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Can-Am 500 Betting News and Notes

Can-Am 500 Betting News and Notes 1 month 6 days ago #460126

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Phoenix Raceway Data

Season Race #: 35 of 36 (11-12-17)
Track Size: 1-mile
Banking/Turn 1 & 2: 10-11 degrees
Banking/Turn 3 & 4: 8-9 degrees
Banking/Frontstretch: 3 degrees
Banking/Backstretch: 8-9 degrees
Frontstretch Length: 1,179 feet
Backstretch Length: 1,551 feet
Race Length: 312 laps / 500 Kilometers
Stage 1 & 2 Length: 75 laps (each)
Final Stage Length: 162 laps

Top 10 Active Driver Ratings at Phoenix

Jimmie Johnson 111.0
Kevin Harvick 110.3
Chase Elliott 107.9
Kyle Busch 99.7
Kurt Busch 97.0
Denny Hamlin 95.1
Brad Keselowski 94.1
Kyle Larson 92.7
Joey Logano 92.0
Erik Jones 91.9

Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2017 races (25 total) among active drivers at Phoenix Raceway.

Qualifying/Race Data

2016 pole winner:
Alex Bowman, Chevrolet
140.521 mph, 25.619 secs. 11-11-16

2016 race winner:
Joey Logano, Ford
102.866 mph, (03:08:59), 11-13-16

Track qualifying record:
Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet
143.158 mph, 25.147 secs. 11-13-15

Track race record:
Tony Stewart, Pontiac
118.132 mph, (2:38:28), 11-07-99
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Can-Am 500 Betting News and Notes 1 month 6 days ago #460127

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Phoenix - Driver Tale of the Tape

1 - Martin Truex Jr (No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota)


· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 84.4
2017 Rundown
· Seven wins, 17 top fives, 24 top 10s,
· Led 2175 laps
· Average Finish of 9.9

Phoenix Raceway Outlook:
· One top five, seven top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 17.565, 16th-best
· Average Running Position of 16.038, 15th-best
· Driver Rating of 84.4, 14th-best
· 183 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-best
· 4385 Laps in the Top 15 (61.1), 14th-most
· 471 Quality Passes, ninth-most

2 - Kyle Busch (No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota)

· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 99.7
2017 Rundown
· Five wins, 13 top fives, 20 top 10s,
· Led 1980 laps
· Average Finish of 11.9

Phoenix Raceway Outlook:
· One win, seven top fives, 16 top 10s; three poles
· Average finish of 12.458, seventh-best
· Average Running Position of 10.879, sixth-best
· Driver Rating of 99.7, fourth-best
· 363 Fastest Laps Run, 19th-best
· 6165 Laps in the Top 15 (82.3), fourth-most
· 675 Quality Passes, series-most

3 - Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford)

· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 110.3
2017 Rundown
· Two wins, 12 top fives, 21 top 10s,
· Led 850 laps
· Average Finish of 11.5

Phoenix Raceway Outlook:
· Eight wins, 13 top fives, 18 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 8.600, second-best
· Average Running Position of 8.851, third-best
· Driver Rating of 110.3, second-best
· 767 Fastest Laps Run, series-best
· 6334 Laps in the Top 15 (81.2), fifth-most
· 547 Quality Passes, fifth-most

4 - Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Team Penske Ford)

· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 94.1
2017 Rundown
· Three wins, 15 top fives, 20 top 10s,
· Led 777 laps
· Average Finish of 12.5

Phoenix Raceway Outlook:
· Five top fives, eight top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 14.000, 11th-best
· Average Running Position of 12.475, 10th-best
· Driver Rating of 94.1, seventh-best
· 268 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-best
· 3507 Laps in the Top 15 (70.3), eighth-most
· 397 Quality Passes, 11th-most

5 - Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota)

· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 95.1
2017 Rundown
· Two wins, 15 top fives, 21 top 10s,
· Led 517 laps
· Average Finish of 11

Phoenix Raceway Outlook:
· One win, ten top fives, 14 top 10s; two poles
· Average finish of 10.833, fifth-best
· Average Running Position of 12.168, ninth-best
· Driver Rating of 95.1, sixth-best
· 265 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-best
· 5240 Laps in the Top 15 (70.0), ninth-most
· 524 Quality Passes, seventh-most

6 - Ryan Blaney (No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford)

· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 83.0
2017 Rundown
· One win, four top fives, 14 top 10s,
· Led 290 laps
· Average Finish of 16.9

Phoenix Raceway Outlook:
· Two top 10s
· Average finish of 13.667, 10th-best
· Average Running Position of 12.799, 11th-best
· Driver Rating of 83.0, 15th-best
· 2 Fastest Laps Run, 32nd-best
· 684 Laps in the Top 15 (71.9), seventh-most
· 49 Quality Passes, 26th-most

7 - Chase Elliott (No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet)

· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 107.9
2017 Rundown
· Ten top fives, 19 top 10s,
· Led 526 laps
· Average Finish of 12.5

Phoenix Raceway Outlook:
· Two top 10s
· Average finish of 9.667, fourth-best
· Average Running Position of 6.581, series-best
· Driver Rating of 107.9, third-best
· 85 Fastest Laps Run, 15th-best
· 938 Laps in the Top 15 (98.6), series-most
· 73 Quality Passes, 20th-most

8 - Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet)

· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 111.0
2017 Rundown
· Three wins, four top fives, 11 top 10s,
· Led 217 laps
· Average Finish of 15.9

Phoenix Raceway Outlook:
· Four wins, 15 top fives, 20 top 10s; three poles
· Average finish of 9.120, third-best
· Average Running Position of 8.372, second-best
· Driver Rating of 111.0, series-best
· 710 Fastest Laps Run, second-best
· 6524 Laps in the Top 15 (83.6), third-most
· 660 Quality Passes, second-most
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Can-Am 500 Betting News and Notes 1 month 6 days ago #460128

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Can-Am 500 Preview
By Micah Roberts
VegasInsider.com

There's only one spot remaining for next weeks championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway and we'll find out Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway who that driver is as we close out the Round of 8 and eliminate four drivers.

Think of NASCAR's Playoffs this week like a conference championship game, or a Game 7, in other sports where half the contenders say bye-bye. Three drivers, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex, Jr. have already qualified to advance to next weeks Championship 4. Brad Keselowski is sitting in fourth-place and has a 19-point lead over Denny Hamlin, a 22-point lead over Ryan Blaney and a 49-point lead over Chase Elliott.

“You want to try to win the race," said Elliott who has a 9.7 average finish in three Phoenix starts. "The guy who wins that race is probably going to go on, we saw that last year. We weren’t really in the hunt there last year to win the race. We weren’t in the playoffs anymore at that point, so all those guys, you try to respect them as much as you can when you are not involved in it, but at the same time you want to win. Fine line you have to walk there, but just try to get the victory if you can to punch your ticket.”

Hamlin doesn't have to win to get in like Elliott does, but he's going to need some help with someone like Keselowski having trouble or he just has to win to get the automatic berth.

"We just need to keep digging to give ourselves a shot at a win this weekend," said Hamlin who won at Phoenix in 2012. "That’s the way we’re going to pull this thing off. We’ve been up front to contend for a win at the end of these past two races, and that’s our plan again at Phoenix.”

Jimmie Johnson has 28 starts at Phoenix and has an incredible 8.9 average finish, which includes four wins and 990 laps led. The seven-time champ is 51 points behind the fourth-place transfer position and is going to have to win to advance to the Championship 4 next week at Homestead. He was ninth in the March race and something to really consider is that his last win was in 2009, a span of 15 races have passed since then. From 2007-2009, Johnson went on a run of winning four of five Phoenix races. Remember, he's history in the making and worth rooting for. But maybe not actually betting on him, at least not odds to win.

"I know we’re building a better race car and taking a few new ideas to Phoenix," Johnson said. "We’ll go there and fight as hard as we can. One thing this team will never do is give up."

The dominant force at Phoenix over the past 14 years has been Chevrolet, a run started in 2003 by Dale Earnhardt, Jr. winning two straight races (2003-04). The manufacturer has won seven of the past eight races there and 21 of the past 27.

The leader of the pack for Chevrolet has been Kevin Harvick with a track record eight wins. He's made 29 career starts, averaged a 9.9 finish and led track record 1,484 laps. But the Bakersfield native drives a Ford now and in his first chance in it in March, he was sixth and didn't lead any laps, which is significant for him. Harvick grew up racing at Phoenix on all levels of racing. He won six of eight Phoenix races from 2012-2016.

Ryan Newman would win the March 19 race at Phoenix. He led only six laps on the day. Kyle Busch finished third and led a race-high 114 laps. Elliott, who has to win to advance to the Championship 4, led 106 laps that day and finished 12th. Kyle Larson finished second.

So much has happened since that race in regards to Joe Gibbs Racing becoming even more competitive. A good angle to approach in handicapping this weeks race is look at what happened in the four races at Richmond and New Hampshire this season, particularly the two recent races in September. All tree tracks vary in configuration from 3/4-mile to 1-mile, but the characteristic that stands out most united for all three is the balance set-up for a flat track. A few do it much better than others.

Here's what happened on those in quick format: Joey Logano won the April 30 Richmond race, but because his team bent the rules too far, the automatic berth in the playoffs for win was stripped. Matt Kenseth led the most laps and Keselowski finished second, Hamlin was third. Then Hamlin went on to win the July New Hampshire race with Truex leading a race-high 137 laps and finishing third. Larson would finish second and then on Sept. 9 at Richmond, Larson would get the win - his first not on a 2-mile track. Truex would lead 198 laps, Logano finished second and Newman third. On September 24, Kyle Busch led 187 of the 300 laps at New Hampshire and got the lobster and trophy. Only six lead changes among three drivers, yawn. Truex finished fifth and led 112 laps, Larson second leading one lap. Kenseth was third and Keselowski was fourth.

As you can see with the entire list, including what happened at Phoenix, there's a lot of the same names doing consistently well on all three tracks, and Harvick or Johnson haven't been relevant on these tracks anywhere. Harvick has a fourth at Richmond in April as his only top-five among the five races on these types.

One driver who is very relevant this week is Kyle Busch.

"We almost won that race in the spring, so I feel good about our chances again this weekend," said Busch who has finished fourth or better in his last four Phoenix starts. "From there, all the focus will be on Homestead and what we can do to win there. It’s nice to get to Homestead, but what matters is if you win it.”

Busch could park the car after starting if he wanted to, but you know he wants to win every race and I don't think he's too concerned about teammate Hamlin making the Championship 4, although Busch would probably love have a reason to race rival Keselowski hard and ruin his chances of making the Championship 4. Kyle never forgets and he's got a couple paybacks reserved for Keselowski stored away.

From the looks of it, this has another look of Kyle Busch vs. Martin Truex Jr. Because Harvick is in the Champion 4 already on the basis of his win last week at Texas, he's not desperate for a win. I'll bet this will be the first time since 2003 that I haven't included Harvick in my top-five prediction for Phoenix.

Top-5 Finish Prediction:

1) #78 Martin Truex Jr. (5/1)
2) #18 Kyle Busch (4/1)
3) #11 Denny Hamlin (10/1)
4) #42 Kyle Larson (8/1)
5) #2 Brad Keselowski (15/1)
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Can-Am 500 Betting News and Notes 1 month 6 days ago #460129

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Can-Am 500 Betting Picks
By Adam Burke
Bangthebook.com

There really isn’t a whole lot of drama to go around this week during the Can-Am 500. Three of the “Championship Four” spots have already been claimed as we look ahead to next week’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. That means that one remains this week at Phoenix International Raceway, but the best driver at that track punched his ticket last week with a win at Texas. Maybe it will create more intrigue than we think. After all, desperate times call for desperate measures.

This is the 35th race of 36 scheduled for the 2017 NASCAR regular season. With scoring changes, equipment changes, and a slew of new rules designed to incentivize the early parts of races and enhance the excitement for the fans, some things have worked and some things haven’t as officials ponder the future of the sport. The stands are emptier than they had been in years past and interest seems to come and go. While those discussions will be on hold for about 11 days because there are two races left to go, it’s fair to wonder how the future of NASCAR will change this offseason.

Martin Truex Jr. has three wins in the playoffs, but just clinched his spot in the final round based on his 50-point edge over Kyle Busch. Busch’s win at Martinsville means that he is in. Kevin Harvick’s win at Texas means that he is in. Brad Keselowski is only out if he finishes really poorly or if one of the other four drivers still in the running can secure a win. Those others are Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, and Jimmie Johnson. Keselowski is up by 19 points over Hamlin and 22 points over Blaney. Elliott and Johnson can only advance with a win.

Kyle Busch is this week’s race favorite per the odds at 5Dimes Sportsbook. Busch checks in at +275 to grab his fourth win of the nine playoff races before the championship. He has been on an absolute tear with five wins over his last 14 races after not winning any races until he ended the drought at Pocono. Busch was third with the most laps led in this race in the spring. His only win at Phoenix, however, came all the way back in 2005, so this has not been the best track for him. In fact, this is about the only track where Joe Gibbs Racing seems to struggle. Kasey Kahne has the only Toyota win at Phoenix in this race and it came back in 2011 with the Red Bull Racing Team. Denny Hamlin has the only one in the spring race and that came in 2012. This event has been dominated by Chevrolet.

Why? Because Kevin Harvick drives a Chevy. Harvick has eight career wins at Phoenix. The only other multiple winners in the spring race, which was added to the calendar in 2005, are Jeff Gordon and Ryan Newman. Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr., both Chevy drivers, are three-time winners of the fall race. Joey Logano’s win for Team Penske was the first non-Chevy win since 2011 in this event. Harvick has three of those four. He is +400 this week and is now a great bet. Had the pressure been on to win, things could have been more difficult for Harvick. With last week’s win and a freeroll this week, he’s an outstanding bet because he can be as aggressive as he wants and he owns this course.

Denny Hamlin is +550. He’ll have to take some chances to try and make up the gap over Brad Keselowski. Hamlin would need a top-five finish and for Keselowski to finish outside the top 25, if we eliminate the stage points. So, the odds are a little long for Hamlin, since Keselowski will mostly just stay out of trouble. But, Hamlin does have a win here in the past and has four top-five finishes in the postseason. It isn’t impossible, but he’ll have to be more aggressive and take some chances. The price point really isn’t good enough here, but he’s worth playing in some matchups.

Isn’t it weird to see Martin Truex Jr. on a 1.5-mile track not one of the top two choices on the board? It feels like he’s almost worth a token bet at +650 given what he tends to do on tracks of this length, even though he has not had as much success at Phoenix.

This might not be a bad time to take a shot on Kyle Larson. Larson has finished 39th, 37th, and 37th in the last three races after being one of the top drivers from the start of the year through the Round of 16. He’s been really good on bigger tracks and this is a track where speed generally rules. Larson drives a Chevy and will want to get the bad taste out of his mouth from the last three finishes. He’s at +725 this weekend.

Chase Elliott at +1200 isn’t a bad grab either. Elliott was second in three of the first four playoff races and then fourth at Kansas to advance to the Round of 8. He’s had a good car on some of the bigger tracks and has been quite solid on the 1.5-mile tracks.

It would be pretty cool to see Dale Earnhardt Jr. turn back the clock and get a win here at a +8000 price tag. Earnhardt is retiring after the season and has three career wins in this fall race at PIR. He last won in 2015 in a race that was shortened due to rain, so it has a big, bold asterisk because his other two wins came way back in 2003 and 2004. With an 80/1 return, though, it wouldn’t be the worst idea to throw $10 on a nostalgia bet.

Coverage of the Can-Am 500 will be on NBC on Sunday afternoon with a 2:30 p.m. ET start time.
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Can-Am 500 Betting News and Notes 1 month 4 days ago #460392

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Phoenix Fantasy Racing Preview
By: Jeff Wackerlin
Racingone.com

Detailed driver notes and statistics to help set your fantasy racing lineup for Sunday's AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Who's HOT at Phoenix

• Kevin Harvick has won five of the last eight races and has a 2.1 average finish in that span.
• Kyle Busch, who led 114 laps in the spring, has finished fourth or better in his last four starts.
• Joey Logano has finished in the top 10 in six of the last eight races, including a win last fall.
• Denny Hamlin has finished in the top 10 in his last four starts.
• Brad Keselowski has posted a 9.5 average finish in the 12 races since the track was repaved and reconfigured.
• Kyle Larson has posted a 2.5 average finish in his last two starts.
• Chase Elliott, who led 106 laps in the spring, has posted a 9.7 average finish in his three starts.

Keep an Eye On at Phoenix

• Kurt Busch has finished in the top 10 in five of the last six races at Phoenix.
• Martin Truex Jr., who finished 11th in the spring at Phoenix, has the best average finish (4.9) in the eight races in the playoffs.
• Rookies Daniel Suarez and Erik Jones each finished in the top 10 in the spring at Phoenix. Suarez a truck win at Phoenix and Jones has finished in the top 10 in all six of his XFINITY starts at the 1-mile track where he also has two truck victories.
• Ryan Blaney (13.7) and Jamie McMurray each rank in the top 10 in average finish among drivers that have raced in all three races at Phoenix with the current tire combination.
• Only five drivers have led more than 50 laps in the last three races at Phoenix with the current tire combination - Kyle Busch (189), Logano (140), Harvick (139), Elliott (106) and Matt Kenseth (55).
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. has finished eighth or better in six of his last eight starts, including a win in this event in 2015.
• Spring winner Ryan Newman (13.8 ), Jimmie Johnson (14.5) and Kasey Kahne (14.8 ) each rank in the top 10 in average finish among drivers that have raced in all 12 races since Phoenix was reconfigured and repaved.

MRN.com Staff Picks

Jeff Wackerlin: Denny Hamlin
Pete Pistone: Martin Truex Jr.
Robbie Mays: Brad Keselowski
Tyler Burnett: Kevin Harvick
John Singler: Matt Kenseth

Driver Notes - Ordered by Average Finish (Top 15) in the Last Five Races at Phoenix

Kevin Harvick has finished sixth in the spring for his eighth consecutive top 10 at Phoenix, which includes five wins in that span. Harvick has not led a lap in his last two starts, but led 1,064 in the previous six races. He hold the second-best average finish (3.7) in the three races contested with the current tire combination.

Kyle Busch is the only driver that has finished in the top five in the last four races at Phoenix. He led a race-high 114 laps in the spring and finished third. He leads all drivers in average finish (3.0) and laps led (189) in the three races contested with the current tire combination. Busch also ranks second in laps led (479) since Phoenix was repaved and reconfigured.

Daniel Suarez started 27th and finished seventh in his first Phoenix start in the Cup Series in the spring. The finish was also the first of his current total of 12 career top 10s in 34 Cup starts.

Kyle Larson has posted a 2.5 average finish in his last two starts at Phoenix. He led three laps and finished second in the spring for his third top 10 in seven starts.

Kurt Busch snapped a streak of five consecutive finishes of seventh or better at Phoenix with a 25th-place finish in the spring. The finish came after the team had to swap out batteries for a voltage issue to go along with a speeding penalty on pit road. Busch, who has an 8.4 average start in the last eight races at Phoenix, will return in the same car (chassis No. 1032) that he finished fourth with at Richmond.

Chase Elliott has posted a solid 9.7 average finish in three starts at Phoenix. He led 106 laps in the spring and finished 12th.

Denny Hamlin is one of three drivers that have finished in the top 10 in each of the last four races at Phoenix. The only time he led in that span came last year in this event when he was out front for four laps. Hamlin's lone win at Phoenix came in the 2012 spring race, which marked the second race since the track was repaved and reconfigured.

Jamie McMurray has finished in the top 15 in six of the last seven Phoenix races, including a second-place finish in the 2015 spring race.

Joey Logano scored his first win at Phoenix in this event last year after leading 58 laps. Logano has qualified in the top 10 in seven of the last eight races, including a pole in the spring. He led 82 laps in March, but finished 31 after a tire went down late in the race. The finish marked only his second outside the top 10 in the last eight races.

Brad Keselowski has the second best average finish (9.5) among all drivers that have competed in all 12 races since Phoenix was repaved and reconfigured. Keselowski finished fifth in the spring for his best finish in the three races with the current tire combination.

Ryan Newman is coming off his second win at Phoenix after leading six laps in the spring. The win lowered his average finish 12.0 in his seven track starts with Richard Childress Racing.

Erik Jones finished eighth in the spring for his first of 13 career top 10s in the Cup Series. In 2015, he competed in this event finishing 19th as a replacement driver for Matt Kenseth.

Ryan Blaney finished 23rd in the spring to snap a streak of two consecutive top 10s at Phoenix.

Jimmie Johnson finished ninth in the spring for his first top 10 in the three Phoenix races with the current tire combination. The finish was also his sixth top 10 since Phoenix was reconfigured and repaved. Johnson's last of four wins at Phoenix came in this event in 2009.

Ty Dillon has posted a 19.3 average finish in three Cup starts at Phoenix. He's finished 15th and 16th, respectively, in his last two starts with Stewart-Haas Racing (2016 spring race) and his current team Germain Racing.
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