyota Owners 400 Preview
By Micah Roberts
VegasInsider.com

After non-stop weekly NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing since early February, it was kind of a weird feeling as the series took Easter Weekend off. And while I was ready for little break during the week from sifting through all the team press releases and extensively reviewing practices, when Sunday came around, I must say I really missed not having a race to watch.

But if there was ever a track that was well worth the wait it’s definitely a Saturday night special at Richmond’s three-quarter mile flat track where the racing is tight and the speeds are slow enough that allow drivers to feel not too bad about punting another.

Between the drivers getting after one another and the rowdy fans from the Capital of the Confederacy partying strong all weekend, there is always an electric buzz that translates well to television. Richmond also provides a great betting opportunity. It’s been fairly easy to predict just because of being able to utilize results from similar tracks already raced on during the season.
   
Richmond has it’s regulars that always seem to perform well there, but the better data has been to look at what happened at either Phoenix or New Hampshire in previous races. Phoenix and New Hampshire are both one-mile tracks, but they are also flat and run similar.

Last season we saw Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards each win at both Phoenix and Richmond, and we’ve also seen Kurt Busch (2005), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2004) and Matt Kenseth (2002) do it, as well as Harvick again in 2006. Jimmie Johnson also did in twice in recent years (2007-08). There are several others too prior to that sample. If we throw in New Hampshire, it's an even longer list, but we haven't seen a race there yet this season.

So if we go back to the Mar. 2 race at Phoenix, we'll see that there were two drivers that dominated the afternoon -- Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and then Brad Keselowski to an extent. Harvick would lead a race high four times for 224 of the 312 laps en route to the win. Logano, who finished fourth, would lead the next largest chunk of laps with 71. Earnhardt Jr. finished second (didn't lead a lap), Keselowski third, Jeff Gordon fifth and Johnson sixth.

Those top six Phoenix finishers also have been fast just about everywhere this season, and while Harvick may only be a meaningless 22nd in points, he leads the series with two wins and probably could have had two other wins as well if his car didn’t have issues. The guy has routinely been one of the best during practice sessions this season. But it's hit or miss with him. If his car can stay on the track, he's probably going to run in the top-5 everywhere, and at a track like Richmond where he's won three times, he's worth the risk, even though he is the 6/1 co-favorite.

Logano and Keselowski have been right there with Harvick in practices and each have wins already, while the top-two in points -- Gordon and Kenseth -- are still winless. Add Johnson to that group searching for win No. 1 on the season as well.

Denny Hamlin always has to be considered whenever a race run in his home state of Virginia. He's a two-time winner at Richmond and has the highest NASCAR loop rating since the system began in 2005. He's done a great job this season with finishing well in cars that were much slower than he would have liked. His cars certainly don't look as bad as the ones Joe Gibbs Racing gave him in the second half of 2013, but he still remains a wait and see. The LVH Super Book posted Hamlin at 7/1 odds which pays the ultimate compliment to his success at Richmond. His low odds and current form make him a no-play, but he should be paid close attention to in Friday's practices just in case his team finds speed.

The only driver we haven’t talked about that has a great shot Saturday night is Kyle Busch, who is the 6/1 co-favorite with Harvick. He won at least one race at Richmond for four straight seasons (2009-12) until finally getting slowed last season. But his 7.2 average finish is best among all active drivers. He finished ninth at Phoenix.

The driver that has the most upside because of his total performance, and finishing fourth at Phoenix, along with juicy 12/1 odds this week, is Logano. He had a career best third-place in this race last season, which was his first season with Penske Racing. The Penske cars have consistently been better than everyone else. They have been the most outstanding of all when considering fast qualifying and practices actually translating to the race. Look for Logano to be there with a chance to win in the final stages.

Top-5 Finish Prediction:

1) #22 Joey Logano (12/1)
2) #18 Kyle Busch (6/1)
3) #4 Kevin Harvick (6/1)
4) #2 Brad Keselowski (7/1)
5) #24 Jeff Gordon (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-906. Last Raced: New Chassis. Backup Chassis: PRS-853. Last Raced: Backup at multiple races.
#3-Austin Dillon: will pilot Chassis No. 433 in the Richmond 400 at Richmond International Raceway. The Gil Martin-led team raced this chassis to a 20th-place finish with driver Kevin Harvick at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in September 2013.
#4-Kevin Harvick: will pilot Chassis No. 4-868 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. Built new for 2014, Chassis 4-868 will see its first laps of competition this weekend.
#5-Kasey Kahne: Crew chief Kenny Francis will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-815 for Saturday night's event at Richmond. Kahne has driven this chassis four times -- thrice in 2013 and once so far in 2014. Notably, Kahne has raced this car in his last two outings at Phoenix International Raceway's one-mile oval. There, he recorded an average finish of 6.5.
#7-Michael Annett: chassis not reported on race preview.
#9-Marcos Ambrose: chassis not reported on race preview.
#14-Tony Stewart: Chassis No. 14-792: This car made its debut last April at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. It started 21st but Stewart wheeled it into the top-five prior to a greenwhite-checkered finish. There, Stewart was bumped out of the way in the two-lap scramble and instead of finishing fifth, he wound up a disappointing 18th. Chassis No. 14-792 was poised for another strong finish in its second career start when it rallied from its 16th-place starting spot to lead 84 laps in July at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. But while in second place on the final lap, Chassis No. 14-792 ran out of fuel. Stewart was forced to coast all the way around the 1.058-mile oval, which left him a disappointing 26th. With interim driver Mark Martin at the wheel, Chassis No. 14-792 returned to New Hampshire in September, qualifying 18th and finishing 23rd. Martin drove this car again at Phoenix International Raceway in November for the penultimate race of the 2013 season, qualifying 16th and finishing 15th. Chassis No. 14-792 returns to Richmond with Stewart back at the helm for its fifth career start and first of 2014.
#15-Clint Bowyer: Chassis No. 798 serves as the primary chassis for Bowyer at Richmond International Raceway. Bowyer drove this Toyota to a 13th-place finish at Phoenix and a 16th-place finish at Fontana. Chassis No. 795 serves as the back-up chassis. This chassis has never seen action on a race weekend but did test at the Michigan tire test a few weeks ago.
#16-Greg Biffle: Chassis RK-885 was a brand new chassis in Bristol, but never made it to the race. An accident in practice forced the team to race the backup car. Backup Chassis:RK-876 Last ran Phoenix - finished 17th
#17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Chassis RK-877 is the same chassis that the No.17 team ran at Phoenix International Raceway, finishing a respectable 18th. The backup Chassis RK-888 is the same chassis that the No. 17 team posted their best finish of the season with at Bristol.
#18-Kyle Busch: chassis not reported on race preview.
#20-Matt Kenseth: chassis not reported on race preview.
#22-Joey Logano: Primary Chassis: PRS-905. Last Raced: New Chassis. Backup Chassis: PRS-858. Last Raced: Backup at multiple races.
#24-Jeff Gordon: #24 crew chief Alan Gustafson has selected Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 24-816 for this Saturday night's race. This chassis was first raced at RIR in September 2013 when Gordon started first and led 49 laps en route to an eighth-place finish. It has been raced twice since with Gordon posting finishes of 14th (November 2013) and fifth (March 2014) at Phoenix International Raceway.
#27-Paul Menard: will pilot chassis No. 448 in the Richmond 400 at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday night. This No. 27 Chevrolet SS has been used once before this season at Phoenix International Raceway.
#31-Ryan Newman: will drive chassis No. 435 in Saturday night's Richmond 400. This No. 31 Chevrolet SS competed in last month's 500-lap race at Martinsville Speedway where Newman started 16th and finished 20th because of a mechanical issue.
#34-David Regan: chassis not reported on race preview.
#36-Reed Sorenson: chassis not reported on race preview
#38-David Gilliland: chassis not reported on race preview.
#41-Kurt Busch: will pilot Chassis No. 826 in Saturday's Richmond 400 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, a former No. 39 Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing. Built new for 2013, Chassis 826 started 17th and finished 10th last November in the Advocare 500k at Phoenix International Raceway. Busch also drove No. 826 at Phoenix in March, when he started 10th and finished 39th due to a mechanical issue.
#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. 48-832 for this weekend at Richmond. Johnson most recently drove this car to a sixth-place finish at Phoenix International Raceway in March. The backup car is Chassis No. 48-806, which Johnson most recently raced to a fourth-place result at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in September 2013.
#51-Justin Allgaier: chassis not reported on race preview.
#55-Brian Vickers: chassis not reported on race preview.
#78-Martin Truex Jr.: chassis not reported on race preview.
#88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.: This weekend, crew chief Steve Letarte will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-857. Earnhardt most recently raced this chassis to a second-place finish at Phoenix International Raceway in March.
#99-Carl Edwards: Primary chassis RK- was last run in 2014 at Bristol, finishing first. Backup chassis RK-874 was last run in 2014 at Phoenix as a primary, finishing eighth.

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Re: Toyota Owners 400 Betting News and Notes

Driver Handicaps: Richmond
By: Jeff Wackerlin
Racingone.com

Who's HOT at Richmond

• Kyle Busch leads all drivers in wins (4 - all in the spring race) and average finish (7.2).
• Carl Edwards finished in the top 10 in both races last season, including a win in the September race.
• Clint Bowyer, winner of this event in 2012, has combined to lead 273 laps in his last three starts.
• Kevin Harvick has recorded two wins in his last five starts.
• Jeff Gordon has finished eighth or better in six of the last 10 races.
• Denny Hamlin, a two-time winner, ranks second in average finish (9.0) in the last 10 races - missed this event last year due to injury.
• Tony Stewart has finished in the top 10 in four of his last five starts.

Who to Keep an Eye On at Richmond

• Kurt Busch (led 109 laps) and Matt Kenseth (led 145 laps) each finished in the top 10 in both races at Richmond last season.
• Three-time Richmond winner Jimmie Johnson is looking to turn around a three-race streak of finishes outside the top 10 at the track by driving the same car he finished sixth with at Phoenix International Raceway in March.
• Richard Petty Motorsports teammates Marcos Ambrose and Aric Almirola lead all drivers with respective average finishes of 5.0 and 5.5 in the two short-track races this season.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr's only top-10 finishes in his last 10 starts at Richmond have come in the last two spring races.
• Ryan Newman has posted a 9.8 average finish in the last five Richmond races.
• Kyle Larson, who will make his first Cup start at Richmond, has finished in the top 10 in four of the last five races of the season.
• Kasey Kahne, Paul Menard, Joey Logano and Greg Biffle each rank in the top 10 among all drivers in points scored on short tracks with the Gen-6 car.
• Along with his teammate Logano, Brad Keselowski - who led 142 laps last September at Richmond - will be driving a new Team Penske chassis in the Toyota Owners 400.

Tire Notes: Teams will run a new left- and right-side tire codes this weekend based off a test last October. The left will have a compound change to give the cars more grip while the right-side tires will use the multi-zone technology.

MRN.com Staff Picks

Jeff Wackerlin: Tony Stewart
Pete Pistone: Jeff Gordon
Dustin Long: Joey Logano
John Singler: Carl Edwards

Top 20 Driver Notes - Ordered by Current Standings

Jeff Gordon:
Leads all drivers with 16 top fives and 1,464 laps led at Richmond. Coming off his 26th top 10 after leading 49 laps from the pole last season at RIR. Gordon has both a 9.5 average finish in the last two races at Richmond and the first two short-track races of the 2014 season. This weekend, Gordon will return in the same car (chassis No. 816) that he raced last September at RIR and most recently at Phoenix International Raceway, where he finished fifth.

Matt Kenseth: The defending event pole winner has finished seventh or better in his last three Richmond starts, the last two coming with Joe Gibbs Racing. He was second among all drivers in laps led last season at Richmond with 145. So far in 2014, Kenseth has been the best driver on short tracks, posting a 9.5 average finish in the two races. Kenseth won the 2002 September race at Richmond for one of his 12 top 10s in 28 overall starts.

Carl Edwards: Coming off his first Richmond win after leading 46 laps from the 26th starting position last fall. The win marked his second consecutive top 10 - best track average finish (3.5) in 2013 - and 10th in 19 starts. Edwards, who has a 7.0 average finish in the two short-track races this year, will return in the same car he scored the win with at Bristol Motor Speedway last month.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.: His only top-10 finishes in his last 10 starts at Richmond with Hendrick Motorsports have come in the last two spring races - finishing second and 10th, respectively. The only time Earnhardt has led laps (67) in that 10-race span came in the 2012 September race, when he started from the pole. Earnhardt won three races at Richmond with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. ... the last one coming in this event in 2006. Hendrick Motorsports has prepared the same car (chassis No. 857) for this weekend that he finished second with at Phoenix International Raceway in March.

Jimmie Johnson: Equaled his worst finish at Richmond last September to raise his average finish to 17.3 in 24 starts. Johnson's last of eight top 10s (sixth) came in this event in 2012 and his last of three wins came in the 2008 September race. Johnson, who has a 10.5 average finish in the two short-track races in 2014, will return in the same car (chassis No. 832) that he last finished sixth with at Phoenix International Raceway in March.

Kyle Busch: His streak of four consecutive wins in the spring Richmond race came to an end last season with a 24th-place finish. Busch did lead 40 laps in that event to push his laps led total to 586 in the past five spring races. His average finish in the two races at RIR in 2013 was 21.5.

Brad Keselowski: Led for the first time in nine Richmond starts last September, showing the way for 142 laps en route to a 17th-place finish. Keselowski, who posted his only top 10s at RIR in both races in 2012, will debut a new car (chassis No. 906) with the Detroit Genuine Parts colors in the Toyota Owners 400.

Joey Logano: Recorded his best finish in 10 starts at Richmond last year in this event in his first track start with Team Penske. He's yet to lead a lap at RIR, but has led laps in the two short-track races this season - where he's posted a 12.0 average finish. This weekend, Logano will debut a new car (chassis No. 905).

Ryan Newman: Coming off his 14th top 10 in 24 starts at Richmond, a third-place finish. He's yet to finish worse than 15th in his last five starts, but his last top 10 in the spring race came in 2010 (eighth place). This weekend, Newman will make his first Richmond start with Richard Childress Racing in the same car (chassis No. 435) that he finished 20th with at Martinsville Speedway, where he had a mechanical issue.

Austin Dillon:
Will make his Richmond Cup debut in the same car (chassis No. 433) that Kevin Harvick finished 20th with at New Hampshire Motor Speedway last September.

Greg Biffle: His ninth-place finish in the 2012 September race at Richmond is his only top 10 in his last 14 starts there. This weekend, Biffle will return with the same chassis (No. 885) that was involved in a practice accident at Bristol Motor Speedway last month.

Tony Stewart: Has finished ninth or better in four of his last five starts at Richmond. He led 118 laps en route to a third-place finish in this event in 2012. Stewart, who has posted a 10.5 average finish in the two short-track races in 2014, will return in the same car (chassis No. 792) that he was running in the top five with last year in the spring Richmond race until a green-white-checkered finish left him 18th.

Brian Vickers: Finished 24th in his first Richmond start with Michael Waltrip Racing last September. He subbed for Denny Hamlin at Joe Gibbs Racing in last year's spring race, finishing 35th. Vickers' last of three top 10s in 16 overall starts at RIR came in the 2011 spring race, 10th with Red Bull Racing. This season, Vickers has posted a 12.5 average finish in the two short-track races.

Kyle Larson: Will be making his first Richmond Cup start in the Toyota Owners 400. He ran in two Nationwide races last season at RIR, finishing eighth and 14th. This season in the two short-track Cup races, Larson has posted an 18.5 average finish with his best coming at Bristol Motor Speedway, 10th place.

Denny Hamlin: Coming off his worst finish in his last 10 Richmond starts, 21st. He finished fourth in his last start in the spring race, in 2012, to mark his fourth consecutive top-10 finish dating back to his second win at RIR in the 2010 September race. Hamlin won the pole and finished sixth in the first short-track race of the season at Bristol and has a 12.5 average finish in the two races so far.

Clint Bowyer: Led 72 laps and finished 25th last September after a late spin that manipulated the race. The finish snapped his streak of three consecutive finishes of seventh or better. Following a win in the 2012 September race, Bowyer finished second in this event last year and led the most laps of any driver at RIR in 2013 with 185. Bowyer, who has recorded an average finish of 12.0 in the two short-track races this season, will return in the same car (chassis No. 798) that he last finished 16th with at Auto Club Speedway.

Marcos Ambrose: Leads all drivers with a 5.0 average finish on short tracks in 2014 and will look to use that to his advantage to turn around his Richmond record, where he's yet to finish in the top 10 in his last six starts. Ambrose's sponsor, Stanley, will donate $1 million to the Children's Miracle Network through the Ace Hardware Foundation if he can win this weekend.

Paul Menard:
Coming off his first top 10 in 14 starts at Richmond with a fifth-place finish. Menard, who finished 13th in this event last season, will return in the same car (chassis No. 448) that he finished 23rd with earlier this season at Phoenix International Raceway.

AJ Allmendinger: Finished 15th last September in his first Richmond start with JTG/Daugherty Racing. His last of two top 10s in 13 overall starts came in the 2011 spring race, seventh place.

Jamie McMurray:
Coming off his first top five in 22 starts at Richmond, fourth place. It marked his first top 10 in a Ganassi Racing Chevrolet and first since 2009, when he drove for Roush Fenway Racing.

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Re: Toyota Owners 400 Betting News and Notes

Toyota Owners 400 Post-Practice Betting Notes
By: Micah Roberts
Sportingnews.com

LAS VEGAS – Kyle Larson was fastest in the first of two Friday practice sessions at Richmond International Raceway in preparation for Saturday night’s Toyota Owners 400, and based on what we’ve seen so far this season – namely, two top-five finishes through eight races – there’s little reason to doubt that his quality practices won’t translate well to the race itself.

We like to compare Phoenix and Richmond because the similar setup requirements tend to produce similar results for drivers at each track. New Hampshire will be added to the mix once a race stops there in July. During the first weekend of March, Larson kind of snuck up on everyone in the second race of the season at Phoenix where he had top-three speeds in the final two practices sessions.

We said at the time that Larson had the look of possibly being someone that has the “it” factor where everyone just kind of knows they might be seeing the beginnings of what could be a great NASCAR career. With certain drivers, you just know right away something good is about to happen, and it’s usually found out within the first half of the season. You knew Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards were going to be good fairly early in their rookie years. Could Larson be the next in line?

Adding labels to a driver can sometimes be premature and unfair. Just ask Joey Logano, who had a bumpy early Cup career with Joe Gibbs Racing before finally living up to expectations when going to Penske Racing last season. Now Logano is in line to win a race on a weekly basis.

In that March Phoenix race, the great practices didn’t translate well to race day, as Larson finished 20th, the last driver on the lead lap. Bettors who were skeptical of Larson because of his youth were somewhat rewarded, assuming they didn't wager on him with odds to win or driver matchups.

But then we all became believers again when he battled with Kyle Busch at Fontana before settling for second. He was fifth two weeks later at Texas. And then, in perhaps his greatest achievement, he finished eighth at Darlington’s tough layout, where ‘The Lady in Black’ can be quite cruel to rookies. Now with Easter weekend off, here he is again fast in practice.

How about Larson’s chances Saturday night based on practices?

We understand he might have had some race jitters at Phoenix that could explain why such a good practice setup didn’t run as well on race day, but just about everyone else at Phoenix that practiced well had a great race, including race winner Harvick who was our top-rated driver. In fact, our top-four rated drivers after practice finished in the top four. The most disappointing drivers based on our post-practice ratings were Ganassi Racing teammates Jamie McMurray and Larson, which indicates there might be more of a team setup issue that Larson having jitters.

So, I guess you could say, we’re still in a wait-and-see approach with Larson, at least on these type of tracks, but it'll be a different story when more 1.5-mile tracks start lining up on the schedule. However, one eye will be attached to everything he does Saturday night, and because of his practice speeds, he’s still a driver that might deserve a little attention at the bet windows for a small flier that could pay big returns at 20-to-1 odds. It’s not 100-to-1 like at Phoneix, but we do know a lot more about him now and he is starting on the pole.

Why Logano as top candidate to win?

At Phoenix he led the second most laps, 71 of 312, before finishing fourth behind Harvick, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Brad Keselowski. He had a career-best third-place finish last spring in his first attempt at Richmond with Penske. And then in Friday’s final practice session, he came out blazing, with his first 10 laps that were quick enough for the best 10-consecutive laps average among the 31 drivers that ran as many in a row. Being fast on the longer runs is essential at Richmond, and while 10 laps is hardly a fuel run at Richmond, it’s a good sample size to help point wagerers in the right direction. For whatever it’s worth, Harvick had the fastest 10-consecutive lap average during the final Phoenix practices.

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Re: Toyota Owners 400 Betting News and Notes

NASCAR races under the Richmond lights Saturday
By: Brian Graham
StatFox.com

After a week off, the NASCAR circuit resumes in Virginia this weekend for the Toyota Owners 400. This Saturday night race at Richmond International Raceway will be the first of two Sprint Cup races at this track with the other coming up Sept. 6 leading into the Chase for the Cup. This short track is just ¾ miles long configured in a tri-oval shape. Completed in 1968, Richmond has 14° banking on the turns, 8° banking on the 1,290-foot frontstretch and a nearly-flat 2° banking on the 860-foot backstretch. Kyle Busch has won four of the past five spring races at this track, but Kevin Harvick took home the checkered flag last spring before Carl Edwards won the fall race.

Drivers to Watch

Clint Bowyer (15/1) -
If any driver is going to beat Kyle Busch to victory lane, it will be the 2012 fall champion, Clint Bowyer, who also won at this track in 2008, and has an average finish of 10.1 in 16 starts in Richmond. Bowyer has always excelled at short tracks with 12 top-5's and 28 top-10's in 50 career starts in these types of races, and he's also raced much better recently with a 9.7 average finish and 17 laps led in his past three starts. Bowyer is the driver with the most value on Saturday and is our pick to win this race.

Kyle Busch (6/1) - Busch has struggled in his past three starts at this track, placing 16th, 24th and 19th, but you can't forget what he did before that with 13 top-6 showings in a 15-race span, including four victories and four runner-ups. After struggling to a 17.0 average finish in his first four races this season, the M&M's sponsored car has been outstanding in the past four starts with a win at Fontana, a pole at Martinsville, a 3rd-place showing in Texas and a 6th-place finish last week. He won't make you a fortune with his small odds, but Busch is clearly the best chalk pick for Saturday night.

Greg Biffle (40/1) - If you're looking for a darkhorse, place a small wager on Biffle, whose odds have doubled from last spring at this track when he went off at 20-to-1. Although he has never won in Richmond, Biffle does have six top-10's, a pair of top-5 finishes, and has led for multiple laps in five different starts at this short track. Biffle has also turned his season around, shooting up from 20th to 11th in the points standings over the past three weeks thanks to back-to-back, top-6 finishes at Fort Worth and Darlington.

Kasey Kahne (15/1) - Kahne is another driver with much more favorable odds this spring compared to last (8-to-1), making him worthy of some attention. He has won this race in the past -- albeit back in 2005 -- but also has three other top-5 showings, the most recent of which occurred in 2012. In his 62 career starts on short tracks, Kahne has knocked out a dozen top-5 finishes and 21 top-10 showings. He's also desperate to climb back up the points standings after last week's crash at Darlington.

Martin Truex Jr. (75/1) - The best longshot on the board for Saturday night is Truex Jr., who garnered much less favorable 20-to-1 odds last spring in Richmond. Truex has either started or finished in the top-10 in each of his past four races at this track, including a 7th-place showing last fall. He has five career top-5's on short tracks, and he's due for a breakout race in what has been a disappointing season so far, with his best finish being a 14th-place showing in Las Vegas. Don't bet more than one unit, but if you have money to spare and are looking for the big payday, Truex Jr. should race near the front of the pack and give himself a chance at victory.

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