Bank of America 500

This week all eyes are on Jimmie Johnson as he hits the track at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Johnson has dominated at Charlotte in recent years and all indications are he is the favorite again this weekend.

The Talladega race didn't feature nearly as many crashes as we expected, considering it was a Car of Tomorrow race on a superspeedway. Nevertheless, we did call the straight-up winner, Jeff Gordon. Unfortunately, our conservative betting pattern still resulted in a losing week, because our head-to-head selection, Kurt Busch over Jimmie Johnson, didn't come through. (Busch finished seventh, while Johnson finished second.) For the week, we lost 0.5 units on 1.5 units wagered; on the season, we're still up a net positive 9.04 units on 45 units wagered (a 20.1% return). (Note that if you eschewed the conservative betting pattern we outline below, and simply wagered one unit on every recommendation we give, you'd have won two units on four units wagered (a 50% return), and for the season you'd be up 33.95 units on 120 units wagered (a 28.3% return). Of course, such a betting pattern is riskier on a week-to-week basis.)

Take Jimmie Johnson (+375), 1/6th unit. Johnson literally has the name of Lowe's Motor Speedway emblazoned across the hood of his car. He's the king of Charlotte, site of this Saturday night's race, and there's little reason to expect he won't contend for a sixth career victory here. In 11 tries at this track,Johnson has never finished outside the top 10. He finished 10th here in May, but that was a result of a fuel-mileage event, in which the best cars didn't finish at the front. The odds are mighty unfavorable, but he's the guy to beat.

Take Carl Edwards (+1220), 1/6th unit. I think Edwards could surprise. He may only have qualified 18th, but he was fifth-quickest in the second practice and also very fast in Happy Hour. Edwards has the second-best finishing average at Charlotte over the past three seasons, and the second-best average (also to Johnson) on the three identical tracks of Atlanta, Charlotte and Texas in that same span. Edwards has won twice in Atlanta and once at Texas, and has finished in the top 10 in four of his five Cup starts at LMS. (And the fifth race, this May, was that fuel-mileage fiasco.) When all's said and done, I think the No. 98 gets pretty near the front as the laps wind down.

Take Matt Kenseth (+705), 1/6th unit. Kenseth has had terrible luck in the Chase, and is pretty much eliminated from earning his second career points championship. But it's worth noting that he's actually had pretty decent cars a few times in the last month, only to have an engine blow or have someone wreck him. Kenseth was exceedingly fast in Happy Hour as well, and while he's never won at Charlotte, he's a very good driver at these super-fast tracks that require patience and in-race adjustments. He'll start the race seventh, and he could end it first.

by Staff Writers - Email Us

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