5-hour ENERGY 400 Betting News and Notes

5-hour ENERGY 400 Betting News and Notes

Kansas Speedway Data

Season Race #: 11 of 36 (05-10-14)
Track Size: 1.5-miles
Banking/Turn 1 & 2: 17 to 20 degrees
Banking/Turn 3 & 4: 17 to 20 degrees
Banking/Frontstretch: 10 degrees
Banking/Backstretch: 5 degrees
Frontstretch Length: 2,685 feet
Backstretch Length: 2,207 feet
Race Length: 267 laps / 400 miles

Top 10 Driver Ratings at Kansas

Jimmie Johnson.118.9
Matt Kenseth.109.6
Greg Biffle.106.9
Jeff Gordon.99.6
Tony Stewart.97.5
Carl Edwards. 96.6
Kevin Harvick.95.9
Martin Truex Jr. 91.5
Kasey Kahne.91.1
Clint Bowyer.  90.1

Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2013 races (12 total) among active drivers at Kansas Speedway.

Qualifying/Race Data


2013 pole winner:

Matt Kenseth, Toyota
191.864 mph, 28.145 secs. 04-21-13

2013 race winner:
Matt Kenseth, Toyota
133.611 mph, (02:59:51), 04-21-13

Track qualifying record:
Matt Kenseth, Toyota
191.864 mph, 28.145 secs. 04-19-13

Track race record:
Denny Hamlin, Toyota
133.611 mph, (02:59:51), 04-22-12

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Re: 5-hour ENERGY 400 Betting News and Notes

Kansas Driver Tale of the Tape


Greg Biffle (No. 16 3M Novec Ford)


· Two wins, seven top fives, nine top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 10.3
· Average Running Position of 9.1, second-best
· Driver Rating of 106.9, third-best
· 205 Fastest Laps Run, third-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 165.911 mph, fourth-fastest
· 2,574 Laps in the Top 15 (81.7%), third-most
· 472 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green), third-most

Clint Bowyer (No. 15 Cherry 5-Hour ENERGY for Special Ops Warrior Foundation Toyota)

· Two top fives, five top 10s
· Average finish of 13.2
· Driver Rating of 90.1, 10th-best

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

· One top five, seven top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 15.9
· Driver Rating of 89.9, 11th-best
· 773 Green Flag Passes, ninth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 165.549 mph, ninth-fastest
· 1,738 Laps in the Top 15 (60.2%), 12th-most
· 366 Quality Passes, 12th-most

Carl Edwards (No. 99 Aflac Ford)


· Five top fives, nine top 10s
· Average finish of 10.8
· Average Running Position of 12.3, seventh-best
· Driver Rating of 96.6, sixth-best
· 125 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-most
· 820 Green Flag Passes, seventh-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 165.678 mph, fifth-fastest
· 2,166 Laps in the Top 15 (68.7%), sixth-most
· 457 Quality Passes, fourth-most

Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Axalta Coatings Chevrolet)

· Two wins, nine top fives, 11 top 10s
· Average finish of 10.6
· Average Running Position of 9.8, fourth-best
· Driver Rating of 99.6, fourth-best
· 109 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-most
· 735 Green Flag Passes, 12th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 165.943 mph, third-fastest
· 2,669 Laps in the Top 15 (84.7%), second-most
· 474 Quality Passes, second-most

Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota)

· One win, three top fives, three top 10s
· Average finish of 14.8
· Average Running Position of 14.1, 11th-best
· Driver Rating of 89.2, 12th-best
· 69 Fastest Laps Run, 12th-most
· 1,942 Laps in the Top 15 (67.3%), ninth-most
· 378 Quality Passes, 11th-most

Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Jimmy John's Chevrolet)

· One win, two top fives, seven top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 12.1
· Average Running Position of 12.2, sixth-best
· Driver Rating of 95.9, seventh-best
· 140 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most
· Series-high 900 Green Flag Passes
· Average Green Flag Speed of 165.653 mph, sixth-fastest
· 2,208 Laps in the Top 15 (70.1%), fifth-most
· 424 Quality Passes, fifth-most

Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet)

· Two wins, six top fives, 13 top 10s; three poles
· Average finish of 7.5
· Series-best Average Running Position of 7.4
· Series-best Driver Rating of 118.9
· Series-high 470 Fastest Laps Run
· 853 Green Flag Passes, fifth-most
· Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 166.603 mph
· Series-high 2,812 Laps in the Top 15 (89.2%)
· Series-high 566 Quality Passes

Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Farmers Insurance/Thankamillionteachers.com Chevrolet)


· Three top fives, six top 10s; three poles
· Average finish of 14.0
· Average Running Position of 14.0, 10th-best
· Driver Rating of 91.1, ninth-best
· 133 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-most
· 856 Green Flag Passes, fourth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 165.547 mph, 10th-fastest
· 1,990 Laps in the Top 15 (63.1%), seventh-most
· 397 Quality Passes, eighth-most

Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Dollar General Toyota)

· Two wins, six top fives, nine top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 14.6
· Average Running Position of 9.6, third-best
· Driver Rating of 109.6, second-best
· 232 Fastest Laps Run, second-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 165.946 mph, second-fastest
· 2,564 Laps in the Top 15 (81.3%), fourth-most
· 400 Quality Passes, seventh-most

Tony Stewart (No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet)

· Two wins, six top fives, nine top 10s
· Average finish of 12.3
· Average Running Position of 11.3, fifth-best
· Driver Rating of 97.5, fifth-best
· 137 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 165.625 mph, eighth-fastest
· 1,984 Laps in the Top 15 (68.8%), eighth-most
· 401 Quality Passes, sixth-most

Martin Truex Jr. (No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet)

· Three top fives, three top 10s
· Average finish of 19.2
· Average Running Position of 13.8, eighth-best
· Driver Rating of 91.5, eighth-best
· 131 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 165.627 mph, seventh-fastest
· 1,791 Laps in the Top 15 (62.1%), 11th-most

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Re: 5-hour ENERGY 400 Betting News and Notes

5-hour ENERGY 400 Preview
By Micah Roberts
VegasInsider.com

The 11th race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup season takes us to Kansas Speedway for the third of 11 tracks with a 1.5-mile layout. We’ve already seen Las Vegas and Texas this season, and although the banking is much steeper at those two, we can apply what we saw there to this weeks event. For good measure, you can also take a quick glance at what happened at Fontana’s 2-mile layout on Mar. 23. 

The chances are pretty good that best drivers from Las Vegas and Texas will find their way to the front quickly at Kansas. Last season it was Matt Kenseth winning at Las Vegas and then taking the Kansas checkers six weeks later and he would go on to win twice more on 1.5-mile tracks before the year was up. It was clear that both he and his teammates, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin, were a notch above everyone else combining to win in seven of the 11 races I like to group together. Busch also won at Fontana two weeks after Vegas.

From what we have so far this season, it appears that the team with a slight edge over everyone else is the Penske Racing duo of Joey Logano, who won at Texas, and Brad Keselowski who won at Las Vegas. And then we have Busch who won at Fontana again, which should give us a great starting point to figure out who has the best chances of winning Saturday night. However, Busch does not have a top-5 Kansas finish in 13 career starts.

Somehow, Busch has been able to obtain great speeds on these type of track while his Joe Gibbs teammates haven’t fared so well. The drop-off with Kenseth compared to last season is quite significant, and while Hamlin -- last week’s Talladega winner -- has fought hard for respectable finishes, he hasn’t had a car capable of winning on these tracks. The good news for Kenseth is that he always runs well at Kansas, whether with Roush Racing who he won with in 2012, or with Joe Gibbs. 

Just like Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson is still searching for his first win of 2014. He’s the all-time leader at Kansas with a 7.5 average finish in 15 starts. No one else has averaged a finish better than 10th. He’s finished in the top-10 over his last 10 starts there, including wins in 2008 and 2011. The bad news for Johnson and his team is that they haven’t found their rhythm yet. No top-5s at Las Vegas, Texas or Fontana.

Surprisingly, for the first time since Jeff Gordon brought Johnson in to drive the No. 48 for Hendrick Motorsports in 2002, Gordon actually looks to have the better and more consistent car. Gordon has yet to win this season, but does lead the series in points and is tied with Kenseth for the most top-10 finishes (7). Gordon won the first two Kansas races held (2001-02) and he finished third last fall. If we're using the April Texas race as a barometer, Gordon probably had the best car that day.   

Then you have that goofy wild card of Kevin Harvick, winner of the Kansas race last fall. It’s all or nothing with Harvick who has won twice already this season, and it makes him tough to wager on. You know he’s going to be fast because of Las Vegas testing where he dazzled everyone, and if he keeps his car on the track, he has as good a chance anyone to win. But then, the ‘keeping his car on the track’ part looms large. Best advice is to keep a close eye on him during practice. If he’s super-fast on Friday, like he should be, then you’ll have to weigh out your betting options.

The one driver at high odds that has a legitimate shot at winning is Kyle Larson at around 25/1 odds (Bet $100 to win $2,500). He’s been so close already with two top-5 finishes (Texas and Fontana) and if he does win this season, it will be on this type of track.

Top-5 Finish Prediction:

1) #24 Jeff Gordon (10/1)
2) #2 Brad Keselowski (8/1)
3) #22 Joey Logano (7/1)
4) #48 Jimmie Johnson (7/1)
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-908. Last Raced: New Chassis. Backup Chassis: PRS-840. Last Raced: Darlington backup
#3-Austin Dillon: will pilot Chassis No. 457 in the Kansas 400 at Kansas Speedway. This is the same Chevrolet SS Dillon drove to an 11th-place finish at Auto Club Speedway in March.
#4-Kevin Harvick: will pilot Chassis No. 4-842 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. Chassis No. 4-842 debuted at Phoenix International Raceway in March, when Harvick led 224 of 312 laps en route to earning his first win of the 2014 season. Kansas Speedway marks the first time the #4 team will bring a previously raced chassis to the racetrack.
#5-Kasey Kahne: Crew chief Kenny Francis will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-870 for Saturday night's event at Kansas. This is a new chassis that Kahne and the No. 5 team first used during the Kansas Goodyear tire test in April.
#7-Michael Annett: chassis not reported on race preview.
#9-Marcos Ambrose: chassis not reported on race preview.
#10-Danica Patrick: Chassis No. 10-805 was used for the first time in July at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where Patrick started 33rd and finished 30th. It was then used in September at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., where Patrick started 23rd and finished 20th, and in October at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, where Patrick started 35th and finished 20th. The last time it was used was in November at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, where she started 30th and finished 25th. Since then, it has served as a backup car in 2014 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and then was regulated to the primary car at Bristol, where she started 36th and finished 18th.
#12-Ryan Blaney: Primary Chassis: PRS-866. Last Raced Phoenix (as #22 car)
#14-Tony Stewart: Chassis No. 14-735: This car debuted in the 2012 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway where Tony Stewart qualified 28th and rallied to score a top-10 finish. Chassis No. 14-735 made its second career start in October 2012 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. It was impressive as Stewart used it to overcome a 33rd-place starting spot, a botched pit stop, an incident with Jeff Burton and a lap-166 spin to finish fifth. The car made its third career start in the 2012 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. There, it rallied to a top-20 finish after starting 35th and dealing with handling issues throughout the 267-lap race. Stewart's milestone 500th career Sprint Cup start also came at Homestead in Chassis No. 14-735. With 2013 Chevrolet SS bodywork covering it, Chassis No. 14-735 returned to action in May for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. It rallied again, coming from 25th in the field to lead six laps before finishing seventh. The car's fifth career start and second of 2013 was slated to come in June at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, but a crash in the opening minutes of the weekend's first practice session sidelined the car. Rebuilt, Chassis No. 14-735 returned to Michigan in August with interim driver Austin Dillon, qualifying 27th and finishing 14th. The car has sat idle since, with this weekend's race at Kansas marking Chassis No. 14-735's first start of 2014 and sixth overall.
#15-Clint Bowyer: chassis not reported on race preview.
#16-Greg Biffle: Chassis RK-896 was brand new earlier this season at Texas Motor Speedway, in which Biffle qualified fourth and finished sixth. Backup Chassis: RK-879 Last ran Las Vegas - finished 22nd
#17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Chassis RK-882 is the same chassis that the No.17 team ran at Las Vegas finishing 27th after a costly pit-road speeding penalty.
#18-Kyle Busch: chassis not reported on race preview.
#20-Matt Kenseth: chassis not reported on race preview
#22-Joey Logano: Primary Chassis: PRS-907. Last Raced: New Chassis. Backup Chassis: PRS-844. Last Raced: Darlington backup.
#24-Jeff Gordon: Crew chief Alan Gustafson has selected Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 24-869 for this Saturday night's race. This chassis is new and has not been raced previously.
#27-Paul Menard: will pilot chassis No. 466 in the Kansas 400 at Kansas Speedway. This No. 27 Chevrolet SS is a new addition to the Richard Childress Racing stable in 2014 being utilized for the first time.
#31-Ryan Newman: will drive chassis No. 462 on Saturday at Kansas Speedway. Chassis No. 462 was utilized by Newman at Auto Club Speedway this year producing a qualifying effort of 16th and a finish of 20th in March. The No. 31 team also used it in the April 9 Goodyear Tire Test at Michigan International Speedway.
#34-David Regan: chassis not reported on race preview.
#38-David Gilliland: chassis not reported on race preview.
#41-Kurt Busch: will pilot Chassis No. 760 in Saturday night's Kansas 400 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, a former No. 39 Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing. Chassis No. 760 last raced at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn in June 2013, when driver Ryan Newman started 35th and finished 18th. Newman also raced No. 760 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2013.
#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. 48-799 for this weekend at Kansas. Johnson last drove this car to qualify third and lead 104 laps before encountering a late-race tire issue and finished 24th at Fontana, California. The backup car is Chassis No. 48-728, which Johnson most recently raced at Bristol (Tennessee) Motor Speedway.
#51-Justin Allgaier: chassis not reported on race preview.
#55-Brian Vickers: Primary: 805 finished ninth at Bristol. Backup: 801 has not raced.
#78-Martin Truex Jr.: chassis not reported on race preview.
#88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.: This weekend at Kansas, crew chief Steve Letarte and the No. 88 crew will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-877. This is a brand new chassis that has not been raced.
#99-Carl Edwards: Primary chassis RK-897 was last run in 2014 at Texas starting from the fifth-position and finishing in 14th. Backup Chassis: RK-880

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Re: 5-hour ENERGY 400 Betting News and Notes

Drivers to Watch - Kansas
By Sportsbook.ag

The NASCAR field makes its first of two appearances at Kansas Speedway on Saturday night for the 5-Hour Energy 400 Benefiting Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

This will be only the 17th NASCAR race all-time at Kansas, but there have already been five drivers with multiple victories at this track -- Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth, who won this STP 400 race last spring. The most recent winner was Kevin Harvick last October.

Kansas Speedway is an intermediate track, completed in 2001, that measures exactly 1.5 miles. Built as a D-shaped oval, this track features 15° banking on the turns, 10.4° banking on the 2,685-foot frontstretch and a much flatter 5° banking on the 2,207-foot backstretch.

Drivers to Watch

Jimmie Johnson (6/1) -
Of all the chalk this week, Johnson stands out amongst the crowd. He should always be considered a favorite on an intermediate track, and by the way Johnson has been driving so far this season with top-6 finishes in half of his 10 races, he's worthy of action even with this low number to play on. Johnson has dominated the field in his past 10 races in Kansas, winning twice (2008 and 2011), while finishing no worse than 9th in the other eight starts at this venue (2nd, 3rd, 3rd, 3rd, 6th, 7th, 9th and 9th). This gives Johnson a stellar career average finish of 7.5 at Kansas, which makes him the lone active driver under 10. He also has the most laps led (562) at this track among active drivers. Put your highest wager on Johnson on Saturday, as he is our pick to become the first three-time winner at Kansas Speedway.
   
Carl Edwards (20/1) - Considering his Kansas odds were 8-to-1 last spring and he holds the fifth-best average finish at this track (10.8), Edwards' odds are very favorable for Saturday's race. He hasn't won at this venue yet, but Edwards has led this race eight different times in his 13 starts, and has managed to record five top-5's and nine top-10's at Kansas Speedway. And even with his crash at Talladega last weekend, Edwards is still fourth in the current points standings thanks to an average finish of 12.0 with five top-10's and a win in Bristol. As the best value on the board Saturday, place a sizable wager on the No. 99 car.

Brad Keselowski (8/1) - Although his odds aren't great for this race, consider that Keselowski ranks second among active drivers with a 10.2 average finish at Kansas. He placed 1st, 3rd, 11th, 8th and 6th in a stretch of five starts at this venue before he faded to a finish of 17th last year despite leading the race for 52 laps. Add in the fact that Keselowski has already had four top-4 showings this season, and has led in nine of the 10 races in 2014 (Martinsville was the only exception), and this is a driver who should be higher than 11th in the current points standings. Don’t forget about the No. 2 car when placing your bets for Saturday's race.

Martin Truex Jr. (60/1) -
The best longshot on the board for Saturday is Truex, who went off at 15-to-1 at this race last spring. Before his lackluster finish of 19th last fall, Truex had reeled off three straight top-4's at Kansas, with a pair of runner-ups in 2012 before coming in fourth last spring. Of his 11 starts at this venue, five times he has led for multiple laps. And while his 2014 season has been terrible (23.1 average finish, 26th in standings), Truex has shown signs of improvement in his past two starts with a 10th-place showing in Richmond and then finishing 17th at Talladega last week, which wasn't bad considering he started 43rd.

Greg Biffle (20/1) - He went off last spring at this venue at 6-to-1, and even though he finished a disappointing 13th in that race, Biffle still has a 10.3 average finish at this track, which places him third among active drivers. He has finished in the top-3 in 40 percent of his Kansas starts (6-of-15), including victories in 2007 and 2010. And after a slow start to the season, he's been red-hot lately with three top-6 showings in his past four starts, which includes last week's runner-up at Talladega. At 20-to-1, Biffle is certainly worthy of at least a one-unit wager.


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Re: 5-hour ENERGY 400 Betting News and Notes

Driver Handicaps: Kansas
By: Jeff Wackerlin
Racingone.com

MRN.com's detailed notes and statistics to help you set your fantasy racing lineup for Saturday night's 5-Hour Energy 400 at Kansas Speedway.

Who's HOT at Kansas

• Matt Kenseth has won two races and has led the most laps (262) in the three races since the track was reconfigured.
• Jimmie Johnson has finished ninth or better in the last 10 races, including two wins.
• Kevin Harvick, who will make his first track start with Stewart-Haas Racing, won last fall after leading 138 laps.
• Paul Menard and Kasey Kahne have average finishes of 6.7 and 7.0 since the track was reconfigured.
• Jeff Gordon, a two-time winner on the old configuration, has finished in the top 10 in two of his last three starts, including a third-place run last fall.
• Brad Keselowski has finished in the top 10 in four of his last six starts, including a win in the 2011 spring race.

Who to Keep an Eye On at Kansas
• Joey Logano, who finished fourth last fall at Kansas, is the latest winner on a 1.5-mile track (Texas Motor Speedway).
• Kyle Busch hasn't had much luck at Kansas, but has led 62 laps and posted a 7.0 average finish in the two races at 1.5-mile tracks this season.
• Brian Vickers (fourth) and rookie Kyle Larson (fifth) are coming off top-five finishes at the last 1.5-mile track.
• Tony Stewart, a two-time Kansas winner, is third among all drivers in laps led in the two races on 1.5-mile tracks in 2014.
• Clint Bowyer (8.3), Martin Truex Jr. (8.3), Carl Edwards (12.0) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (12.0) each rank in the top 10 in average finish in the three races since Kansas was reconfigured.
• Aric Almirola finished in the top 10 in both races last season at Kansas.
• Denny Hamlin, winner of this event in 2012, was among the drivers that participated in the Goodyear Tire test at Kansas last month.
• Greg Biffle, a two-time winner at Kansas, will be looking to score his first top 10 since Kansas was reconfigured in the same car he finished sixth with at Texas.

Tire Notes: Teams will be running the same left-side tire that they ran last October at Kansas, but the right side will be new and feature a change to the traction zone part of the multi-zone tire that was run last fall at the track. Many teams - one from each organization invited - participated in the tire test last month.

Qualifying Facts - Note: First at the Track under new "Knockout" Format

MRN.com Staff Picks

Jeff Wackerlin: Brad Keselowski
Pete Pistone: Jimmie Johnson
Dustin Long: Jimmie Johnson
John Singler: Clint Bowyer

Top 20 Driver Notes - Ordered by Current Standings

Jeff Gordon: Coming off his 11th top 10 in 16 starts at Kansas Speedway. His two wins there came in the first two races at the track and his third-place finish last fall was his second top 10 in the three races since the track was reconfigured. This season, Gordon has posted the second-best average finish (5.5) along with 40 laps led in the two races held at 1.5-mile tracks. This weekend, he will drive a new chassis (No. 869) in the 5-hour ENERGY 400 Benefitting Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

Matt Kenseth: His two wins at Kansas have come in two of the last three races since the track was reconfigured. His average finish of 4.3 leads all drivers in that span. Last year in this event, Kenseth led 163 laps en route to the win from the pole in his first track start with Joe Gibbs Racing. This season, he's posted an 8.5 average finish in the two races held at 1.5-mile tracks.

Kyle Busch: Will be looking to turn around his luck at Kansas Speedway. It's his worst track on the schedule based on average finish (23.3) and he's yet to place inside the top 30 since the track was reconfigured, crashing out of all three races. Busch does have the fourth-best average finish (7.0) along with 62 laps led in the two races held at 1.5-mile tracks this season.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Coming off his seventh top 10 in 15 starts at Kansas Speedway. His eighth-place finish last fall was his second top 10 in the three races since the track was reconfigured. Earnhardt, who has led 51 laps in the two races held at 1.5-mile tracks this season, will drive a new chassis (No. 877) in the 5-hour ENERGY 400.

Carl Edwards: Coming off his ninth top 10 (fifth) at Kansas and first in the three races since the track was reconfigured. He's posted a 9.5 average finish in the two races held on 1.5-mile tracks this season. This weekend, Edwards will be driving the same car (chassis No. 897) that he finished 14th with in Texas.

Joey Logano: Recorded his first top 10 in nine starts at Kansas Speedway last fall after leading 33 laps in his second track start with Team Penske. Logano is the latest winner on a 1.5-mile track (Texas Motor Speedway), giving him the best average finish (2.5) in the two races held on intermediate ovals this season. This weekend, Logano will drive a new car (chassis No. 907) in the 5-hour ENERGY 400.

Jimmie Johnson: Has finished in the top 10 in his last 10 starts at Kansas, including two wins. He ranks second among all drivers in average finish (6.0) in the three races since the track was reconfigured. This weekend, Johnson will return in the same car (chassis No. 799) that he led 104 laps with at Auto Club Speedway before a tire issue late in the race.

Greg Biffle: Is a two-time winner at Kansas Speedway but has yet to finish in the top 10 in the three races since the track was reconfigured. His last top 10 (fifth) came in the 2012 spring race, amid a streak of seven consecutive top 10s. This weekend, Biffle will return in the same car (chassis No. 896) that he finished sixth with in Texas.

Ryan Newman: Has yet to finish in the top 10 in his last six starts in Kansas City. This weekend, he will make his 17th start at Kansas with a third different team - Richard Childress Racing. Newman won at the track in 2003 with Team Penske. This season, he's posted an average finish of 11.5 in the two races held at 1.5-mile tracks. He will return in the same car (chassis No. 462) that he finished 20th with at Auto Club Speedway and used in a Goodyear Tire test at Michigan International Speedway.

Brian Vickers: Has a 20.9 average finish in nine starts at Kansas Speedway with his lone top 10 coming on 2006 with Hendrick Motorsports. He finished 32nd last fall after a crash in his first track start with Michael Waltrip Racing. Vickers did participate in the Goodyear Tire test last month at Kansas and has a solid average finish (8.5) so far in the two races held at 1.5-mile tracks this season. This weekend, Vickers will return in the same car (chassis No. 805) that he finished ninth with at Bristol.

Brad Keselowski: Won the 2011 spring race for his first of four top 10s in eight Kansas starts. He's finished in the top 10 and led 52 laps in the three races since the track was reconfigured. Keselowski ranks fifth in average finish (8.0) and second in laps led (138) this season in the two races held at 1.5-mile tracks starting at Las Vegas, where he won. He participated in the Goodyear Tire test last month at Kansas Speedway and will debut a new car (chassis No. 908) in the 5-hour ENERGY 400.

Denny Hamlin: Won the last race on Kansas' old configuration in 2012 but has yet to finish in the top 10 since then. He missed this event last year due to injury. Last month, Hamlin did participate in the Goodyear Tire test on the Kansas City oval.

Kyle Larson: Will make his Kansas Cup debut in the 5-hour ENERGY 400. He's posted a 12.0 average finish in the two races held at 1.5-mile tracks this season and is coming off a fifth-place finish In Texas. Last month, Larson also participated in the Goodyear Tire test at Kansas Speedway.

Austin Dillon: Has one previous start in the Cup Series at Kansas, finishing 26th in 2011. Since taking the reins of the No. 3 Chevrolet, he's posted an 18.5 average finish in the two races held at 1.5-mile tracks. Dillon participated in the Goodyear Tire test last month at Kansas and will return in the same car (chassis No. 457) that he finished 11th with at Auto Club Speedway.

AJ Allmendinger: Does have two top 10s at Kansas but has yet to finish inside the top 15 in two of his starts on the new track configuration. Allmendinger has posted consecutive top-six finishes on the season and will look to carry that momentum to improve his 20.5 average finish at 1.5-mile tracks this year.

Marcos Ambrose: Coming off his second top 10 in nine starts at Kansas Speedway. His ninth-place finish last fall helped lower his average finish to 13.7 in three races since the track was reconfigured.

Paul Menard:
Kansas is Menard's best track on the schedule based on his average finish of 16.1. He has yet to place outside the top 10 in the three races since the track was reconfigured to give him the third-best average finish (6.0) in that span. He also ranks third in average finish (6.0) in the two races held at 1.5-mile tracks this season. This weekend, Menard will debut a new chassis (No. 466) in the 5-hour ENERGY 400.

Clint Bowyer: Has posted a 13.2 average finish in 11 starts at Kansas Speedway. He heads to his home track fresh off a new contract extension. He's finished sixth or better in two of the three races since the track was reconfigured and has an 8.3 average finish in that span. This weekend, Bowyer will drive the same car (chassis No. 809) that he used in a Goodyear Tire test at Michigan International Speedway.

Kevin Harvick: Coming off his first win at Kansas after leading 138 laps in his final track start with Richard Childress Racing last fall. This weekend, he'll make his first track start with Stewart-Haas Racing after participating in the Goodyear Tire test at Kansas Speedway last month. Harvick does have the worst average finish (41.5) at the two 1.5-mile tracks this season but was running well until issues took him out of contention in both races. This weekend, Harvick will return in the same car (chassis No. 842) that he led 224 laps in en route to the win at Phoenix International Raceway.

Kasey Kahne: His 15th-place finish last fall snapped a streak of four consecutive top 10s in Kansas. He finished second in this race last year for his second top five since the track was reconfigured. Kahne has posted a 9.5 average finish in the two races at 1.5-mile tracks this season. This weekend, he's in the same car (chassis No. 870) that he drove in the Goodyear Tire test at Kansas Speedway.

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Re: 5-hour ENERGY 400 Betting News and Notes

5-hour ENERGY 400 Post-Practice Betting Notes
By: Micah Roberts
Sportingnews.com

LAS VEGAS – Clint Bowyer’s third-place finish at Talladega last week was his first top-five of the season, and apparently he’s looking to better that mark this week at Kansas Speedway, where the home cooking has helped give his team their best practice sessions of the year.

In Friday’s first practice session, the Emporia, KS, native laid down the third-fastest lap (188.528 mph) on the 32nd of his 50 laps run, a session that most teams used a mock-race setup. In the second and final practice, mostly used in qualifying trim, he was second fastest.

Bowyer had the fastest lap during happy hour until the final minute of the 50-minute session when Tony Stewart topped the charts at 192.809 mph. It’s a good sign for Stewart, who is still searching for his first win of the season. He‘s looked uneasy at times while recovering from last season's broken leg, but being fast can help mend the mental aspects of injuries a little better.

But the main story from Friday was Bowyer, and it helps that Kansas is his home track and that Saturday night‘s race sponsor is 5-Hour Energy, who also happens to sponsor Bowyer’s car. His best finish there was second place in 2007, and he was fifth in this race last season. But it’s been a struggle for him this year, not just on the two 1.5-mile tracks and 2-mile layout at Fontana -- tracks that are not only relevant to Kansas, but everywhere. His teammate, Brian Vickers, has had quality finishes all season long, but Bowyer has been out of character at tracks he typically does well at.

The one positive the No. 15 Toyota had before Talladega last week was an eighth-place finish in April at Texas, a track that correlates well to the flatter Kansas layout. Vickers finished fourth at Texas and was seventh fastest in Friday’s final practice, an indication that the Michael Waltrip Racing stable might have something for the Penske Ford’s that have won both 1.5-mile races this season.

If Bowyer had more on his resume this season besides the quality Texas finish and restrictor-plate finish at Talladega, he would have been rated higher than No. 4 in our Driver Ratings. The drivers ahead of him are Kevin Harvick, Jeff Gordon and Joey Logano. In Harvick and Logano’s case, they each have two wins on the season and proved they can close races out. In Gordon’s case, he’s been good every week and leads the series in points and seven top-10 finishes. Gordon finished second to Logano at Texas.

Gordon hasn't shown he can close out a race this season. He could have probably had two wins if he was of a nastier nature, but at least he has a car and team that has him position to be fighting for wins. Bowyer hasn’t had that this year -- yet. At 20-to-1 odds, Bowyer would certainly be attractive to take a shot with and gamble to see if his practices translate over to race day.

Kyle Larson has been fast on every down-force track practice this season and did it again Friday with the fastest lap during the first practice session. It didn’t translate well to race day at Las Vegas, but he grabbed a second-place finish at Fontana and fifth at Texas. Larson was also fourth fastest in qualifying trim during the final session. Larson had 20-to-1 odds before the practices, but those odds will be hard to find now, as it’s quite obvious that he’s knocking on the door for his first career win.

Despite the poor finishes by Harvick at Las Vegas (41st) and Texas (42nd), he still tops our list as the driver to beat because we know he’s going to be fast. If he has the chance to win with the weekly ‘swing for the fences’ approach now that he has two wins, he would wreck his Mom to get the checkers (maybe not on this particular special weekend for Mom). You get the idea. He’s a badass. Plus, he’s using his winning Phoenix chassis this week which should boost his confidence.

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum is Jeff Gordon’s consistency, which makes him a strong threat to win. The best car this season for Hendrick Motorsports has been Gordon’s No. 24. When’s the last time we have been able to say that during a season? Certainly not since Gordon brought Jimmie Johnson in to drive the No. 48.

Keep a close eye on Johnson this week to see how he fares, and use it for the Charlotte events over the next two weeks. He’s on a run at Kansas of 10 straight finishes of ninth or better, including two wins. If there is a track he’s capable of bouncing back on, Kansas would be it. He’s using a chassis this week that led 104 laps at Fontana before a tire issue caused him to finish 24th.

Look for Gordon and Harvick to be battling for the win with Logano not far behind. The best candidates with longer odds to win are Bowyer, Larson and two-time Kansas winner Greg Biffle. The Richard Petty cars also look to have a little zip in them and might be good wagers for driver matchups. As for the Joe Gibbs cars that dominated the 2013 season on 1.5-mile tracks, they don't look so good. In fact, that's sugarcoating it -- they look terrible.

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Re: 5-hour ENERGY 400 Betting News and Notes

2014 NASCAR 5-Hour ENERGY 400: Three Drivers to Watch   
By Jay Dotson      

KANSAS CITY, KS (The Spread) - The Sprint Cup continues Saturday in Kansas for the 5-Hour ENERGY 400 set to go at 7:30PM ET.  Here are three drivers to watch.

View Jay Dotson's Expert Picks

Tony Stewart AKA "Smoke" qualified in the 8th spot and is looking to end his winless drought.  Stewart has had plenty of success here with 2 wins, 6 top fives, and 9 top 10-finishes.  Stewart's average finish is right at 12 on this track and is coming in at +1800 this week, which is great value.  He's also been relatively quiet so far this season, and is way overdue for a win.

Joey Logano is set to start in the 2nd spot Saturday night and is having a banner season so far.  He already has 2 wins under his belt this season and could pick up his third here.  Logano is coming in at +1100 this week and can't be passed up.  Logano picked up a win in Texas which is also a 1.5-mile track, and this plays into Logano's wheelhouse.  Look for him to make plenty of noise.

Ryan Newman is set to start in the 7th position and at +4000 odds is worth a shot Saturday night.  He has 3 career wins on 1.5 mile tracks, including a win here at Kansas.  Newman has a little extra motivation this season to prove his team owner right in picking him up.  He's a veteran driver and with his good starting position, should make it interesting throughout the race.


For More of The Best Expert Picks and Analysis Check Out All The Handicappers at TheSpread Insiders!

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