Archive for October, 2011

Sprint Cup Series arrives at Martinsville

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Is it too late for Jimmie Johnson to mount a serious challenge and win his sixth consecutive Sprint Cup Series title? At the very least he’ll get to race at a track where he’s had plenty of success in the past on Sunday when the series takes on Martinsville Speedway in the Tums Fast Relief 500 (1:30pm ET, ESPN).

Johnson owned Martinsville from 2006 to 2009, winning five of the eight events held there over those four seasons of racing. And to get back into contention for the Sprint Cup Series title this year Johnson will need another high finish this weekend at Martinsville in the 33rd of 36 races this season.

That’s because some middling results lately have Johnson 50 points back of first-place Carl Edwards in the standings with just four races left in the Chase, which makes him a +4000 underdog on the NASCAR odds board at Oddsmaker to win the title this season.

Edwards is the -150 favorite to win the Sprint Cup championship next month, followed by Brad Keselowski at +300, and Matt Kenseth at +350. Keselowski is actually in third place in the Sprint Cup standings heading into the Tums Fast Relief 500, 18 points back of Edwards, while Kenseth is 14 points behind the leader and in second place in the standings. Here’s a look at the updated standings heading into this weekend:

01 Carl Edwards (Leader)
02 Matt Kenseth -14
03 Brad Keselowski -18
04 Tony Stewart -19
05 Kevin Harvick -26
06 Kyle Busch -40
07 Jimmie Johnson -50
08 Kurt Busch -52
09 Dale Earnhardt Jr. -74
10 Jeff Gordon -82
11 Denny Hamlin -84
12 Ryan Newman -88

Tony Stewart is at +450 to win the title this season, with Kevin Harvick at +800, and Kyle Busch starting the second tier of contenders at +2200. After Johnson at +4000 it’s Kurt Busch at +5000 then the real longshots: Dale Earnhardt Jr. (+15000), Ryan Newman (+20000), Jeff Gordon (+20000), and finally Denny Hamlin (+30000).

Hamlin and Gordon, though, have combined for 11 career Sprint Cup wins at Martinsville Speedway and look to be in the running at the Tums Fast Relief 500 on Sunday afternoon. Hamlin won there four times between 2008 and 2010, while Gordon will be looking to get his first checkered flag at the track since 2005.

In the first race of the season at Martinsville – the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 in April – Harvick edged Earnhardt Jr. and Kyle Busch for the trip to Victory Lane, while Juan Montoya and Gordon rounded out the top five drivers at the event. Kenseth finished sixth that day, Johnson was 11th, Hamlin was 12th, Kurt Busch was 16th, Edwards was 18th, and Keselowski had to settle for a 19th-place result. Stewart, a two-time Martinsville winner, was well back in 34th place in the 2011 Goody’s Fast Relief 500.

Oddsmaker will have all your NASCAR betting lines and props for this week’s event.

Johnson sits as Charlotte race favorite

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Jimmie Johnson is listed as the favorite on a pair of NASCAR odds boards heading into this Saturday night’s Sprint Cup Series event, the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (7:30pm ET, ABC).

Johnson picked up the checkered flag at Kansas Speedway over the weekend, which vaulted him into third place in the Sprint Cup Series driver standings. That was enough to put the defending champion on top of the Oddsmaker Sprint Cup Championship betting board at +150 to win yet another title at the end of this season.

Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick are separated by a single point atop the Cup series standings heading into Charlotte this weekend, with Johnson just four points back in third place, Brad Keselowski 11 points back in fourth place, and Matt Kenseth 12 points back in fifth place. On the odds board Harvick sits at +300 to win the title, with Edwards at +350, Keselowski at +400, and Kenseth at +1200.

Kyle Busch (+600), Tony Stewart (+1000), Kurt Busch (+1200), Jeff Gordon (+3000), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (+7500), Ryan Newman (+10000), and Denny Hamlin (+30000) round out the NASCAR series title board at Oddsmaker. Here’s where they sit in the standings after the fourth race of the 2011 Chase . . .

01 Carl Edwards 2161
02 Kevin Harvick 2160 (-1)
03 Jimmie Johnson 2157 (-4)
04 Brad Keselowski 2150 (-11)
05 Matt Kenseth 2149 (-12)
06 Kurt Busch 2145 (-16)
07 Tony Stewart 2142 (-19)
08 Kyle Busch 2141 (-20)
09 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2118 (-43)
10 Jeff Gordon 2114 (-47)
11 Ryan Newman 2107 (-54)
12 Denny Hamlin 2082 (-79)

Johnson also sits as the +450 favorite at Oddsmaker to win the Bank of America 500 on Saturday night; he most recently picked up a win at Charlotte in this event back in 2009, and he also visited Victory Lane at the track five times from 2003 through 2005.

Edwards and Kyle Busch, who have never picked up Cup wins at Charlotte, are next at +700 to win on Saturday, with Gordon at +800, Stewart at +1000, and each of Kurt Busch, Kenseth, and Harvick at +1200. Harvick has had the most recent success at the track, winning the Coca-Cola 600 in May. Kurt Busch won the Coca-Cola 600 in 2010, while Jamie McMurray (+6000) is the defending Bank of America 500 champ.

Keselowski (+1500), Greg Biffle (+1800), Hamlin (+1800), and Kasey Kahne (+2000) round out the top tier of contenders for Saturday’s race; Kahne has taken the checkered flag at Cup events at Charlotte three times since 2006. Check out Oddsmaker’s NASCAR betting board for complete race odds for this week’s event.

Cup Chase rolls into Kansas

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

There’s a multi-car pileup at the top of the Chase standings heading into the fourth race of NASCAR’s postseason schedule on Sunday, the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway (2:00pm ET, ESPN).

Kurt Busch won last week’s event, the AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway, while Jimmie Johnson was second, Carl Edwards was third, Kevin Harvick was 10th, and Tony Stewart had to settle for a 25th-place result.

Add those finishes to the results of the first two races of the 2011 Chase for the Sprint Cup and you have Harvick and Edwards tied atop the standings with 2,122 points apiece. Stewart and Busch then sit nine points back of the series co-leaders, while defending Sprint Cup champion Johnson lurks only 13 points out of first place.

Here’s a look at the updated standings after the third race of the 2011 Chase . . .

01 Kevin Harvick 2122
01 Carl Edwards 2122
03 Tony Stewart 2113 (-9)
03 Kurt Busch 2113 (-9)
05 Jimmie Johnson 2109 (-13)
06 Brad Keselowski 2108 (-14)
06 Matt Kenseth 2108 (-14)
08 Kyle Busch 2107 (-15)
09 Jeff Gordon 2103 (-19)
10 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2088 (-34)
11 Ryan Newman 2081 (-41)
12 Denny Hamlin 2054 (-68)

Kenseth was fifth at Dover, while Keselowski was 20th, Kyle Busch was sixth, and Gordon was 12th, keeping all four of those drivers within 19 points of the series lead.

Earnhardt Jr. ended up in 24th place at the AAA 400, while Newman was 23rd, and Hamlin wound up in 18th place. Those three drivers need a strong result at the Hollywood Casino 400 on Sunday to get back into the series’ championship picture.

The reworked Sprint Cup championship betting board at Oddsmaker has Edwards and Harvick as the +350 favorites to win the title, with Johnson at +400, and both Stewart and Kyle Busch at +500. Gordon, Keselowski, and Kurt Busch are all sitting at +600 odds right now to win the championship down in Miami in November.

Kenseth offers some value at +2000 to be crowned the Sprint Cup champion this year, with Earnhardt Jr. back at +7500, Newman at +10000, and Hamlin at +30000.

Greg Biffle won this week’s race last season when it was still called the Price Chopper 400, and he also took the checkered flag in the LifeLock 400 at Kansas back in September 2007. Stewart and Gordon also have a pair of Cup wins at Kansas – Stewart in 2009 and 2006, and Gordon in 2002 and 2001.

Keselowski won the STP 400 on the track back in June as Kansas began hosting two races per season. Johnson (2008), Newman (2003), and Mark Martin (2005) have also come up as winners in Cup races at the venue.

Oddsmaker will have your complete Hollywood Casino 400 betting board this week.