Archive for November, 2011

Edwards, Stewart battle for Sprint Cup title

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

For Carl Edwards to win the Sprint Cup Series championship this season he just has to hold on for two more weeks – but he’s got to expect a challenge from the surging Tony Stewart when the circuit next hits the track on Sunday afternoon in the Kobalt Tools 500 at Phoenix International Raceway (3:00pm ET, ESPN).

Edwards picked up a respectable second-place result at the AAA Texas 500 over the weekend, but he still managed to lose some ground in the driver standings at that event because Stewart took the checkered flag. That puts Edwards just three points ahead of Stewart in the points race with two events left in the campaign.

Here’s a look at the updated driver standings heading into the Kobalt Tools 500 . . .

01 Carl Edwards (Leader)
02 Tony Stewart -3
03 Kevin Harvick -33
04 Matt Kenseth -38
05 Brad Keselowski -49
06 Jimmie Johnson -55
07 Dale Earnhardt Jr. -79
08 Jeff Gordon -81
09 Kurt Busch -87
10 Denny Hamlin -99
11 Kyle Busch -100
12 Ryan Newman -103

Stewart has been the hottest driver in NASCAR since the Chase for the Sprint Cup began back in September, winning four of the last eight races to put himself in a prime position to grab the series title at the end of the month. Edwards hasn’t won a Chase race yet this season, but his consistency has kept him atop the standings.

And on the Oddsmaker NASCAR betting board Edwards and Stewart share -120 odds to win the Sprint Cup this season, with nearest competitor Kevin Harvick back at +4000 to win the series championship. Matt Kenseth sits at +5000 odds, defending champion Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski have both been pegged at +7500 odds, and the rest of the Chase field’s championship chances have been written off.

Edwards is the defending Kobalt Tools 500 champion, so he’ll have that past success in his favor on Sunday afternoon, while Stewart ended up back in 17th place at this event last season. Johnson, Harvick, and Kenseth ended up fifth, sixth, and seventh, respectively, at the Kobalt Tools 500 in 2010, while Keselowski finished in 42nd spot.

Johnson, now a longshot to win the drivers championship once again this season, has claimed four victories at Phoenix International Raceway in the past, with all of them coming between 2007 and 2009. Harvick swept the Phoenix events in 2006, and Kenseth picked up a win on the track in the Checker Auto Parts 500 in 2002.

Stewart also has a Cup win at Phoenix on his resume, but you have to go all the way back to 1999 to find it – he won the Checker Auto Parts/Dura Lube 500 that season.

Jeff Gordon, who has slipped badly in the Chase standings, won both the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix earlier this season and that same race back in 2007. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (twice), Jeff Burton (twice), Mark Martin (twice), Ryan Newman, Kyle Busch, and Kurt Busch have all visited Victory Lane at Phoenix in the past.

Oddsmaker will have all your NASCAR lines and betting odds for this week’s event. The season wraps up on Sunday, November 20 at the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Stewart chasing down Edwards in Cup Series

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Tony Stewart will be looking to overtake Carl Edwards in the Sprint Cup Series driver standings on Sunday afternoon when the two top drivers hit the track in the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway (3:00pm ET, ESPN).

Stewart slashed Edwards’ lead in the Sprint Cup Series standings to just eight points with a win last time out at Martinsville Speedway in the Tums Fast Relief 500, and a similar result in Fort Worth this weekend would boost the veteran driver to the top of the points race.

Also lurking are Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski, who sit just 21 and 27 points, respectively, back of first place with three races to go in the season. Here’s how the Sprint Cup Series standings break down after 33 of the 36 events of the 2011 campaign . . .

01 Carl Edwards (Leader)
02 Tony Stewart -8
03 Kevin Harvick -21
04 Brad Keselowski -27
05 Matt Kenseth -36
06 Jimmie Johnson -43
07 Kyle Busch -57
08 Kurt Busch -58
09 Dale Earnhardt Jr. -73
10 Jeff Gordon -76
11 Denny Hamlin -80
12 Ryan Newman -89

Edwards’ lead has him as the -130 favorite at Oddsmaker to win the Sprint Cup this season, with Stewart at EVEN on that odds board. Harvick and Keselowski are both at +600 to come back and win the title this year, with Kenseth sitting at +3000 odds.

Johnson, the defending Cup champion, has just three races left to make up those 43 points and sits as a +5000 longshot to get that job done. Kyle Busch is then at +6000, with Kurt Busch at +7500, Gordon and Newman at +20000, and Earnhardt Jr. and Hamlin rounding out the list at +30000 odds at Oddsmaker.

The AAA Texas 500 is the second of two Sprint Cup Series events at Texas Motor Speedway this season; the first was the Samsung Mobile 500 back in early April.

Kenseth took the checkered flag in that race, with Clint Bowyer picking up a second-place result, and Edwards crossing the finish line in third place. Greg Biffle and Paul Menard also grabbed Top-5 results on that day, with Marcos Ambrose, David Ragan, Johnson, Earnhardt Jr., and Kurt Busch rounding out the Top 10 drivers in the race.

Stewart wound up in 12th place at the 2011 Samsung Mobile 500, and his lone victory at Texas Motor Speedway came in the Dickies 500 back in 2006. Rival Edwards has won three times on the Fort Worth track in his career – twice in 2008, and once in 2005. Hamlin is the defending champion at the AAA Texas 500, and he turned in a 15th-place performance in the Samsung Mobile 500 back in April.

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