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Oral-B USA 500 Betting News and Notes
Oral-B USA 500 Betting News and Notes
Atlanta Motor Speedway Data
Season Race #: 25 of 36 (08-31-14)
Track Size: 1.54-miles
Banking/Turn 1 & 2: 24 degrees
Banking/Turn 3 & 4: 24 degrees
Banking/Frontstretch: 5 degrees
Banking/Backstretch: 5 degrees
Frontstretch Length: 2,332 feet
Backstretch Length: 1,800 feet
Race Length: 325 laps / 500.5 miles
Top 10 Driver Ratings at Atlanta
Jeff Gordon 105.6
Jimmie Johnson 104.8
Tony Stewart 100.2
Carl Edwards 100.0
Matt Kenseth 96.5
Denny Hamlin 96.2
Kurt Busch 94.5
Kyle Busch 94.4
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 93.3
Martin Truex Jr.91.4
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2013 races (15 total) among active drivers at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
2013 pole winner:
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford
189.688 mph, 29.227 secs. 08-30-13
2013 race winner:
Kyle Busch, Toyota
135.128 mph, (03:42:14), 08-30-13
Track qualifying record:
Geoffrey Bodine, Ford
197.478 mph, 28.074 secs. 11-15-97
Track race record:
Bobby Labonte, Pontiac
159.904 mph, (03:07:48), 11-16-97
Re: Oral-B USA 500 Betting News and Notes
Atlanta Driver Tale of the Tape
Marcos Ambrose (No. 9 STANLEY Ford)
· One top 10
· Average finish of 20.3
· Average Running Position of 20.5, 23rd-best
· Driver Rating of 68.1, 23rd-best
· 8 Fastest Laps Run, 34th-most
· 739 Green Flag Passes, 19th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 170.119 mph, 23rd-fastest
· 876 Laps in the Top 15 (33.4%), 22nd-most
· 208 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green), 21st-most
Greg Biffle (No. Ortho Fire Ant Killer Ford)
· Three top fives, nine top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 15.9
· Average Running Position of 13.7, 11th-best
· Driver Rating of 91.3, 11th-best
· 237 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-most
· 993 Green Flag Passes, ninth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 170.998 mph, 13th-fastest
· 3,301 Laps in the Top 15 (67.3%), sixth-most
· 518 Quality Passes, sixth-most
Clint Bowyer (No. 15 SpeedDigital.com Toyota)
· Five top 10s
· Average finish of 19.8
· Average Running Position of 15.7, 16th-best
· Driver Rating of 84.8, 15th-best
· 76 Fastest Laps Run, 15th-most
· 865 Green Flag Passes, 13th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 171.054 mph, 11th-fastest
· 2,444 Laps in the Top 15 (57.5%), 15th-most
· 358 Quality Passes, 17th-most
Austin Dillon (No. 3 Dow Chevrolet)
· Average finish of 19.0
· Average Running Position of 20.6, 24th-best
· Driver Rating of 67.3, 24th-best
· 1 Fastest Laps Run, 44th-most
· 86 Green Flag Passes, 45th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 169.903 mph, 26th-fastest
· 1 Laps in the Top 15 (.3%), 47th-most
· 1 Quality Passes, 43rd-most
Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Home Depot Husky Toyota)
· Eight top fives, 14 top 10s
· Average finish of 12.7
· Average Running Position of 12.8, seventh-best
· Driver Rating of 96.5, fifth-best
· 190 Fastest Laps Run, 11th-most
· 1,018 Green Flag Passes, sixth-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 171.262 mph, sixth-fastest
· 3,415 Laps in the Top 15 (69.7%), fifth-most
· 528 Quality Passes, fourth-most
Jamie McMurray (No. 1 Cessna Chevrolet)
· Four top 10s
· Average finish of 20.0
· Average Running Position of 19.2, 22nd-best
· Driver Rating of 73.7, 22nd-best
· Series-high 1,145 Green Flag Passes
· 1,965 Laps in the Top 15 (40.1%), 18th-most
· 407 Quality Passes, 15th-most
Paul Menard (No. 27 Duracell/Menards Chevrolet)
· One top five, three top 10s
· Average finish of 20.7
· Average Running Position of 23.3, 27th-best
· Driver Rating of 63.6, 26th-best
· 899 Green Flag Passes, 11th-most
· 827 Laps in the Top 15 (21.1%), 24th-most
· 208 Quality Passes, 21st-most
Ryan Newman (No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet)
· Two top fives, seven top 10s; seven poles
· Average finish of 17.7
· Average Running Position of 18.6, 20th-best
· Driver Rating of 74.1, 21st-best
· 1,077 Green Flag Passes, third-most
· 1,742 Laps in the Top 15 (35.5%), 19th-most
· 346 Quality Passes, 19th-most
Tony Stewart (No. 14 Bass Pros Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet)
· Three wins, 10 top fives, 15 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 11.7
· Average Running Position of 11.4, third-best
· Driver Rating of 100.2, third-best
· 800 Green Flag Passes, 16th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 171.240 mph, seventh-fastest
· 3,231 Laps in the Top 15 (70.6%), seventh-most
· 490 Quality Passes, 10th-most
Martin Truex Jr. (No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet)
· Two top fives, four top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 20.3
· Average Running Position of 11.7, fourth-best
· Driver Rating of 91.4, 10th-best
· 890 Green Flag Passes, 12th-most
· Average Green Flag Speed of 171.359 mph, fourth-fastest
· 3,517 Laps in the Top 15 (76.8%), fourth-most
· 559 Quality Passes, second-most
Re: Oral-B USA 500 Betting News and Notes
NASCAR Odds and Betting Preview
By: Micah Roberts
LAS VEGAS - Four drivers have been listed as the 6-to-1 co-favorites by the LVH SuperBook to win Saturday’s Oral-B USA 500 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, and for good reason. Atlanta will be the sixth 1.5-mile track raced on this season, and the previous five may give us a good idea about who'll win in Sunday.
The Penske duo of Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano have combined to win three of the 1.5-mile track races. Keselowski, who had a career-best Atlanta finish of third-place during his 2012 Championship season, is one of the 6-to-1 favorites. He was able to reel in wins at Speedway Motorsports Inc. sister tracks at Las Vegas and Kentucky.
Logano, listed at 8-to-1 odds, won this season at the track that is most similar to Atlanta, Texas Motor Speedway, in April. His best finish at Atlanta was runner-up last season behind Kyle Busch, who took his second checkered flag at the high-banked track.
Busch comes in at 10-to-1 odds, which sounds attractive, but his Joe Gibbs Racing team is nothing like it was last season. In 2013, the JGR cars were the cream of the crop of these cookie-cutter tracks. They had won four of the first five 1.5-mile races and followed it up with an Atlanta win. But they have yet to win on any of these tracks this season. Busch can still be considered a conteneder since he won at the 2-mile layout at Fontana, a horsepower track, but it remains his only victory of the season, and the balance required for the steeper banking might not be there for him, or any other JGR car.
One of the three drivers who are favored with Keselowski to win Sunday night is five-time Atlanta winner Jeff Gordon. He gets high marks this week on the basis of his Kansas win in May, but what makes him superbad (that’s a good term) in this race is that he’s finished ninth or better at all five 1.5-mile track races this season. He was runner-up at Texas, a great sign that he’ll be among the top-five finishers. In addition to his five wins on the track, he also has five second-place finishes, including in 2001 when Kevin Harvick beat him by a track record margin of victory of only six-thousandths of a second (0.006).
Harvick also comes in at 6-to-1, and his last Atlanta win came in that 2001 race, which was just his third race in the Cup series after taking over for the late Dale Earnhardt. Harvick hasn’t won on a 1.5-mile track this season, but his Hendrick Chevy engine has powered him to two runner-up finishes at Kansas and Charlotte. While he had some sketchy performances with breakdowns in the first half of the season, he comes in on a streak of having finished 11th or better in his last five starts. The Stewart-Haas Racing team has put everything together at the right time, as there are only two races remaining before the Sprint Cup Chase starts.
Three-time Atlanta winner Jimmie Johnson also comes as one of the 6-to-1 favorites, partly on the basis of his win at sister-track Charlotte in late May. His fourth-place finish last week at Bristol was his first top-five since winning at Michigan in June. That win was during a stretch where he won all three of his races this season within four outings. We haven’t seen a 1.5-mile track since Kentucky, where he finished 10th, but the No. 48 team figures to come up big again. This race is huge for them, and everyone else, as five of the Chase races will be on 1.5-mile tracks.
The driver with the best chance of surprising everyone is Kasey Kahne at 15-to-1. He’s a two-time winner at Atlanta and he’ll be running the same equipment as Gordon and Johnson. Kahne is one of those drivers in pickle as far as the Chase is concerned because he’s 33 points out of the 16th and final slot, currently sitting in 18th place on the season standings.
With such a huge deficit for Kahne, he might be in a position to try to win at all costs. He’s fighting for his season, and he needs a lot of help for the Chase to become a reality.
Another driver with great success at Atlanta is three-time winner Carl Edwards at 30-to-1 odds. The Roush-Fenway Racing engines have been getting better lately. His best finish of late at Atlanta was in 2010, when he was second in the second of Atlanta's then-two race dates.
Re: Oral-B USA 500 Betting News and Notes
Oral-B USA 500 Preview
By Micah Roberts
It feels like forever since we’ve had a NASCAR Sprint Cup race on a 1.5-mile track, but the last time was only June 28 at Kentucky which was the fifth of 11 that will run on the season.
Only two races remain before the 10-race Chase starts and while there are some great races going on to see who will be among the final 16 drivers making it, the only thing that matters right now is who is going to win Sunday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
To get back into the mind frame of 1.5-mile racing, let’s check up on how the first five races on them went this season. The scoreboard so far reads: Penske Racing 3, everyone else 2. Brad Keselowski won at Las Vegas and Kentucky while Joey Logano won at Texas. Jeff Gordon won at Kansas and Jimmie Johnson took the checkers at Charlotte. Of those five tracks, Atlanta resembles its sister-track Texas the most.
Those four drivers, each with three wins a piece on the season, have been the big dogs all year. Dale Earnhardt Jr., also with three wins, is in that category as well with three top-5 finishes on the 1.5s this season. Kevin Harvick, with two wins on the season, finished second at both Kansas and Charlotte.
Last season at this time, we knew Joe Gibbs Racing drivers had the edge coming in as they had won four of the five previous 1.5-mile races prior to Atlanta. On race day, Kyle Busch continued that JGR run by winning at Atlanta. Chances are that we will see a similar scenario this week with the Penkse drivers being the two to beat
Last season, Logano finished second in this race. He comes in fresh off his Saturday night win at Bristol and should be primed to get his fourth win of the season this week.
Gordon is a five-time winner at Atlanta, the last coming in 2011. The first Cup start of his career came in 1992 at Atlanta, which ironically was the final race of Richard Petty’s great career. It was kind of like a NASCAR royalty torch being passed on.
In 2001, when Gordon only had three ATL wins, he finished 0.006 second behind rookie Kevin Harvick in the closest margin of victory in track history. That was a tumultuous time in NASCAR. Dale Earnhardt had just passed away and it was Harvick’s third career Cup start and he was taking over Earnhardt’s RCR ride.
Dale Earnhardt Inc. cars driven by Michael Waltrip and Steve Park won the first two Cup races of the season. Harvick won the fourth race at Atlanta and mixed between the odd supernational vibe is Gordon winning at Las Vegas in the third race of the season. Later on, Dale Jr. would win at Daytona in the ultimate tribute to his father. And then a few months later, Gordon would win his fourth and final season championship.
Adding to the lore of that era when Harvick began his career with such a splash is that he has not won at Atlanta since. He’s been ninth or better in six of his last seven Atlanta starts, but surprisingly no wins since 2001. Expect Harvick will be very good this week.
Top-5 Finish Prediction:
1) #22 Joey Logano (8/1)
2) #24 Jeff Gordon (8/1)
3) #2 Brad Keselowski (8/1)
4) #4 Kevin Harvick (7/1)
5) #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. (8/1)
Re: Oral-B USA 500 Betting News and Notes
Driver Handicaps: Atlanta
By: Pete Pistone
To assist in making your fantasy racing picks, MRN.com's Pete Pistone helps steer you toward Sunday’s Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Who's HOT in "The ATL"
Jeff Gordon: He’s putting together one of the best seasons of his career and that success could continue at Atlanta, where Gordon has been hot in recent years. He won in 2011 and followed that with finishes of second and sixth.
Matt Kenseth: Will the 0-for-24 winless drought end in Atlanta for Kenseth? There’s a good chance based on past history of the Joe Gibbs Racing driver, who has six top-10s in his last 10 Atlanta outings.
Kurt Busch: There’s been some life in the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing team of late and Busch has been stellar in Atlanta throughout his Sprint Cup career. He has a 9.2 average finish over his last 10 starts including four of the last five AMS races.
Kevin Harvick: Atlanta was the scene of Harvick’s dramatic 2001 victory and has been good to the Stewart-Haas Racing driver throughout his career. He has six top-10 runs in his last seven starts.
Kyle Busch: The defending race winner needs to snap out of a downward spiral of bad finishes and Atlanta could be just what the doctor ordered for Busch. He’s had three top 10s in the last four trips to Georgia.
Jamie McMurray: The Chip Ganassi Racing driver needs a win in one of the final two regular-season races to get into the Chase. But the odds are stacked against him based on past performances on the 1.54-mile track. McMurray hasn’t had a top 10 since 2008.
Paul Menard: Another one of the drivers that needs a "Hail Mary" to grab a Chase spot. Menard has an average finish of 21.0 over his last 10 races in Atlanta.
Kasey Kahne: There was a stretch in recent years where Kahne performed well in Atlanta, including a trip to Victory Lane in 2009. Recently, things have not gone so well for the Hendrick Motorsports pilot with four straight finishes of 32nd, 34th, 23rd and 36th.
Marcos Ambrose: One top 10 in his eight career Sprint Cup starts at Atlanta is all Ambrose has on his record.
Clint Bowyer: The good news is that Bowyer has three sixth-place finishes in his last 10 trips to Atlanta. The bad news is he also has six finishes of 20th or worst.
Who to Keep an Eye On at Atlanta
Jimmie Johnson: It’s easy to count him out with the recent stretch of challenges he’s endured. But the fact remains he’s had some very good days in Atlanta during his career, with four top-five runs in his last 10 starts.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.: The No. 88 team has shown that its willing to throw caution to the wind in search of victories since Earnhardt is locked into the post-season Chase. Look for crew chief Steve Letarte to take a gamble (or two) to put Earnhardt in position to take another checkered flag.
Greg Biffle: There was a glimmer of hope for the Roush Fenway Racing team earlier this month in Michigan, where all three drivers finished in the top 10. Biffle’s a good driver on worn tires and Atlanta chews them up in a hurry.
Denny Hamlin: Won at Atlanta two years ago but finished 38th last season. If his arm isn’t sore from throwing his HANS device at Kevin Harvick in Bristol, look for Hamlin to be a factor Sunday night.
Brad Keselowski: He’s finished sixth and third at Atlanta. He’s also been credited with 35th and 36th.
MRN.com Staff Picks
Pete Pistone: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Dustin Long: Jeff Gordon
John Singler: Matt Kenseth
Jeff Wackerlin: Kyle Larson
Re: Oral-B USA 500 Betting News and Notes
#1-Jamie McMurray: chassis not reported on race preview.
#2-Brad Keselowski: will drive Primary Chassis PRS-922 at Atlanta, which is a brand new chassis. The Backup Chassis is PRS-908 which last was a backup at Michigan.
#3-Austin Dillon: will pilot Chassis No. 465 in the Oral-B USA 500. This is the same DOW Chevy that Dillon raced to a 16th-place finish at Kentucky in June, a 16th-place finish at Charlotte in May and a 21st-place finish at Texas in April. In one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 2013, Dillon finished 19th.
#4-Kevin Harvick: will pilot Chassis No. 4-884 in Sunday night's Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Built new for 2014, Chassis 4-884 debuted in July at Indianapolis, where it started from the pole, led 12 laps and finished eighth.
#5-Kasey Kahne: Crew chief Kenny Francis has selected Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-820 for Sunday night's race at Atlanta. Kahne has raced with this car three times so far this year. He drove it at the Fontana, California, oval in March and at Charlotte Motor Speedway's All-Star Race in May. Most recently, he raced this chassis to an eighth-place finish at Kentucky Speedway in June. Kahne has earned a total of two wins at Atlanta, which is tied for his second-best track in career wins -- he also has two wins at Pocono. In 2006, he started from the pole position, led 85 laps and crossed the finish line as the winner. Kahne's second victory at the 1.54-mile track happened in 2009, when he led a total of 60 laps. Also worth noting is that 14 of the 106 (13.2%) Sprint Cup Series races at Atlanta have been won from the pole position, with the most recent one being Kahne in 2006.
#7-Michael Annett chassis not reported on race preview.
#9-Marcos Ambrose: chassis not reported on race preview.
#10-Danica Patrick: will drive Chassis No. 10-838 was a backup car in March at Auto Club Speedway and then was used for the first time in April at Texas, where Patrick started 24th and finished 27th. She was running in the top-15 with the car in June at Pocono but cut a tire, crashed and finished 37th. Backup Chassis No. 10-828 was first used at Homestead in November 2013, when Patrick started 24th and finished 20th. It was then put to use in March at Las Vegas, where she started 22nd and finished 21st. The last time it was used was in late March at Auto Club, where she started 27th and finished 14th. It was a backup car earlier this month at Pocono, Michigan and Bristol.
#11-Denny Hamlin: chassis not reported on race preview.
#13-Casey Mears: chassis not reported on race preview.
#15-Clint Bowyer: Chassis No. 816 serves as the primary chassis for Bowyer at Atlanta. This is a new chassis. Chassis No. 804 serves as the back-up chassis and finished 12th at Darlington and 15th at Bristol earlier this year. In 13 starts at Atlanta Bowyer has no top-five and five top-10 finishes and completed 4,027 of 4,252 laps (94.7%) and has led 114 laps. Bowyer's average start 15.7 and average finish 19.8.
#16-Greg Biffle: will drive primary chassis RK-922 which last ran at Indy and finished 13th. The backup chassis is RK-879 which last ran Vegas and finished 22nd. Biffle has 19 Sprint Cup Series starts at Atlanta, earning three top-five and nine top-10 finishes. He has an average starting position of 13.1 and finishing position of 15.9. Ortho makes its debut on the #16 car this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, and will appear on the car for two more races this season before becoming the anchor partner in 2015.
#17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Primary Chassis RK-914 is the same chassis that the Stenhouse Jr. raced at Dover where the #17 Fifth Third Bank team was battling for the lucky dog position, but was caught up in a wreck on lap 131 and was unable to repair the car, forcing Stenhouse to settle for a 41st-place finish. The backup chassis, RK- 877 last ran at New Hampshire and finished ninth. Last year Stenhouse Jr. earned his first career Sprint Cup pole at Atlanta. Stenhouse has one career Sprint Cup start at Atlanta finishing16th after overcoming being one lap down.
#18-Kyle Busch: chassis not reported on race preview.
#19-Carl Edwards: oops, not until next season.
#20-Matt Kenseth: chassis not reported on race preview.
#22-Joey Logano: will drive Primary Chassis PRS-919 at Atlanta, which is a brand new chassis. The backup chassis is PRS-907 which last was a backup at Michigan.
#24-Jeff Gordon: crew chief Alan Gustafson has selected Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 24-861 for this Sunday night's race at Atlanta. This chassis has been raced four times previously - all in 2014 - with finishes of sixth at the first Michigan race, seventh at Charlotte and Darlington and 13th at Fontana. Gordon leads active drivers with five wins, 16 top-five finishes, 26 top-10s and 1,297 laps led in 40 Cup starts at the 1.54-mile track.
#27-Paul Menard: and the #27 Duracell/Menards Chevrolet SS team will pilot chassis No. 454 during the 325-lap event at Atlanta. This #27 Chevy was utilized earlier this year at Las Vegas, Texas Motor, Charlotte, Michigan and Kentucky. The RCR driver has amassed two top-five finishes (Las Vegas, Michigan) and four top-10 finishes (Las Vegas, Texas, Charlotte and Michigan) with this chassis. Menard has 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at the 1.5-mile track. His best start of 16th came in 2013 and best finish of fifth came in March of 2010. Menard has one top-five finish and three top-10 finishes at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He's completed 3,849 of 3,927 laps (98%) and led two laps.
#31-Ryan Newman: will drive chassis No. 441 in Sunday night's 500-mile event at Atlanta. This Caterpillar chassis was utilized earlier this season at Kentucky (Start: 7th / Finish: 3rd) and Dover (Start: 14th / Finish: 31st). In 21 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events at Atlanta, Newman owns seven pole awards, including sweeping six straight poles encompassing the 2003 to 2005 Sprint Cup seasons. He owns two top-five and seven top-10 finishes. His best result of fifth place came last season and at the spring 2004 event. Newman has an average start of eighth and average finish of 18th. He's led a total of 175 laps in competition. And in the Craftsman Trucks Series, he captured a victory in the fall 2008 race.
#33-Ty Dillon will pilot chassis No. 460 Sunday night in the Oral-B USA 500 for Circle Sport Racing. This was last raced earlier this season by Brian Scott at Auto Club Speedway. Dillon will be making his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday night. In 2012, Dillon won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race after qualifying on the pole and leading 40 laps at AMS. In addition to making his Sprint Cup Series debut this weekend, Dillon will pilot the #3 Yuengling Light Lager Chevrolet Camaro in the Nationwide Series race at AMS. When the green flag drops Sunday night at AMS, Dillon will be only the 10th driver this season to have driven in all three of NASCAR's top series. The Nationwide Series regular raced in the second annual Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Realtree, the world's leading camouflage designer, marketer and licensor, will be on the hood of the #33 Chevy. Rheem, a leading provider of heating, cooling and water heating products such as gas furnaces, heat pumps, air conditioners and indoor air quality products, will be featured on the #33 Chevy 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: will pilot Chassis No. 760 in Sunday's Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta. Chassis No. 760 made its first start of the 2014 season in May at Kansas, where Busch started sixth and ran as high as fourth before a loose-handling condition saw the #41 Chevy drop to 29th when the checkered flag waved. Most recently, Busch piloted Chassis No. 760 at Indianapolis, where Busch appeared at times to be on his way to recording a solid finish, but an ill-timed caution period following a scheduled green-flag pit stop saw the #41's forward progress halted and left with a less-than-desired 28th-place finish. Sunday's Oral-B USA 500 will mark Busch's 24th career Sprint Cup start at Atlanta. Busch has three wins, five top-fives and 10 top-10s at the 1.54-mile oval. Additionally, the 36-year-old driver has led 665 laps, has an average starting position of 16.3, an average finish of 16.6, and has completed 91.5 percent (6,796 of 7,425) of the laps he's contested there.
#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. 48-797 for this weekend's event in Atlanta. This chassis is the same Lowe's/Kobalt Tools Chevy SS with which Johnson finished ninth at Michigan two weeks ago. The backup car is Chassis No. 48-799, which last saw on-track action at Kansas Speedway, finishing ninth in May. In 22 starts at Atlanta, Johnson has recorded three wins, 11 top-five finishes and 13 top-10s. He has an average start of 8.6 and an average finish of 11.9. Johnson has led 440 laps around the 1.54-mile track.
#51-Justin Allgaier chassis not reported on race preview.
#55-Brian Vickers: will drive primary chassis 815 which has not raced. Backup chassis is 801 which finished 13th at 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. 88-901. This is a brand new chassis that has not been raced. In 26 Cup starts at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Earnhardt has one win, two pole positions, eight top-five finishes and 12 top-10s. He has an average start of 15.9, and his average finish of 12.3 is his best at a track. He has completed 99.5 percent of all the laps he's attempted (8,359 of 8,400 total) there and has led 632 laps, his fourth-best at a track.
#99-Carl Edwards the #99 Subway Ford team will unload primary chassis RK-880 which was last run in 2014 at Kentucky, starting in the 14th spot and finishing 17th. The backup chassis RK-904 was last brought to Fall Bristol in 2014 as the back-up car. Edwards had his first Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series wins sweeping the weekend in 2005. He also won the second race there in 2005, sweeping the season. He won the fall race in 2008. Edwards has 16 Sprint Cup starts at the 1.5-mile track with an average start of 9.8 and an average finish of 15.2.
Re: Oral-B USA 500 Betting News and Notes
Oral-B USA 500 Post-Practice Betting Notes
By: Micah Roberts
Jeff Gordon wasn't fastest in any of the three Atlanta practice sessions run between Friday and Saturday, and he only qualified ninth, but the five-time Atlanta winner comes into Sunday night’s Oral-B USA 500 as the driver to beat.
Joey Logano was fastest in Saturday’s early practice session and Matt Kenseth was tops during happy hour, but neither of those drivers compare to the show Gordon put on in both of those sessions. Let’s just say that Gordon’s car takes a few laps to get going, and while other fast cars on single laps get slower after putting a few laps on their tires, Gordon’s car doesn’t show the same type of dropoff.
Gordon had the best 10-consecutive lap average in both of Saturday’s sessions, and during happy hour he was fastest among all that ran five-, 10- and 15-consecutive laps. The Atlanta fuel window will have considerably more laps than what Gordon showed in such a small sample size, but it’s as good as we’ve got to try and determine who will be strongest near the end of those runs. It's one of the more impressive showings of any driver during practices on the 1.5s.
So far this season on the 1.5-mile tracks, looking at the 10-consecutive lap average has been the best piece of data to review in determining who would be the best candidates to win after practices. Last year was the same story, with Joe Gibbs Racing winning seven of the 11 1.5-mile races. This season, it’s been all Penske Racing and Hendrick Motorsports, as the two have combined to win all five of the 1.5s so far.
While Brad Keselowski has two of those 1.5 wins this season (Las Vegas, Kentucky), Gordon has been the most consistent. He's been the only driver to finish ninth or better in all five, including a Kansas win.
So, we’ve established -- or at least made the case -- that Gordon has the car to beat. He’s been the best on these type of tracks and has more Atlanta wins than any active driver in the series. And there's also a little Atlanta nostalgia, such as Gordon winning his first career NASCAR race with a Busch series win in 1992, then later that year making his Cup debut at Atlanta, the same race in which Richard Petty had his last start. In 40 Cup starts at Atlanta, Gordon has led 1,297 laps.
Gordon will be using a chassis that has raced four times this season, with finishes of 13th at Fontana, sixth at Michigan, and seventh each at Charlotte and Darlington.
When I first looked at everything for this race, I looked nowhere other than the Penske and Hendrick cars while keeping a close eye on the Stewart-Haas cars of Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch. I think Tony Stewart can be added to the list, as well, but my biggest surprise came on Saturday from what I saw out of Joe Gibbs Racing.
For being so good last season, it’s like they had to sell their 1.5-mile soul the following year. The JGR cars won seven times on these tracks last season and don’t have any this year. A JGR driver has won at Atlanta the past two seasons. Matt Kenseth won seven times himself last year and doesn’t have any in 2014. Denny Hamlin’s only win of the season came at Talladega, where almost anyone can win.
But on Saturday, they got my attention and now have to be considered legitimate candidates to win with the likes of Penske, Hendrick and SHR. Kenseth had the fastest lap in happy hour, but Hamlin’s performance was the most eye opening, as he had speed on both short and long runs.
Hamlin, winner of the 2012 Atlanta race, had the fourth-fastest speed in the early session and was third fastest in happy hour. The only driver that had a better 10-consecutive lap average during happy hour was Gordon, which is some very good company.
If the Gibbs cars are on the mend on these tracks, this new Chase format that starts in two weeks becomes even more interesting and will make it harder than ever to pick the eventual winner.