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Ford EcoBoost 400 Betting News and Notes

Ford EcoBoost 400 Betting News and Notes 6 months 6 days ago #461157

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Homestead-Miami Speedway Data

Season Race #: 36 of 36 (11-19-17)

Playoff Race #: 10
Track Size: 1.5-mile
Banking/Turn 1 & 2: 18-20 degrees
Banking/Turn 3 & 4: 18-20 degrees
Banking/Frontstretch: 4 degrees
Banking/Backstretch: 4 degrees
Frontstretch Length: 1,760 feet
Backstretch Length: 1,760 feet
Race Length: 267 laps / 400.5 miles
Stages 1 & 2 Length: 80 Laps (each)
Finale Stage Length: 107 Laps

Top 10 Driver Ratings at Homestead

Matt Kenseth 107.7
Kevin Harvick 106.6
Martin Truex Jr. 101.8
Kyle Larson 101.6
Jimmie Johnson 97.8
Kyle Busch 96.9
Denny Hamlin 95.8
Chase Elliott 95.5
Brad Keselowski 88.5
Joey Logano 87.4

Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2016 races (12 total) among active drivers at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Qualifying/Race Data

2016 pole winner:
Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet
177.637 mph, 30.399 secs. 11-18-16

2016 race winner:
Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet
128.869 mph, (03:07:10), 11-18-16

Track qualifying record:
Brad Keselowski, Ford
181.238 mph, 29.795 secs. 11-14-14
Set in Round 1 of 3

Track race record:
Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet
142.245 mph, (2:48:56), 11-18-12
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Ford EcoBoost 400 Betting News and Notes 6 months 6 days ago #461158

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Homestead-Miami - Driver Tale of the Tape

Kyle Busch (No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota)

· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 96.9
2017 Rundown
· Five wins, 13 top fives, 21 top 10s,
· Led 1980 laps
· Average Finish of 11.8

Homestead-Miami Speedway Outlook:
· One win, two top fives, five top 10s
· Average finish of 19.833, 17th-best
· Average Running Position of 14.003, 10th-best
· Driver Rating of 96.9, sixth-best
· 194 Fastest Laps Run, series-best
· Average Green Flag Speed of 161.654, seventh-fastest
· 2215 Laps in the Top 15 (69.1), seventh-most
· 483 Quality Passes, seventh-most

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

· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 106.0
2017 Rundown
· Two wins, 13 top fives, 22 top 10s,
· Led 850 laps
· Average Finish of 11.3

Homestead-Miami Speedway Outlook:
· One win, eight top fives, 14 top 10s; one pole
· Average finish of 6.000, series-best
· Average Running Position of 8.928, third-best
· Driver Rating of 106.0, second-best
· 154 Fastest Laps Run, third-best
· Average Green Flag Speed of 161.753, fourth-fastest
· 2605 Laps in the Top 15 (81.3), fourth-most
· 508 Quality Passes, fifth-most

Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Team Penske Ford)

· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 88.5
2017 Rundown
· Three wins, 15 top fives, 20 top 10s,
· Led 777 laps
· Average Finish of 12.6

Homestead-Miami Speedway Outlook:
· Two top fives, three top 10s
· Average finish of 15.889, 11th-best
· Average Running Position of 13.782, ninth-best
· Driver Rating of 88.5, ninth-best
· 62 Fastest Laps Run, 11th-best
· Average Green Flag Speed of 161.422, ninth-fastest
· 1533 Laps in the Top 15 (63.8 ), 10th-most
· 354 Quality Passes, 12th-most

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

· Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 101.8
2017 Rundown
· Seven wins, 18 top fives, 25 top 10s,
· Led 2175 laps
· Average Finish of 9.7

Homestead-Miami Speedway Outlook:
· Three top fives, seven top 10s
· Average finish of 10.545, fourth-best
· Average Running Position of 9.638, fourth-best
· Driver Rating of 101.8, third-best
· 174 Fastest Laps Run, second-best
· Average Green Flag Speed of 161.706, fifth-fastest
· 2427 Laps in the Top 15 (82.6), third-most
· 640 Quality Passes, series-most
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Ford EcoBoost 400 Betting News and Notes 6 months 6 days ago #461159

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Ford EcoBoost 400 Preview
By Micah Roberts

Here we go. This is it! NASCAR's version of the Super Bowl and Final Four all rolled into one.

Sunday's Championship Race at Homestead-Miami Speedway will finish off the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season and we couldn't ask for a better final four drivers to participate. After 35 races, including nine playoff races, Martin Truex Jr. will battle 2012 champion Brad Keselowski, 2014 champion Kevin Harvick and 2015 champion Kyle Busch for the 2017 title.

No more points. This is all about who has the better finish among the four drivers. The past three seasons we've seen the eventual champion leave no doubt about it and win at Homestead's 1.5-mile high-banked, paper-clip layout. Harvick did it in 2014, Busch in 2015 and Jimmie Johnson did it last season. The odd thing about those three wins is that it was their first win ever at Homestead.

Another oddity this week is that Chevrolet won't have anything at stake in this year's Championship Race. Chevrolet has been driven by 10 of the past 12 champions, including seven by Johnson, two by Tony Stewart and one by Harvick. But Harvick drives a Ford now. The only two drivers to get in the way of the Chevy steamroller in the past 14 years was Keselowski's Dodge in 2012 and Kyle Busch's Toyota in 2015. Truex, Busch's corporate teammate, will be driving a Toyota as well.

This will be Busch's third straight season competing in the Championship 4 and he's ready to go.

“It’s obviously a great opportunity to be able to go race for a championship, and that’s what this format is," said Busch, who grew up in Las Vegas. "It doesn’t mean a whole lot to make it to the Championship 4 if you don’t win it. You know, it’s all reset to zero. There are four of us who go for winner-take-all at Homestead. It means a lot to have that opportunity not only for myself, but for M&M’S Caramel, Toyota, Interstate Batteries and everyone at JGR who helps us to be as good as we’ve been. It’s what your whole season comes down to. I’m looking forward to Homestead and we’ll see if we can bring home another championship.”

As a fellow Las Vegan, it says in the city rules that I have to root for Kyle Busch to win the title Sunday, and I'm okay with that. And at least I'm not rooting for the favorite here because someone else has been much better on these type of tracks.

With this being a 1.5-mile track, we don't need to look anywhere else than Truex to identify who the overwhelming favorite is. The layout at Homestead is vastly different from all the tri-ovals around the circuit, but the set-up requirements are still similar. Truex has never won at Homestead, but did finish second there in 2006 and third in 2011. In 2015 when he was one of the final four drivers at Homestead, he finished 12th driving a Chevrolet at the time.

I remember wondering after the 2015 season why the Furniture Row team would make the switch from Chevrolet to Toyota. It seemed silly after he had his best career finish on a season with fourth-place to make the switch. Well, things turned out just fine and since the 2016 season no one has been better on 1.5-mile tracks than Truex. This season he won on six of the 10 races on them. He won four straight on them heading into November before Harvick finally ended his run at Texas. But Truex would finish second and lead a race-high 107 laps that day.

Harvick, who made the Championship Race due to that Texas win, is the active leader at Homestead with a 6.9 average finish and 315 laps led. he's finished in the top-five in eight of his 16 starts. Momentum from Texas will definitely give him a boost here, as will his experience of winning a championship already. That is the one edge he has on Truex. The Bakersfield native is pumped about possibly getting his second championship in four seasons.

“It means a lot, especially this year switching everything to Ford and just seeing the steady climb of performance and peaking as the playoffs started and running well on really every racetrack that we’ve been to," Harvick said. "And this has been, by far, our best round – all three top-fives with a win. It’s the right time of the year to be peaking. I feel really good about our mile-and-a-half program. Homestead has been a great racetrack for us through the years and, hopefully, we can go down there and contend. I think, for us, you’re really happy with where you are just for the fact that as a company we know what we went through and we’re kind of playing with house money at this point. So we’re gonna go down there and wing it and see what happens.”

Kyle Busch hasn't won on a 1.5-mile track this season, but you can tell that their program has been severely upgraded since July. Joe Gibbs Racing didn't even win a race in 2017 until the 19th race at New Hampshire (Denny Hamlin). Busch got his first win of the season in Race 21 from the pole at Pocono, then he'd win at Bristol, New Hampshire, Dover and Martinsville. That's five wins in a 15 race span which is where his edge rests. He's supremely confident and he knows he's got a car to get the job done and win his second title.

“It’s huge," said Busch of the opportunity to be put in a special class of NASCAR history. "It’s our opportunity to succeed and you know God’s given us every opportunity to go do that. Joe and J.D. Gibbs, Coy Gibbs, everybody on this Joe Gibbs Racing team, they’re phenomenal. Adam (Stevens, crew chief) and the guys had great racecars for me all season long, but we were able to turn those good cars into wins the second half of the year and we were hoping for one more this weekend. That’s what it’s likely going to take to win the championship.”

I haven't seen what chassis his team is bringing to Homestead, but I have a feeling they want to close it out with their best and that would be the sweet ride they used at Kansas last month that led a race-high 112 laps. Stay tuned for details as chatter around the garage becomes more known.

Keselowski comes in as the long shot here just because he hasn't done much on the 1.5s since winning at Atlanta in March, the first race on a 1.5 in 2017. Every other team got better and they stayed the same. They didn't evolve and Toyota kept getting better. He won two of the first five races in 2017 and didn't win again until last month at Talladega, a track more about luck, the driver and throwing darts than actual performance of the car. Homestead won't offer that type of randomness which is why he is the long shot.

The best candidates to win among the rest of the field not involved in the Championship is Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson and Matt Kenseth. Wouldn't it be something to see Kenseth possibly end his career with two wins to close out the season? I can't believe no team thought Kenseth wouldn't make them better. He doesn't want to drive a jalopy for an underfunded team, so he's saying good-bye after this race. Class guy, he'll be missed, and again I'm getting old. All my guys are retiring. I've watched them come in as fired up rookies and go as worn out veterans.

Anyway, Hamlin has won this race twice in his career, the last coming in 2013, and he's had a top-five finish in the past six races on 1.5-mile tracks. Larson finished second in this race last season, fifth the year before. This track fits him well because he likes to ride high right next to the wall all the way around.

Top-5 Fnish Prediction:

1) #78 Martin Truex Jr. (7/2)
2) #18 Kyle Busch (5/1)
3) #11 Denny Hamlin (15/1)
4) #4 Kevin Harvick (8/1)
5) #42 Kyle Larson (9/1) .
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Ford EcoBoost 400 Betting News and Notes 6 months 6 days ago #461160

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Ford EcoBoost 400 Betting Picks
By Adam Burke

Homestead-Miami Speedway is the last stop for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, and Brad Keselowski all have the chance to walk away a champion. The other drivers will all be running for pride and paychecks. The Ford EcoBoost 400 is the capper to the NASCAR Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway and signals the end of the NASCAR season. We’ll get things fired up again in mid-February at Daytona International Speedway, but a lot of things are left to be decided this weekend.

For the first time in the postseason, a race was won by somebody not still active for the title. Last week’s win for Matt Kenseth at Phoenix was nice to see, since Kenseth is pondering his future in the sport. His win at PIR was his first in 51 races. He was eliminated from championship contention after the Round of 12, but that win was a big one for him as he takes some time off from the sport.

That win came at the expense of Denny Hamlin, who led the most laps, won the second stage, and was in position to advance to the Final Four, but wrecked. Hamlin and Chase Elliott went back and forth all day long. Elliott finished second as a guy that we tipped last week, but that wasn’t enough to put him in the championship group. It was win or bust for Elliott and he narrowly busted.

This is the 36th and final race of what has been an interesting NASCAR season. The scoring format changes seem to have worked in terms of creating more drama, but ratings and attendance took a hit this season. We’ll have to see what NASCAR officials have planned for the offseason to get the sport back up to its previous levels. That will be a discussion for another day. For now, we’re looking ahead to the championship race.

The 1.5-mile oval at Homestead-Miami is a once-a-year stop, solely for the purposes of determining a champion. This race has been the final one of the season since 2002. Ford owns the most wins in this race, but a Ford hasn’t won since 2010. Chevrolet has four of the last six wins and Toyota has the other two. One Ford driver, Brad Keselowski, is joined by one Chevy driver, Kevin Harvick, and two Toyota drivers, Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch, as the last four standing.

The race favorite this week is not a surprise at all. This is a 1.5-mile track, therefore 5Dimes Sportsbook has Martin Truex Jr. priced at +230. Truex has not won here and really hasn’t had much success here. He was second way back in 2006, third in 2011, and fourth in 2013. Over the last three years at Homestead, Truex is 36th, 12th, and 17th. He has finished in the top three in each of his last four races, though, so he is rounding back into his usual form. Truex has wins at Las Vegas, Kansas, Kentucky, Chicagoland, and Charlotte this season, which are all 1.5-mile tracks. You have to respect that type of success and clearly oddsmakers have.

Kyle Busch is +350 to grab the win and the title. Busch does have a win here and it came back in 2015. He was sixth last year. Busch started out hot with two wins in the Round of 16, but only has one win and one top-five finish in the six playoff races since. Over the last two years, Busch has come into Homestead with three straight top-five finishes. That is not the case this season. With his teammate’s dominance on 1.5-mile tracks, Busch hasn’t fared as well on them as he would have liked. He’s been better on short tracks this year. Obviously Busch is dangerous no matter the layout, but he may not be worth this low price this week. There are better options around him or it is probably a better option to take the short price with Truex.

Kevin Harvick is +400 this week. Harvick has really come on strong. His line regular season win came at Sonoma, which was pretty random for a guy who usually runs better on ovals and runs with a lot of speed. He won the race at Texas to punch his ticket into this round and then finished fifth at Phoenix, a track that he typically shows well at every time the circuit goes there. Harvick has two fifths and a win in his last three races. He led the most laps and won the first two stages at Charlotte. He has finished first, second, and third at Homestead over the last three years and hasn’t finished outside the top 10 since 2007. He isn’t a bad bet, but a price this low is a little surprising.

I was hoping for a better number on Kyle Larson, but we did not get one. Larson is the co-third favorite with Harvick at +400. Larson has been very quiet lately and has had no luck in the playoffs. With a couple of blown engines and a couple of wrecks, Larson has finished 39th, 37th, 37th, and 40th the last four races, though he has stage wins in each of the last two. Larson likes bigger tracks, with wins in both Michigan races this season and a lot of high finishes on the 1.5-mile ovals this year. He has back-to-back top-five finishes at Homestead. This price point probably isn’t worth it for him, but don’t be surprised if he wins. Try some matchups with him.

A massive drop-off to Brad Keselowski at +1150 precedes another big drop-off to Denny Hamlin and the rest of the field at +1650 or higher. Given what we’ve seen recently, one of the top drivers will secure the win here. We haven’t seen many long shots hit the board, aside from Kenseth last week. Hamlin is a two-time winner of this race and he has a chip on his shoulder after how last week ended, so he’s probably the most dangerous long shot. Only Tony Stewart and Greg Biffle have more career wins at Homestead than Hamlin.
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