Irwin Tools Night Race Betting News and Notes

Irwin Tools Night Race Betting News and Notes

Bristol Motor Speedway Data

Season Race #: 24 of 36 (08-23-14)
Track Size: 0.533-miles
Banking/Turns 1 & 2: 24-28 degrees
Banking/Turns 3 & 4: 24-28 degrees
Banking/Frontstretch: 4-8 degrees
Banking/Backstretch: 4-8 degrees
Frontstretch Length: 650 feet
Backstretch Length: 650 feet
Race Length: 500 laps / 266.5 miles

Top 10 Driver Ratings at Bristol
Kyle Larson 104.5
Matt Kenseth 102.7
Kyle Busch 101.7
Jeff Gordon 100.6
Brad Keselowski 95.9
Greg Biffle 93.7
Jimmie Johnson 91.2
Kurt Busch 90.7
Denny Hamlin 90.7
Kevin Harvick 90.3

Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2014 races (19 total) among active drivers at Bristol Motor Speedway

Qualifying/Race Data

2013 pole winner:
Denny Hamlin, Toyota
128.969 mph, 14.878 secs. 08-22-13

2013 race winner:
Matt Kenseth, Toyota
90.279 mph, (2:57:07), 08-22-13

Track qualifying record:
Denny Hamlin, Toyota
129.991 mph, 14.761 secs. 03-14-14

Track race record:
Charlie Glotzbach, Chevrolet
101.074 mph, (2:38:12), 07-11-71

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Re: Irwin Tools Night Race Betting News and Notes

Bristol Driver Tale of the Tape


Greg Biffle (No. 16 Hire Our Heroes Ford)


· Six top fives, 12 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 12.0
· Average Running Position of 13.1, sixth-best
· Driver Rating of 93.7, sixth-best
· 325 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 115.319 mph, seventh-fastest
· 6,652 Laps in the Top 15 (69.9%), third-most
· 497 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green), seventh-most

Kurt Busch (No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet)

· Five wins, seven top fives, 14 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 14.8
· Average Running Position of 14.4, 10th-best
· Driver Rating of 90.7, eighth-best
· 356 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-most
· 903 Green Flag Passes, sixth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 115.286 mph, eighth-fastest
· 5,859 Laps in the Top 15 (61.6%), ninth-most
· 509 Quality Passes, fifth-most

Kyle Busch (No. 18 Doublemint Toyota)


· Five wins, eight top fives, 12 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 10.9
· Average Running Position of 13.0, fifth-best
· Driver Rating of 101.7, third-best
· Series-high 598 Fastest Laps Run
· 848 Green Flag Passes, 10th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 115.413 mph, fourth-fastest
· 6,278 Laps in the Top 15 (66.0%), fifth-most
· 491 Quality Passes, eighth-most

Carl Edwards (No. 99 Fastenal Ford)

· Three wins, five top fives, eight top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 15.2
· Average Running Position of 14.7, 12th-best
· Driver Rating of 89.3, 11th-best
· 397 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 115.198 mph, 11th-fastest
· 6,024 Laps in the Top 15 (63.3%), seventh-most

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

· Five wins, 16 top fives, 24 top 10s; five poles
· Average finish of 12.2
· Average Running Position of 9.8, second-best
· Driver Rating of 100.6, fourth-best
· 419 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most
· 846 Green Flag Passes, 11th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 115.469 mph, third-fastest
· Series-high 7,730 Laps in the Top 15 (81.2%)
· 596 Quality Passes, second-most

Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota)

· One win, four top fives, eight top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 15.5
· Average Running Position of 14.5, 11th-best
· Driver Rating of 90.7, ninth-best
· 387 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-most
· 893 Green Flag Passes, seventh-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 115.250 mph, 10th-fastest
· 5,192 Laps in the Top 15 (61.0%), 12th-most
· 429 Quality Passes, 12th-most

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

· One win, nine top fives, 12 top 10s
· Average finish of 14.3
· Average Running Position of 13.3, seventh-best
· Driver Rating of 90.3, 10th-best
· 327 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-most
· 964 Green Flag Passes, third-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 115.390 mph, fifth-fastest
· 5,943 Laps in the Top 15 (62.5%), eighth-most
· 463 Quality Passes, 11th-most

Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet)

· One win, seven top fives, 13 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 15.4
· Average Running Position of 13.7, eighth-best
· Driver Rating of 91.2, seventh-best
· 496 Fastest Laps Run, third-most
· 6,361 Laps in the Top 15 (66.8%), fourth-most

Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Great Clips Chevrolet)

· One win, five top fives, 10 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 17.0
· Driver Rating of 88.9, 12th-best
· 424 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most
· 944 Green Flag Passes, fourth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 115.175 mph, 12th-fastest
· 5,245 Laps in the Top 15 (55.1%), 11th-most
· 521 Quality Passes, fourth-most

Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Dollar General Toyota)

· Three wins, 11 top fives, 18 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 12.5
· Average Running Position of 10.4, third-best
· Driver Rating of 102.7, second-best
· 508 Fastest Laps Run, second-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 115.505 mph, second-fastest
· 7,689 Laps in the Top 15 (80.8%), second-most
· Series-high 602 Quality Passes

Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Wurth Ford)

· Two wins, three top fives, three top 10s
· Average finish of 14.3
· Average Running Position of 12.6, fourth-best
· Driver Rating of 95.9, fifth-best
· Average Green Flag Speed of 115.331 mph, sixth-fastest

Kyle Larson (No. 42 Target Chevrolet)

· One top 10
· Average finish of 10.0
· Series-best Average Running Position of 7.5
· Series-best Driver Rating of 104.5
· Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 116.048 mph

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Re: Irwin Tools Night Race Betting News and Notes

Sprint Cup odds - Co-favorites check in with 'extremely high' odds
By: Micah Roberts 
Sportingnews.com

LAS VEGAS -- Get ready for some good old-fashioned short track racing at Bristol Motor Speedway this Saturday night. The fans in the Smokey Mountains will be fired up, and stakes will be high for several drivers with only three races remaining until the Sprint Cup Chase field is set.

Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick come into the Irwin Tools Night race as the LVH SuperBook's 6-to-1 co-favorites. Those odds are extremely high for favorites in comparison to how things used to be at Bristol before 2007 when Speedway Motorsports Inc. changed the layout of the track, giving it multiple grooves.

There used to be only three to four drivers that had a legitimate chance of winning and the odds reflected it.

Darrell Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt, Rusty Wallace, Jeff Gordon and Kurt Busch combined to win races in bunches over a three-decade stretch prior to the change, but since then it's been wide open. There have been five different winners over the past five Bristol races, a streak that has been matched only four times over 107 Bristol races since its first Cup race in 1961.

Keselowski won back-to-back races in the fall of 2010 and spring of 2011, while Harvick's only win came in 2005 under the old layout. Harvick appeared to have the best car at least five other Bristol races but hasn't had a top-5 there in his last 11 starts.

Three drivers come in at 7-to-1 odds, led by five-time Bristol winner Kyle Busch, who is searching for his first win since Fontana in late March.

Busch took the baton from his five-time winning brother and won the final race on the old Bristol layout. The bottom line was the only way around the old track, and drivers fought hard to take positions away to the point where there were many fisticuffs after races -- part of the reason fans flocked like no other.

From 2009 through 2011, Busch won four of five Bristol races on the new layout, but hasn't won there in his last six starts. Even though the trio of Joe Gibbs cars hasn't been given engines that can compete with Chevrolet on the big horsepower tracks, Bristol will kind of neutralize that edge with the short straight-aways, which again makes the Gibbs cars major players this week.

Matt Kenseth is also at 7-to-1 odds as he searches for his first win this season after having a series-best seven wins in 2013. He's a three-time winner at Bristol -- two prior to the track changes and one in last season's Irwin Tools Night Race. He finished 13th in the first Bristol race on March 16, but he led a race-high four times for 165 laps and was leading with 104 laps to go.

Jeff Gordon (7-to-1) is a five-time winner, but the last win came in 2002, his only win in the fall race. He had won four straight spring races in his glory years from 1995-98 with the mentality of getting out front and staying out front as no one could catch or bump him out of the way. Since the changes to the track, he's had four top-5 finishes and has been seventh in his last two starts.

After those five drivers, no one else is lower than 12-to-1 odds including 2010 winner Jimmie Johnson and three-time winner Carl Edwards (25-to-1). Edwards won the Bristol race in March, and because this is a track where a horsepower advantage is lessened, he and every other team not in a Chevy or a Penske Ford can make a serious run at winning.

Expect all the Joe Gibbs cars to run very well this weekend, including 2012 winner Denny Hamlin

(12-to-1). Also, pay close attention to qualifying this week because 70 of the 107 races have been won from a top-6 start position. The bulk of those numbers are enhanced from the early days, but it's still relevant today as well.

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Irwin Tools Night Race
By Micah Roberts
VegasInsider.com

The final three races before the "Chase for the Cup" is very cool, but it should pale in comparison to the thrill we can expect when the Chase begins at Chicago on Sept. 14. There are so many equally good heavyweights at the top with four drivers sharing a season high three wins each.

Think of these next three races as wild card rounds, like a play in-game to start the NCAA basketball tournament. Only 16 drivers can move on. Twelve have been locked in and 18 more drivers (not logically) are eligible to take the four remaining spots by points or winning. Who will make the Chase and who will come away with the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup title?

There are so many quality contenders and with a format in the Chase that eliminates four drivers every three races until there is a final four at Homestead where the best finisher wins, there is no driver that can just run away with it.

Let’s take a look at the latest LVH SuperBook Sprint Cup Championship odds on a few of the favorites:

Jimmie Johnson (7/2): The six-time Cup champ merits being the favorite just because we have seen it so many times, but never under this format which adds so much intrigue to the whole situation. What makes it even better is that Johnson is struggling with no top-5 finishes since winning at Michigan on June 15 and that includes four finishes 28th or worse. By no means am I rooting against him to achieve greatness and tie Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt for most Cup titles, but things don’t look so easy this time around. And if Johnson is one of the final four drivers to make Homestead, it’s one of only four tracks he’s never won at.

Jeff Gordon (9/2): His win Sunday at Michigan was his first there since 2001, the year he won the final of his of his four Cup titles. He also won at the Brickyard, like he did last month, in 2001 as well. He’s tied with three other drivers for the most wins this season (3) and he leads in points showing that he’s been the most consistent. The cool thing about rooting for Gordon right now is that he may finally get the cheers and adulation from the NASCAR Nation, maybe more so than even Junior. After having everything seemingly handed to him in his early years, which irritated many fans, he’s paid his dues in his elder years and fans now seem to want to see the great champion wind down his years with one more title.

Brad Keselowski (5/1): He’s the top non-Chevrolet candidate to win, which would be his second Cup title in three seasons and put him into another stratosphere in NASCAR history. He’s got the power to compete with all the Chevy drivers on the five 1.5-mile tracks we’ll see in the Chase and is also very adept at the other five tracks. When he won in 2012, he came right out of the gate swinging with a win at Chicago and two weeks later at Dover and finished 15th or better in all 10 races.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. (6/1): He’s NASCAR royalty and yet has never won a title. Most of us thought he would have had two or three by now, but it was like he was in a sleep walk for his first six years at Hendrick Motorsports where he won only two races. Now he has three wins with a series leading 11 top-5 finishes. He’s been good everywhere this season, including road courses where he always had difficulties. Junior winning a title, or at least making the final four, would provide huge ratings at Homestead, even as it competes against an NFL Sunday.

After those four, the top two candidates to at least make the final four are Kevin Harvick (6/1) and Joey Logano (8/1). Then there is a huge drop-off in probability with Matt Kenseth (10/1) still searching for his first win and teammate Kyle Busch (10/1) looking for better engines to compete with Chevrolet. Kasey Kahne (15/1) is still outside looking in to the Chase, but if he gets in he has the team to get well quickly. Denny Hamlin (15/1) is in the same boat as Kenseth and Busch as they have no speed on horsepower tracks. The real wild cared of all is Kurt Busch because we’ve seen him be right up there with Harvick and the Hendrick drivers, but just not do it consistently enough.

Bristol: ‘Racin’ like it oughta be’

With all the surface and banking changes at Bristol Motor Speedway since 2007, there haven’t been any real patterns established on the half-mile track. For a while we had Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski winning multiple times in a row, but there have been five different winners in the past five races.

Carl Edwards won the March 16 race for his third Bristol win, but it was 2013 fall race winner Matt Kenseth who led the most laps (165). Kasey Kahne won the spring race last season and Denny Hamlin won the previous race before Keselowski and Busch each went back-to-back in the previous four races.

One thing we can start with for Bristol is getting out of the mindset we’ve been in most of the year by favoring, or at least siding with, the big horsepower teams. In the March race, the top-6 finishers behind Kenseth were Ricky Stenhouse, Aric Almirola, Tony Stewart, Marcos Ambrose and Hamlin. History won’t repeat itself exactly, but there is a great chance of seeing someone win this race that hasn’t already yet this season.

Kenseth is the one that fit’s the bill perfectly. He’s won at Bristol three times over his career and has been successful there in every type of layout. His solid performance at Bristol in March is a great indication that his balance and set-up is more important here than having huge horsepower which he’s been missing on the big tracks. Look for all the Joe Gibbs cars to perform well this weekend.

Kyle Busch is a five-time winner but has gone six races since his last win there. His best finish of late was second-place in the spring of 2012. Jeff Gordon is a five-time winner, but he hasn't won there since 2002. We're seeing a re-birth of sorts with Gordon where he is again the best driver from Hendrick Motorsports.

Top-5 Finish Prediction:

1) #20 Matt Kenseth (7/1)
2) #18 Kyle Busch (8/1)
3) #11 Denny Hamlin (12/1)
4) #5 Kasey Kahne (12/1)
5) #24 Jeff Gordon (7/1)

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Re: Irwin Tools Night Race Betting News and Notes

Driver Handicaps: Bristol
By: Jeff Wackerlin
Racingone.com

MRN.com's detailed notes and statistics to help you set your fantasy racing lineup for Saturday night's Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Who's HOT at Bristol

• Brian Vickers is the only driver that has finished in the top 10 in the last five races.
• Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch and Kurt Busch each have five wins. Gordon and Kurt Busch's wins have come on the old track surface/configuration.
• Kasey Kahne has finished ninth or better in his last four starts, including a win in the 2013 spring race.
• Matt Kenseth, winner of last year's night race, has led the most laps (399) in the three races with the Gen-6 car.
• Spring winner Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin, winner of the 2012 night race, are the only driver besides Kenseth to lead more than 200 laps in the four races since the top groove of the progressive banking was adjusted at 242 and 214, respectively.
• Brad Keselowski leads all previous Bristol winners with the most final round (17) knockout qualifying sessions this season in the 21 races it was contested.

Who to Keep an Eye On at Bristol

• Joey Logano, who finished fifth in the Bristol night race last season, leads all drivers with 19 knockout final round appearances this season.
• Clint Bowyer has posted a 9.0 average finish in his five Bristol starts with Michael Waltrip Racing.
• Greg Biffle (10.7), Marcos Ambrose (10.7), Paul Menard (12.0), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (12.0) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (13.3) each rank in the top 10 in average finish among all drivers that have competed in the three Bristol races with the Gen-6 car.
• Rookies Kyle Larson and Austin Dillon have posted respective average finishes of 10.0 and 13.5 in the two races on concrete surfaces this season.
• Kevin Harvick has not posted a top 10 at Bristol since 2011 but will look to turn things around with crew chief Rodney Childers, who led Vickers to four consecutive top-eight finishes there. Harvick led 28 laps in the spring, but a cut oil line caused him to crash late in the race.
• Jeff Burton will sub for Tony Stewart again this week. Burton, who won the 2008 spring race, saw his last of 15 top 10s at the track come in the 2012 spring race.
• Jimmie Johnson will look for his first Bristol top 10 since 2012 driving the same car he led 44 laps with there in the spring.
• Aric Almirola has posted a 7.5 average finish in both races this season held on concrete surfaces.

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

MRN.com Staff Picks

Jeff Wackerlin: Matt Kenseth
Pete Pistone: Brad Keselowski
Dustin Long: Clint Bowyer
John Singler: Kevin Harvick

Top 20 Driver Notes - Ordered by Current Standings

Jeff Gordon:
Coming off his 24th - and second consecutive - top 10 (seventh) in 43 starts. Gordon has posted a 16.0 average finish and has led 66 laps in the three races at Bristol with the Gen-6 car. This season, he's posted an 11.0 average finish in both races held on concrete surfaces. Gordon will be back in the same car (chassis No. 819) that he finished 15th with at Dover International Speedway in June.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Finished 24th in the spring, snapping a streak of consecutive top-10 finishes. Earnhardt's finish in the spring dropped his average in the three races at Bristol with the Gen-6 car to 13.3. This weekend, Earnhardt will return in the same car (chassis No. 745) that he finished ninth with at Dover.

Brad Keselowski: Winner of the 2011 night race and the 2012 spring race. Keselowski has only posted one top 10 (third) in the four races since his last win, but does have an 8.0 average finish in both races held on concrete surfaces this season. His average finish in the three Bristol races with the Gen-6 car is 15.7. Keselowski, who led 40 laps and finished 14th in the spring, will return in the same car (chassis No. 918) that he finished third with at Michigan International Speedway in June.

Joey Logano: Recorded his only top 10 in three starts with Team Penske in this event last season. This weekend, Logano will return in the same car (chassis No. 917) that he finished ninth with at Michigan International Speedway in June.

Matt Kenseth: Scored his third win in this race last year. Kenseth led a race-high 165 laps in the spring to bring his series-leading total in the three Bristol races with the Gen-6 car to 399.

Kevin Harvick: A crash in the spring relegated Harvick to a 39th-place finish in his first Bristol start with Stewart-Haas Racing. His only top 10 in the last 11 races came in the 2011 spring race. This weekend, Harvick will return in the same car (chassis No. 850) that he finished seventh with at Kentucky Speedway in June.

Jimmie Johnson: Has yet to finish in the top 15 in the three Bristol races with the Gen-6 car. Johnson did lead 44 laps in the spring before finishing 19th. Johnson, a winner at Bristol in the 2010 spring race, will return in the same car (chassis No. 728) that he raced at Bristol earlier this season.

Carl Edwards: Coming off his third win in 20 starts. Edwards, who led 78 laps in the spring, has posted a 7.5 average finish in the two races held on concrete surfaces this season. This weekend, Edwards will return in the same car (chassis No. 897) that he finished 23rd with at Michigan International Speedway in June.

Ryan Newman: Started ninth and finished 16th in the spring in first Bristol start with Richard Childress Racing. Newman's last of 13 top 10s came in the 2013 spring race with Stewart-Haas Racing. This weekend, Newman will return in the same car he finished 15th with at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May.

Clint Bowyer: Has put together a solid 9.0 average finish in five Bristol starts with Michael Waltrip Racing. Bowyer, who led 50 laps in this event last year, has posted a 9.5 average finish in the two races this season held on concrete surfaces. This weekend, Bowyer will return in the same car (chassis No. 800) that he finished fourth with at Dover International Speedway in June.

Greg Biffle: Has posted the third-best average finish among all drivers that have raced in all three events with the Gen-6 car at Bristol. Biffle's ninth-place finish in this event last year is his best in the last six races. This weekend, Biffle will return in the same car (chassis No. 896) that he finished fifth with at Pocono Raceway.

Kasey Kahne: Leads all drivers with a 3.7 average finish in the three races with the Gen-6 car at Bristol. Kahne, winner of the 2013 spring race, and Brian Vickers are the only drivers that have finished in the top 10 in the last four races. Kahne finished eighth in the spring to help give him a 13.5 average finish in the two races in 2014 held on concrete surfaces. This weekend, Kahne will return in the same car (chassis No. 809) he raced at Bristol and Dover earlier this season.

Austin Dillon: Finished 11th in his first Bristol Cup start in March. Dillon has posted a 13.5 average finish in the two races held on concrete surfaces this season. This weekend, Dillon will return in the same car (chassis No. 457) that he most recently finished 17th with at Pocono in June.

Kyle Larson: Finished 10th in his first Bristol Cup start in March. Larson, who will be looking to rebound from a tough ending at Michigan, has posted a 10.0 average finish in the two races held on concrete surfaces this season.

Kyle Busch: Last of five wins came in the 2011 spring race. Busch finished 29th last year in this event after leading 73 laps to raise his average finish in the three Bristol races with the Gen-6 car to 14.0. His last top 10 came in the 2013 spring race, second place after starting from the pole.

Marcos Ambrose: Coming off second consecutive top 10, fifth place. Ambrose's 10.7 average finish in the three Bristol races with the Gen-6 car ranks fourth among all drivers that have competed in all three races. Ambrose finished 16th at Dover International Speedway in June to give him a 10.5 average finish in the two races on concrete surfaces in 2014.

Paul Menard: Finished 21st in the spring, snapping a streak of two consecutive top 10s at Bristol. Menard, who led 64 laps in this event last year en route to a sixth-place finish, will return in the same car (chassis No. 466) that he last finished 10th with at Dover.

Brian Vickers: Holds the distinction of being the only driver that has finished in the top 10 in the last five Bristol races. Vickers, who has finished fourth in the last two Bristol night races, will be back in the same car (chassis No. 797) he last finished 26th with at Kentucky Speedway.

Jamie McMurray: Last of nine top 10s in 23 starts came in the 2013 spring race, 10th place. McMurray led 10 laps in the spring before a crash relegated him to a 38th-place finish.

Denny Hamlin: Won second consecutive Bristol pole in the spring and finished sixth. Hamlin is the only driver that has finished in the top 10 in both races on concrete surfaces this season. His laps-led total of 144 in the three Bristol races with the Gen-6 car ranks third among all drivers.

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Re: Irwin Tools Night Race Betting News and Notes

Bristol Practice Notes and Top-Rated Drivers
By: Micah Roberts
Sportingnews.com

LAS VEGAS -- After watching Friday’s two NASCAR Sprint Cup practice sessions at Bristol Motor Speedway, it’s looking like Saturday’s Irwin Tools Night Race may be similar to the track’s surprising March race, where four of the top-five finishers drove a Ford. There looks to be a wide-range of contenders able to hang with the NASCAR’s elite, who have been show-offs in practices all season and had that translate well to race day.

Maybe Saturday night is when Kyle Larson wins his first race as a rookie. Or perhaps the Chase-bound Aric Almirola can pick up his second win of the season. Or maybe it’s finally Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s chance to become a winner in the Cup series.

It seems like every week when going over the practices, the same names keep popping up and most of them have Hendrick Chevy engines, so it’s refreshing to see some new names look like solid contenders with a great shot at winning.

Larson, who uses a Hendrick engine himself, was fastest (131.083 mph) in the two-hour morning session. He was the only driver to top 131 mph, and he did so on lap 71 of the 72 he totaled.  In the 50-minute afternoon session, he ran only 13 laps but came away with the fifth-fastest lap (130.762 mph). While he’s a rookie – which automatically downgrades him – he handled himself well in his first Bristol Cup start in March with a 10th-place finish.

Stenhouse topped the charts in the final practice session with a lap at 131.048 mph, showing that his season-best second-place finish at Bristol in March was no accident. It was his only top-five of the season, but there’s something about the Fords’ Bristol set-up and his fast speeds that make Stenhouse sound attractive (he opened at 100-to-1 odds).

His teammate, Carl Edwards, won the March race, and Stenhouse is using the exact same runner-up chassis from that race. We’ve already had a couple of surprises make the Chase with wins, and this looks to be Stenhouse’s best opportunity to get in.

However, Stenhouse drops just outside our top-10 list, at No. 11, but another big 100-to-1 underdog made the list – Amirola (130.132), who was sixth fastest (130.132) in the early session and fourth (130.780) in the final practice.

Almirola is in cruise control, getting ready for the Chase on the basis of his win at Daytona in July, but his career-best third-place finish at Bristol in March and his stellar practices on Friday make him a super live dog for Saturday‘s race.

What separates Almirola from Stenhouse and Larson is that he had the third fastest 10-consecutive average lap speeds during the early practice. Niether Larson nor Stenhouse ran as many laps in a row, and they could be up there with the leaders if they did, but we’ll have to wait until race day to see if they’re good on long runs. With Almirola, we have some idea coming in that he should maintain fast speeds and pass cars, while others slow after running 40 straight green-flag laps, and that‘s where the races are usually won.

The drivers topping the list on the 10-consecutive average lap times were five-time Bristol winner Kyle Busch and 2005 Bristol winner Kevin Harvick. While Busch ran only the seventh fastest lap (129.877) of the longer earlier session, he did have the fastest 10-lap average. He followed that up with the 25th fastest lap in the final session, but did manage to have the second-best 10-lap average behind Harvick.

Busch was once nearly invincible at Bristol, winning four of five races from 2009-11, but it’s been six races since his last victory there. Because of his history and average speeds, Busch is the driver to beat Sunday, with Harvick a close second. However, Harvick does not have a top-five finish at Bristol in his past 11 starts.

This race is wide open with a great chance of seeing a sixth different winner in a row at Bristol, and possibly a first-time Cup winner.

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Re: Irwin Tools Night Race Betting News and Notes

Chassis Selections
Jayski.com

#2-Brad Keselowski: will drive Primary Chassis PRS-918 at Bristol, which last raced at Michigan in June, finishing 3rd. The Backup Chassis is PRS-853 which last was a backup at New Hampshire.

#3-Austin Dillon: will pilot Chassis No. 457 in the Irwin Tools Night Race. This is the same #3 Great Stuff Chevrolet Dillon drove to a 17th-place finish at Pocono in June, a 19th-place finish at Kansas in May and an 11th-place finish at Auto Club Speedway in March. In one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start at Bristol Motor Speedway, Dillon posted an 11th-place finish in March after starting 27th.

#4-Kevin Harvick: will pilot Chassis No. 4-850 in Saturday night's Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol. Built new for 2014, Chassis 4-850 debuted in March at Auto Club Speedway, where it started fourth but suffered two flat tires and finished 36th. Chassis 4-850 led five laps and finished second in the Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte, and finished seventh at Kentucky. It has qualified in the top-five in all three races it has started for the #4 team. Saturday night's Irwin Tools Night Race will mark Harvick's 28th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start at Bristol. Harvick has one win, nine top-five finishes and 12 top-10s and led 462 laps at the .533-mile short track. Harvick won the Sprint Cup race at Bristol in April 2005. Harvick also has five Nationwide Series wins and one Camping World Truck Series win at Bristol. In Sprint Cup competition, Harvick has an average starting position of 18.0, an average finish of 14.3 and has completed 97.6% (13,189 of 13,516) of the laps he's contested there.


#5-Kasey Kahne: Crew chief Kenny Francis has selected Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-809 for Saturday night's race at Bristol. Kahne drove this chassis to an eighth-place finish at Bristol in March. Most recently, he raced this chassis at Dover in June. In 21 Sprint Cup Series starts at Bristol, Kahne has one win, five top-five finishes and 10 top-10s. He also has earned one pole position and has led a total of 472 laps. In this race a year ago, Kahne earned runner-up honors at Bristol after contending for the victory at the historic short track. Most recently at the 0.533-mile track, he led 16 laps and finished eighth in March.

#10-Danica Patrick: will drive Chassis No. 10-805 which was used for the first time in July 2013 at Indianapolis, where Patrick started 33rd and finished 30th. It was then used in September at Chicago, where Patrick started 23rd and finished 20th, and in October at Charlotte, where Patrick started 35th and finished 20th. The last time it was used was in November at Texas, where she started 30th and finished 25th. Since then, it has served as a backup car in 2014 at Las Vegas and then was regulated to the primary car at Bristol in March, where she started 36th and finished 18th. It was then a backup at Kansas and for the Sprint Showdown at Charlotte. The last time it was used was in June at Dover, where she started 28th and finished 23rd.

#15-Clint Bowyer: Chassis No. 800 serves as the primary chassis for Bowyer at Bristol. This chassis raced at Kentucky in June where Bowyer finished 23rd and Dover in June where he finished 4th. Chassis No. 804 serves as the back-up chassis and finished 12th at Darlington and 15th at Bristol earlier this year. Bowyer has five top-five and eight top-10 finishes in 17 starts and completed 7,936 of 8,516 laps (93.2%) and has led 137 laps.


#16-Greg Biffle: will drive primary chassis RK-896 which last ran at Pocono and finished 5th. This will be the fourth race of the season for chassis RK-896. Biffle has secured one top five and two top-10 finishes with this chassis this year. The backup chassis is RK-879 which last ran Vegas and finished 22nd. Biffle has 23 Sprint Cup Series starts at Bristol, earning six top-five and 12 top-10 finishes. He has an average starting position of 13.9 and finishing position of 12.0 at the short track.

#17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Primary Chassis: RK- 888 which last raced at Bristol in March, finishing 2nd. Backup Chassis is RK-877 which last raced at New Hampshire in July and finished 9th. Stenhouse has three Sprint Cup career starts at the World's Fastest Half-Mile earning one top-five and one top-10 finish.

#22-Joey Logano: will drive Primary Chassis PRS-917 at Bristol, which last ran at Michigan in June, finishing 9th. The backup chassis is PRS-844 which last was a backup at Kentucky.

#24-Jeff Gordon: crew chief Alan Gustafson has selected Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 24-819 for this Saturday night's race. This chassis has been raced once in 2014 with Gordon finishing 15th at Dover in June. In 2013, Gordon raced this chassis to finishes of 38th at Texas, seventh at Charlotte and sixth at Chicago. The 43-year old driver is tied for most wins among active drivers (5) while he is the active leader in pole positions (5), top-five finishes (16) and top-10s (24) in 43 Cup starts at the high-banked short track. Gordon is also the active leader in laps led at Bristol with 2,713, which is 1,209 more than second.

#27-Paul Menard: and the #27 Serta/Menards Chevrolet SS team will pilot chassis No. 466 in the Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. This #27 Chevy was utilized earlier this year at Kansas and Dover where the Richard Childress Racing team finished 17th and 10th, respectively. Menard has 14 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at the high-banked 0.533-mile track. His best start of fourth and finish of fifth both came in March of 2011. The Wisconsin native has completed 6,990 of 7,012 laps attempted (99.7%) at BMS.

#31-Ryan Newman: will drive chassis No. 467 in Saturday night's 500-lap event at Bristol. This #31 Caterpillar chassis was utilized earlier this season at Charlotte where Newman qualified 42nd and finished 15th. In 25 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events at Bristol Motor Speedway, Newman owns three pole awards including the spring races in 2003 and 2004, as well as the fall event in 2011. He has earned one top-five and 13 top-10 finishes. His best result of second place came in August 2004. Newman has an average start of 10th and average finish of 17th. He's led a total of 112 laps in competition. And, in the Nationwide Series, he owns one pole (fall 2006) and a 2005 victory.

#41-Kurt Busch: will pilot Chassis No. 727 in Saturday night's Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol. Last season, Chassis No. 727 made four starts as a #39 chassis. It was for updated for the 2014 season and saw its first laps of competition at Bristol in March, when Busch finished a less-than-desired 35th following an unavoidable incident in the latter stages of the race. He then raced this Chevrolet SS to an 11th-place finish in the Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte in May. Most recently, Busch scored a 12th-place finish with Chassis 727 at Kentucky in June. Saturday¡¦s Irwin Tools Night Race will mark Busch¡¦s 28th career Sprint Cup start at Bristol. Busch has five wins, one pole, seven top-fives and 14 top-10s at the .533-mile oval. Additionally, the 36-year-old driver has led 923 laps, has an average starting position of 18.3, an average finish of 14.8, and has completed 94.8 percent (12,808 of 13,516) of the laps he¡¦s contested there.

#48-Jimmie Johnson: Crew chief Chad Knaus has selected Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 48-728 for this weekend's event. This chassis is the same Chevy SS with which Johnson finished 19th at Bristol in March. The backup car is Chassis No. 48-784, which last saw on-track action at Charlotte for the Sprint All-Star race in May.

#55-Brian Vickers: will drive primary chassis 797 which finished seventh at California, sixth at Charlotte and 26th at Kentucky. Backup chassis is 812 which finished 43rd at Dover.

#88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Crew chief Steve Letarte and the #88 Diet Mountain Dew team will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-745. Earnhardt most recently raced this chassis to a ninth-place finish at Dover International Speedway in June. In 29 Sprint Cup starts at Bristol Motor Speedway, Earnhardt has scored one win, seven top-five finishes and 14 top-10s. The 39-year-old driver has an average finishing position of 12th and has completed 99.0 percent of all laps he's attempted (14,364 of 14,516 total) at the short track. He has led 790 laps at the 0.533-mile oval.

#99-Carl Edwards the #99 Fastenal Ford team will unload primary chassis RK-897 which was last run in spring of 2014 at Michigan, starting in the 22nd spot and finishing 23rd. The backup chassis RK-904 was last brought to Pocono in 2014 as the back-up car.

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Re: Irwin Tools Night Race Betting News and Notes

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

The NASCAR circuit moves to the World’s Fastest Half-Mile at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday night. This concrete oval track is 0.533 miles long with four turns all between 24° and 30° of banking since its 2007 resurfacing. The two straights have inclines of 6° and 10°. The Busch brothers have dominated at this track, combining to win 10 of the past 25 races here. Both Kyle Busch and Kurt Busch have five wins apiece in this span. However, the past six Bristol winners have been Brad Keselowski (twice), Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth last fall and Carl Edwards in March.

Drivers to Watch

Clint Bowyer (25/1) -
He has performed very well on the World's Fastest Half-Mile track recently, posting an average finish of 9.0 over his past five races. Bowyer also has seven top-7 showings in his past 14 Bristol starts. On all short-track races, he's placed among the top-10 in 55% of them, which includes two victories. He has also climbed four key spots in the standings to his current 10th place thanks to top-9 showings in four of his past six races. With the bargain price here (Bowyer was 10/1 last summer), place your largest weekend bet on Bowyer.

Brad Keselowski (6/1) - The best chalk to drop a unit on this weekend is Keselowski, who has won two of the past seven races this season, due largely to the fact that he hasn’t started worse than ninth in five straight events. But the reason Keselowski is worth the steep price on Saturday is because he has three top-3 finishes (including wins in 2011 and 2012) over his past six Bristol starts. Despite a weak 14th-place showing in March at this venue, he still led that race for 40 laps.

Ryan Newman (40/1) - He has never enjoyed a victory in Bristol, but Newman has sure come close with three poles and nine top-7 finishes. Among all types of venues, Newman has fared the best on short tracks with a 14.6 average finish thanks to 14 top-5's and 39 top-10's over 75 starts (52%). Newman has also been consistently strong all NASCAR season, staying among the top-8 drivers in the standings for the past eight races where he's placed among the top-11 in six of those events. At 40-to-1 odds, Newman is worthy of a one-unit wager.

Martin Truex Jr. (100/1) - His odds have multiplied five times from the 20-to-1 price he started with in this event last year. Although Truex crashed in that race and finished a disappointing 36th in March, Truex posted four straight top-12 finishes preceding this slide, including a runner-up to Brad Keselowski in the 2011 Irwin Tools Night Race. That was one of five top-5's and 10 top-10's in the short-track career of Truex. At triple-digit odds, he's worth a look on Saturday night.

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