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John Wayne Walding 400 Betting News and Notes

John Wayne Walding 400 Betting News and Notes

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Data

Season Race #: 20 of 36 (07-27-14)
Track Size: 2.5-miles
Banking/Turns 1 & 2: 9 degrees
Banking/Turns 3 & 4: 9 degrees
Banking/Straights: 0 degrees
Frontstretch Length: 3,330 feet
Backstretch Length: 3,300 feet
Race Length: 160 laps / 400 miles

Top 10 Driver Ratings at Indianapolis

Jimmie Johnson 109.8
Tony Stewart 104.1
Jeff Gordon 102.0
Juan Pablo Montoya 96.7
Kyle Busch 96.5
Kasey Kahne 96.4
Matt Kenseth 95.8
Greg Biffle 94.6
Kevin Harvick. 90.2
Denny Hamlin 88.3

Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2013 races (nine total) among active drivers at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Qualifying/Race Data

2013 pole winner:
Ryan Newman, Chevrolet
187.531 mph, 47.992 secs. 07-26-13

2013 race winner:
Ryan Newman, Chevrolet
153.485 mph, (02:36:22), 07-28-13

Track qualifying record:
Ryan Newman, Chevrolet
187.531 mph, 47.992 secs. 07-26-13

Track race record:
Bobby Labonte, Pontiac
155.912 mph, (02:33:56), 08-05-00

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Re: John Wayne Walding 400 Betting News and Notes

Brickyard 400 Driver Tale of the Tape

Greg Biffle (No. 16 NESN 30th Anniversary Ford)

· Three top fives, six top 10s
· Average finish of 13.2
· Average Running Position of 11.8, fourth-best
· Driver Rating of 94.6, eighth-best
· 58 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-most
· 472 Green Flag Passes, 12th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 169.929 mph, seventh-fastest
· 1,027 Laps in the Top 15 (71.3%), seventh-most
· 205 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green), 10th-most

Clint Bowyer (No. 15 5-Hour Energy Toyota)

· Two top fives, two top 10s
· Average finish of 13.3
· Average Running Position of 14.8, 10th-best
· Driver Rating of 84.6, 11th-best
· 487 Green Flag Passes, 10th-most
· 727 Laps in the Top 15 (56.8%), 11th-most
· 172 Quality Passes, 12th-most

Kyle Busch (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota)

· Two top fives, seven top 10s
· Average finish of 11.6
· Average Running Position of 12.8, eighth-best
· Driver Rating of 96.5, fifth-best
· 48 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-most
· 502 Green Flag Passes, fifth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 170.047 mph, fifth-fastest
· 1,044 Laps in the Top 15 (72.5%), fifth-most
· 265 Quality Passes, fourth-most

Carl Edwards (No. 99 Fastenal Ford)

· One top five, three top 10s
· Average finish of 13.2
· Driver Rating of 84.4, 12th-best
· 44 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-most
· 519 Green Flag Passes, fourth-most
· 721 Laps in the Top 15 (50.1%), 12th-most
· 234 Quality Passes, sixth-most

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

· Four wins, 11 top fives, 16 top 10s; three poles
· Average finish of 8.8
· Average Running Position of 11.5, third-best
· Driver Rating of 102.0, third-best
· 105 Fastest Laps Run, third-most
· 497 Green Flag Passes, sixth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 170.505 mph, second-fastest
· Series-high 1,105 Laps in the Top 15 (76.7%)
· 284 Quality Passes, second-most

Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota)

· One top five, three top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 16.9
· Driver Rating of 88.3, 10th-best
· 41 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 170.004 mph, sixth-fastest
· 738 Laps in the Top 15 (57.7%), 10th-most
· 190 Quality Passes, 11th-most

Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet)

· One win, four top fives, seven top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 10.9
· Average Running Position of 14.4, ninth-best
· Driver Rating of 90.2, ninth-best
· 904 Laps in the Top 15 (62.8%), eighth-most

Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet)

· Four wins, five top fives, six top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 15.6
· Series-best Average Running Position of 10.8
· Series-best Driver Rating of 109.8
· Series-high 173 Fastest Laps Run
· 1,057 Laps in the Top 15 (73.4%), fourth-most

Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Great Clips/Shark Week Chevrolet)

· Three top fives, five top 10s
· Average finish of 14.2
· Average Running Position of 12.8, seventh-best
· Driver Rating of 96.4, sixth-best
· 78 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most
· 1,085 Laps in the Top 15 (75.3%), third-most
· 271 Quality Passes, third-most

Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Dollar General Toyota)

· Six top fives, eight top 10s
· Average finish of 15.1
· Average Running Position of 12.4, fifth-best
· Driver Rating of 95.8, seventh-best
· 1,100 Laps in the Top 15 (76.4%), second-most
· 247 Quality Passes, fifth-most

Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 12 SKF Ford)

· One top five, two top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 20.3
· Average Running Position of 12.5, sixth-best
· Driver Rating of 96.7, fourth-best
· 106 Fastest Laps Run, second-most

Tony Stewart (No. 14 Mobil 1 Chevrolet)

· Two wins, seven top fives, 11 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 7.9
· Average Running Position of 11.1, second-best
· Driver Rating of 104.1, second-best
· Series-high 571 Green Flag Passes
· 1,037 Laps in the Top 15 (72.0%), sixth-most
· Series-high 292 Quality Passes

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Brickyard 400 Odds and Betting Preview
By: Micah Roberts

The LVH SuperBook has installed Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski as 5-to-1 co-favorites to win Sunday's Brickyard 400 on the storied grounds of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This will be the 20th race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup season and the 21st visit by NASCAR to the mecca of the auto racing world.

Fifteen of the first 20 Brickyard 400s have been won by Chevrolet, including the last 11 events. Johnson has won four of the past eight Indy races, which ties him for most Brickyard wins all-time with teammate Jeff Gordon, who won the inaugural race in 1994.

A unique facet along NASCAR's short history on the bricks is that the flat 2.5-mile layout has been gateway to championships and has also very kind to past NASCAR champions. Eight of the 20 Brickyard winners have gone on to win the championship that same season, and 15 of the 20 winners have been NASCAR champions at some point in their careers.

One effective handicapping method for Indy prior to Friday’s and Saturday's practices is to refer to what happened at Pocono Raceway in June. Both tracks have long straightaways that require lots of horsepower, and the flat turn three at Pocono requires a similar set up. There has been a solid correlation over the years between teams running well at the first Pocono race and a similar performance on the bricks.

So let's look back at Pocono last month....

Immediately grabbing our attention is that while eight of the top-10 finishers drove a Chevrolet, it was Keselowski in his Ford who led the most laps (95 of the 160). Dale Earnhardt Jr. won at Pocono for his first time ever, Johnson finished sixth and Gordon was eighth. Star Chevy performers in the top-10 included Kurt Busch (3rd), Kyle Larson (5th), last year’s Brickyard 400 winner and Indiana native Ryan Newman (7th), Martin Truex Jr (9th), and 2010 Brickyard 400 winner Jamie McMurray (10th).

The only Toyota with a top-10 Pocono finish was four-time Pocono winner Denny Hamlin (4th). A Toyota has never won at Indy, and the last Ford to win there was Dale Jarrett in 1999, the second of his two career wins there. Roush-Fenway Racing is still searching for its first Indy win, and with the way the team has been running on the horsepower tracks -- sluggishly -- it doesn't look promising this week, which is why Carl Edwards is 50-to-1 and Greg Biffle is 60-to-1.

Sunday's winner is likely to come from Hendrick Motorsports, Stewart-Haas Racing, Richard Childress Racing or Chip Ganassi Racing, which would mark the 12th straight win on the track for Chevy. It would also break the current four-race win streak by Ford. Realistically, unless something goofy happens with fuel mileage and odd pit sequences, the only drivers outside a Chevy stable with a legitimate shot at winning are the Penske Racing duo of Keselowski and Logano.

While the race will likely come down to a few of the favorites like Gordon, Johnson, Earnhardt Jr. and Keselowski, the best value on the board might be Kurt Busch at 30-to-1. Let’s see how he fits the criteria of a Brickyard winner:

Has he won a championship like 15 of the previous 20 winners? Yes, in 2004.

Does he drive a Chevy like 15 of the previous winners? Yes, he's in the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Chevy with a Hendrick engine.

How'd he do at Pocono? He finished third.

What about his past Brickyard experience? His best finish was fifth during his rookie season in 2001 and he's yet to finish in the top-five again. The most indelible image of him from Indy might be getting out of a wrecked car and signaling to a passing Jimmy Spencer to kiss his rear-end after being punted. Ironically, Spencer was driving the No. 41 at the time. However, Busch did finish an impressive sixth in his first Indy 500 start in May.

At 30-to-1, it’s definitely worth taking a shot with Busch this week

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Brickyard 400 Preview
By Micah Roberts

After a week off, the 20th race on the NASCAR Sprint Cup season takes us to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Brickyard 400. There have been 20 races on the famed bricks and a Chevrolet has won 15 times, including the past 11. Yes, that isn't a typo -- 11 straight Chevy wins.

Even though drivers like Ryan Newman and Paul Menard have won there in two of the past three seasons, the norm for Indy has been that only elite drivers win. Eight Brickyard 400 winners have gone on to win a season championship the same year and 15 of the winners have won a championship in their careers. There isn't any type of track that has that kind of select group.

Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski come in as the LVH Superbook's 5/1 co-favorites (Bet $100 to win $500) to win on Sundayand it's quite understandable since they both lead the season with three wins each. Johnson has won four times on the storied track and has a series leading 109.8 driver rating, which is over five points better than the second best (Tony Stewart 104.1). He was runner-up last season and his four wins there have come in the past eight seasons.

For Keselowski, he gets high marks because of the roll he's on which has seen him win two of the past three races on the season -- contributing to a current Ford streak of four straight wins. Prior to that Ford streak, a Hendrick Chevy had won five straight.

Keselowski is also co-favored because of how well he ran at Pocono Raceway last month where he led the most laps (95) before settling for second-place. I always equate Indy and Pocono together because of the long straightaways and the tight flat turns, or at least the tight flat turn three at Pocono. All four turns at Indy are flat and we've seen a big correlation there from who was strong at the previous Pocono race.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. won his first career race at Pocono in June and at 10/1 odds. He should be highly considered to get his first career win at the Brickyard and join his daddy in elite status who won there in 1995. Junior is tied with Keselowski with nine top-5 finishes on the season and has a series leading 13 top-10 finishes. He is having a championship-type of season and winning the Brickyard would be a great sign that he is championship-bound.

At Pocono, eight Chevy's finished in the top-10 and it's likely we'll see Chevy win for the 12th straight time at the Brickyard on Sunday. Until Menard and Newman, we rarely saw drivers at odds higher than 12/1 on the bricks, but a few candidates out there make a strong case just because of Pocono and having great Hendrick horsepower. Indian native Tony Stewart (15/1), Kyle Larson (25/1) and Las Vegan Kurt Busch (30/1) all have a great shot at winning.

Busch finished sixth in his first Indy 500 run in May and has all the built in criteria to be a winner at Indy based on the history. He's won a season championship (2004), he drives a Chevy and he ran well at Pocono (3rd)in June. Plus, he's 30/1, which is always enough of a price to try and sell myself on betting someone.

I'm going to roll with four-time Brickyard winner Jeff Gordon to win this week at 8/1. He won the first race for NASCAR on the fabled track (1994), he drives a Chevy, he's a past champion and he's been running great all season. Everything fits!

Top-5 Finish Prediction:

1) #24 Jeff Gordon (8/1)
2) #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. (10/1)
3) #48 Jimmie Johnson (5/1)
4) #41 Kurt Busch (30/1)
5) #2 Brad Keselowski (5/1)

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Chassis Selections

#1-Jamie McMurray: chassis not reported on race preview.
#2-Brad Keselowski: will drive Primary Chassis PRS-921 at Indianapolis, which is a new chassis. The Backup Chassis is PRS-908 which last raced in Kansas and finished 13th.
#3-Austin Dillon: will pilot Chassis No. 481 in the John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This is a new Chevrolet SS that will be utilized under race conditions for the first time this weekend.
#4-Kevin Harvick: Chassis No. 4-884: Kevin Harvick will pilot Chassis No. 4-884 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Built new for 2014, Chassis 4-884 will see its first laps of competition this weekend in the Brickyard 400.
#5-Kasey Kahne: Crew chief Kenny Francis has selected Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-888 for Sunday's race at Indianapolis. This is a brand new chassis that has never been raced before. In 10 Sprint Cup Series starts at Indianapolis, Kahne has posted three top-five finishes, five top-10s and led a total of 88 laps. His top-five results include a runner-up finish in 2005 and a third-place result in 2013. Kahne also has qualified in the top 10 seven of 10 times that he's raced at the Brickyard in the Cup Series. Consequently, his average start at the 2.5-mile track is 8.5, which ranks him second among active drivers.
#7-Michael Annett chassis not reported on race preview.
#9-Marcos Ambrose: chassis not reported on race preview.
#10-Danica Patrick: Chassis No. 10-794: Chassis No. 10-794 was tested in the wind tunnel May 1, 2013, before being used by Patrick in the Coca-Cola 600 later that month at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. Patrick started 24th and finished 29th after being involved in a multicar accident on lap 320 of 400. After repairs, she managed to finish the race but completed only 385 laps. The next time Patrick drove this car was in June at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, where she started 29th and finished 23rd. The last time she drove it was in September at Atlanta Motor Speedway, where she started 21st and finished 21st. It was used as a backup car in fall 2013 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Charlotte and Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. It was then used in 2014 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, but she wrecked the car early in the first practice and went to a backup. Since then, it has been a backup at Texas, Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, Dover (Del.) International Speedway, Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn and Kentucky.
#11-Denny Hamlin: chassis not reported on race preview.
#12-Juan Pablo Montoya: Primary Chassis for Indianapolis is PRS-910, which last raced at in Charlotte in the All-Star race as the #2 primary and finished 10th.
#13-Casey Mears: chassis not reported on race preview.
#14-Tony Stewart: Chassis No. 14-827 has only been tested once, but it shined brightly when Kevin Harvick drove it to the fastest speed of anyone participating in the Dec. 9, 2013 test session at Charlotte. Since that test, crew chief Chad Johnston has put countless hours into Chassis No. 14-827 - on the shop floor and in the wind tunnel. The car will make its racing debut this weekend in the Brickyard 400, with shiny black-and-white paint of its Mobil 1/Bass Pro Shops livery covering the primer gray it wore seventh months ago. Stewart has one pole, two wins, three top-threes, seven top-fives, 11 top-10s and has led a total of 227 laps in 15 career Sprint Cup starts at Indianapolis. He only has two finishes outside the top-12 - a 17th-place result in 2001 and a 23rd-place finish in 2008. His average Sprint Cup start at Indianapolis is 15.9, his average Sprint Cup finish at Indianapolis is a series-best 7.9 and his lap completion rate is 100 percent. Stewart has raced Sprint Cup cars (15x), Indy cars (5x) and IROC cars (4x) to earn a total of 24 Indianapolis starts.
#15-Clint Bowyer: Chassis No. 814 serves as the primary chassis for Bowyer at Indianapolis. This chassis has never seen race action. Chassis No. 804 serves as the back-up chassis and finished 12th at Darlington and 15th at Bristol earlier this year.
#16-Greg Biffle: Primary Chassis: RK-922 Brand new chassis. Backup Chassis: RK-879 Last ran Vegas - finished 22nd.
#17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Primary Chassis: RK- 899- last raced at Charlotte - finished 26th. Backup Chassis: RK-888 - last raced at Bristol - finished second.
#18-Kyle Busch: chassis not reported on race preview.
#20-Matt Kenseth: chassis not reported on race preview.
#21-Trevor Bayne: chassis not reported on race preview.
#22-Joey Logano: will drive Primary Chassis PRS-920 at Indianapolis, which is a new chassis. The Backup Chassis is PRS-907 which last raced in Kansas and finished 4th.
#24-Jeff Gordon: crew chief Alan Gustafson has selected Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 24-895 for this Sunday's race. This chassis is new and has never been raced. In 20 Cup starts at Indianapolis, the 42-year-old driver's four wins are tied with Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson for most among stock car drivers at the famed speedway. Gordon visited Victory Lane in the inaugural event in 1994, and again in 1998, 2001 and 2004. This weekend, the #24 Chevy SS will sport the familiar Axalta Racing Brilliant Flames paint scheme that features black brilliance with chromatic, fluorescent yellow, red and orange flames. Gordon won at Kansas Speedway in May the last time this paint scheme appeared on the #24 Chevrolet SS.
#27-Paul Menard: and the #27 Moen/Menards Chevrolet SS team will pilot chassis No. 480. This #27 Chevy SS is a new addition to the Richard Childress Racing stable and will turn its first laps in practice on Friday.
#31-Ryan Newman: will drive chassis No. 479 in Sunday's John Wayne Walding 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This is a new chassis and will be utilized for the first time this weekend.
#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: Chassis No. 760: Kurt Busch will pilot Chassis No. 760 in Sunday's Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Chassis No. 760 made its lone start of the 2014 season at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City two months ago, when Busch started sixth and ran as high as fourth before a loose-handling condition saw the #41 Chevrolet drop to 29th when the checkered flag waved.
#42-Kyle Larson: chassis not reported on race preview.
#43-Aric Almirola: chassis not reported on race preview.
#47-A.J. Allmendinger: "We will have a new #47 Kingsford Chevrolet SS to race this weekend," Allmendinger said. "Hopefully, we can work through the weekend and have a smooth one. We are focused on getting back to maximizing the weekend and getting everything you can out of qualifying and the race and then take it as it comes. We are looking to get the best finish we can get at Indy."
#48-Jimmie Johnson: Crew chief Chad Knaus has selected Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 48-891 for this weekend's 400-mile event at Indianapolis. This is a brand new chassis that has never been raced before. The back-up car is Chassis No. 48-728, which Johnson last raced at Bristol Motor Speedway in March. In 12 starts at the Brickyard, Johnson has recorded four wins, five top-five finishes and six top-10s, sharing the title of most all-time Indianapolis victories with teammate Jeff Gordon. Johnson's 302 laps led also rank him second on the all-time list, trailing only Gordon.
#51-Justin Allgaier chassis not reported on race preview.
#55-Brian Vickers: Primary: 803 finished fourth at Texas & 14th in the All-Star Race. Backup: 801 finished 13th in Las Vegas.
#78-Martin Truex Jr.: chassis not reported on race preview.
#88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Crew chief Steve Letarte and the #88 National Guard team will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-882 this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Earnhardt most recently raced this chassis to a seventh-place finish at Michigan in June. In 14 Sprint Cup starts at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Earnhardt has recorded one top-five, four top-10 finishes and led 61 laps. In five of those races, the driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS lined up sixth or better for the historic event. He scored his best finish -- fourth-place -- at the 2.5-mile oval in 2012.
#99-Carl Edwards the #99 Fastenal Ford team will unload primary chassis RK-910 which was last run in 2014 at Charlotte, starting in the 22nd spot and finishing fourth. Backup chassis RK-904 was last brought to Charlotte in 2014 as the back-up car. Edwards is still looking for his first victory at the Brickyard, with a career-high finish of second in 2008. Edwards has 9 Sprint Cup starts at the 2.5-mile track with an average start of 19.9 and an average finish of 13.2.

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Driver Handicaps: Indianapolis
By: Pete Pistone

To assist in making your fantasy racing picks,'s Pete Pistone helps steer you toward Sunday’s Crown Royal Presents the John Wayne Walding 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Who's HOT at Indianapolis

Jeff Gordon: Will try for a record fifth "Brickyard" win on Sunday and with the way he’s been running this season, he figures to have more than a solid chance at history.  Gordon has finished outside the top 10 only twice in his last 10 Indy starts.

Jimmie Johnson: Not statistically Johnson’s best track, but he also has four wins to his credit.  There’s no denying Hendrick horsepower and Johnson will battle his teammate Gordon for Indy immortality on Sunday.

Kevin Harvick: Another former Indianapolis winner, Harvick has the speed and horsepower of Stewart-Haas Racing at his fingertips as well as the know-how of getting around the 2.5-mile track.

Tony Stewart: Winning at no other track means as much to Indiana native Stewart, who has the best average finish of current competitors over the last 10 Indy races at 6.6, which includes a pair of wins.

Kyle Busch: Throw out his 38th-place performance in 2009 and Busch has only finished outside the top 10 in nine career Indianapolis Sprint Cup Series starts.

Who's NOT

Marcos Ambrose: The Richard Petty Motorsports driver has not been able to get a hold of the Brickyard during his Sprint Cup career and has a 22.5 average finish, including 16th place last year.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Has has great respect for Indianapolis and its prestige but unfortunately, hasn't been able to perform well at the track.  His last 10 starts have added up to a 21.1 average finish, but he does have a fourth and sixth in his last two outings.

Martin Truex Jr.: Don’t look for the frustrated Furniture Row Racing driver to bust out of his season-long slump at Indianapolis, based on past performances.  Truex has just one top-10 finish in nine career "Brickyard" starts.

Kurt Busch: He’ll be hard-pressed to match or top his Indianapolis 500 performance (sixth place) this Sunday.  Busch has a 19.9 average finish over his last 10 Indy stock car starts.

AJ Allmendinger: Another driver who was impressive at Indy in open-wheel but has struggled in his NASCAR career.  In five starts, Allmendinger has finished 20th or worst three times.

Who to Keep an Eye On at Indianapolis

Jamie McMurray: It’s a big race, right?  So keep an eye on McMurray, who won the Brickyard 400 in 2010 and has a knack for performing well on the sport’s biggest stages.

Kasey Kahne: The lone winless Hendrick driver has been very solid at Indianapolis in his career, including a third-place outing in the 2013 edition of the race.

Greg Biffle: Until his 24th-place finish last year, Biffle had a streak of five straight top-10 runs at Indy including a pair of third-place finishes.

Kyle Larson: The rookie driver has the wheel of the Chip Ganassi Racing Target Chevrolet, which came dangerously close to winning the Brickyard 400 a couple times with Juan Pablo Montoya at the controls.

Juan Pablo Montoya: Speaking of JPM, the former Indy 500 winner and current IndyCar driver makes a return visit to "The Brickyard" in a potent Team Penske Ford.  Wouldn’t that be an ironic twist, to see Montoya finally kissing the bricks? Staff Picks

Pete Pistone: Jeff Gordon
Dustin Long: Kyle Larson
John Singler: Ryan Newman
Jeff Wackerlin: Brad Keselowski

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Brickyard 400 Post-Practice Betting Notes
By: Micah Roberts

The big story coming into the Brickyard 400 was that Chevrolet had won 15 of the 20 previous Sprint Cup events on the storied grounds of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, including the past 11 in a row. Following Friday and Saturday's two practice sessions, Toyota gave somewhat of an indication that Chevy will at least have a little more competition than expected this time around.

Earlier in the week, we chronicled the Chevy Brickyard prowess and also suggested that Pocono is a good measuring tool by which to handicap Sunday's race. Chevy is still the manufacturer to beat by a large margin, but in Friday's lone practice session, the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Toyota driven by Matt Kenseth had the fastest lap and also had the best 10-consecutive laps average (though only three drivers ran that many in a row).

But Kenseth wasn't in the early talk as a contender to win. He's been consistent all season with seven top-five finishes, but he hasn't had enough to capture a victory, which is a shocker because he led the series with seven wins last season. He's had near-wins at the Brickyard over his career, including two second-place finishes while with Roush-Fenway Racing, but even though Chevy has won the past 11 events, the deck has never been stacked against as much as it is this season. The bow-ties come fast from all corners of the garages.

The top candidate to stop the Chevy streak this week is Brad Keselowski, and he showed all his horsepower under the hood in both practices with the third fastest lap on Friday and the second fastest lap in Saturday's rain shortened final session.

If we use Pocono as a barometer -- which we should because of the similar long straightaways and tight turns -- Keselowski's second-place finish there and leading a race-high 95 laps is a good indicator that he'll have his best career finish (9th twice) on the Bricks and possibly capture his fourth win of the season. It would also be the fifth straight win on the season for Ford.

And that's about it folks. Two strong candidates to win outside of a Chevy, and the only two of three (Kyle Busch is the other) that ranked in our top-10 ratings after throwing in all the practice, qualifying and past data that come with the ratings.

Juan Pablo Montoya, the 2000 Indianapolis 500 winner, is an interesting look in the No. 12 Penske Ford just because he knows his way around the track very well. The part-time Cup driver practiced and qualified well and is using the All-Star chassis Keselowski used to finish 10th with in May, but it still wasn't enough to get him ranked among our top-10 best candidates to win.

The top-rated driver is four-time Brickyard 400 Jimmie Johnson, who was fastest in Saturday's practice session and also had the best five-consecutive lap average in Friday's practice. Right behind Johnson in Friday's five-consecutive lap average were his teammates Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne, which is a great indication that they'll all be very good on long runs. Junior hated his car during qualifying, but he'll be good during the race just like he was when he won his first career race at Pocono last month.

Kevin Harvick will start from the pole, which is where he started when he kissed the bricks in 2003 for his only Indy win. When Harvick is fast in qualifying, it's a great indicator he'll be fast on race day, as he won four of his previous nine career races when he won the pole. That's a pretty good ratio, or at least much better than Brickyard history that has seen only three pole-sitters win in the 20 previous races.

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