If he works for Roush Racing, he’s possibly in a critical problem. Of the Musketeers, who had been so dominant in 2005, the best driving force sure to make the Chase is Matt Kenseth, who just rattled off two straight wins and thisto the tune wherein he gained his first race of ’06 (Fontana). Mark Martin is placing on to the tenth region through his fingernails and will lose out. Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards are dark horses at first-rate, and Jamie McMurray is nowhere to be discovered. Meanwhile, Kasey Kahne, the item of many females’ affection, is idling androgynously in the 11th area.
Those three men — Kahne, Biffle, and Edwards — are the best three drivers outside the pinnacle ten who aren’t mathematically removed from the Chase. But many drivers in the top 10 may want to drop out with two terrible races over those subsequent weekends. I will mention that Jimmie Johnson, Kenseth (who’ve clinched their slots), and Kevin Harvick (who has an eight-point gap on the fourth vicinity) are secure. Let’s check the opposite possibilities:
Kyle Busch: Currently: 4th vicinity, 402 points returned. Busch has a career victory at Fontana and is excellent at the two-milers. And while he hasn’t gained at Richmond, he is in no way completed outdoor the top 5 there, either. He’s as close to a lock as you may get. Verdict: IN.
Jeff Gordon: Currently: fifth location, 408 factors lower back. You in no way quite realize what you’ll get from Jeffy Jeff. However, he appeared proper on the Michigan-Miller just weeks ago, completing 2nd. That way, he will probably have a good piece this weekend, and he may also need it because he is finished 30th or worse in the ultimate 3 Richmond activities, including a fortieth this summer. Content for the win this week, and the pressure is off next. Verdict: IN.
Denny Hamlin: Currently: 6th area, 429 factors again. The Rookie of the Year has been awesome on the 2-miles (a ninth and two 12ths this year) and finished 2d in his first Nextel Cup race at Richmond. Anything can appear, but I assume Hamlin’s extremely secure. Verdict: IN.
Jeff Burton: Currently: seventh area, 435 points lower back. Burton is a testament to the truth that fortunes alternate speedy in Nextel Cup. Burton was a lock for the Chase these days as some weeks in the past. However, a popped engine at Michigan despatched him hurtling down the ranks. He led a ton of laps ultimate weekend at Bristol; however, while push got here to shove, he faded and finished 9th.
The blown engine inside the Irish Hills can also have been the first-rate element to manifest to this crew because it made them work even tougher in this weekend’s car. The RCR Chevys were fantastic at downforce tracks these 12 months, so I’d assume Burton to post a pinnacle-10 and stop various questions. He’s passable at Richmond, even though I would not expect him to win. Verdict: IN.
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Tony Stewart: Currently in 8th place, 443 points again. The defending Series champ had posted four straight pinnacle-10s to get over a midseason swoon, but he went out like a lamb at Bristol final Saturday, coming twenty-second after qualifying fifth. Stewart possibly had the second-one-best vehicle at Fontana way lower back in February. However, he blew an engine, which is horrifying; however, his flat-track genius will serve him properly at Richmond subsequent week, where he’s published three consecutive top-seven finishes. Verdict: IN.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Currently: 9th vicinity, 448 points lower back. Considering how properly he ran in this season’s two Michigan races and the reality that he gained the Richmond spring race, that is a no-brainer. Verdict: IN.
Mark Martin: Currently in tenth place, 450 factors again. I think Martin might be in hassle. It’s a shame due to the fact he’s been nicely constant this season, but starting in early June, he hit a patch that saw him fail to pinnacle the thirteenth region in five consecutive events. Lately, it has been one-race-on, one-race-off for Martin, and his 28th at Bristol remaining week was a killer. He’s got a 90-point bulge on Kahne, a 251-factor lead over Biffle, and a 261-factor hole on Edwards. He’s a consistent two-miler driver, and I anticipate seeing him play it conservatively and attempt to complete around the 10th region this . But he has had some awful Richmond races over the past few years, and while he is as smooth as they get, a guy behind him can rip off two splendid occasions and topple this apple cart. Verdict: OUT.
Kasey Kahne: Currently: 11th area, 540 points again. Without a doubt, Kahne saved himself by finishing twelfth at Bristol; it is no longer considered one of his best tracks, and the truth that he should get 48 factors on Martin became big. Now I’d have to say Kahne is a fave to overcome Martin in each of the subsequent two occasions; he completed fourth (to Martin’s ninth) in advance this year at California and posted his first career win at Richmond in ’05 (although he did have engine issues and completed four laps down there this year). If a person does it, this is going to be the fellow. I think he’s going to do it. Verdict: IN.
Greg Biffle: Currently: 12th vicinity, 701 factors again. Biffle is excellent at Fontana and Richmond; he had the exceptional car in the field right here lower back in February but had his engine pop. He has got four consecutive Richmond finishes of eighth or better. But this will virtually be to some distance to. He can win both of these races, and if the men do not wreck properly in front of him, he will nevertheless leave out the Chase. Bummer. Verdict: OUT.
Carl Edwards: Currently: the thirteenth location, 711 factors again. Edwards is outstanding at the 2-miles (what Roush car isn’t always? Placed your hand down McMurray); however, it isn’t as fab at Richmond. I do not think he was in danger. Verdict: OUT.
Last Week: I didn’t get to look at it, but the Saturday night race at Bristol changed into good to me over again, possibly because I pimp it so mercilessly. I had Matt Kenseth as the winner and took Kenseth in a head-to-head matchup. That means for the week, we profited 1.41 devices (while setting 1.5 gadgets at risk each week); for the season, we’ve worthwhile weeks 70% of the time, including seven of the final eight we’ve profited a total of sixteen.01 units.
Note: The following odds are initial; I’ll alternate them before the race on Sunday while online bookmakers publish their forums. I’ll pick head-to-head while those odds are online for the week.
Take Matt Kenseth (+700), 1/6th unit. Is it probable that Milwaukee Matt will win a 3rd instantly Nextel Cup occasion? Hell, no. But can he? Hell, yes. He has been awesome at this music type during the last numerous seasons: his common finish at Michigan in 2002 is an awesome 6.1. He’s come seventh and first in his final two Fontana activities. Kenseth can move balls out because he’s already clinched his spot within the Chase, and there is no cause to assume that this very clean driving force won’t, as a minimum, be content.
Take Greg Biffle (+800), 1/sixth unit. Biffle has one choice and one choice most effective: win the next races. And he can do it. He was by far the satisfactory automobile right here this spring and had a huge lead when his engine went horrific so that you can wager on him here sincerely, primarily based on the “track-owes-him” idea. And while Biffle took a step backward at a Michigan tune wherein he received consecutive occasions no longer too long ago (he completed 7th and fourth, which, consider it or no longer, is a step returned), he is still the unquestioned master when the tracks get wider. The cars can slide into the turns. While quite a few of the guys in front of him in the standings ought to play it conservatively, Biffle has to pass.
Take Kyle Busch (+1200), 1/6th unit. As I said above, the more youthful Busch is just about secure inside the Chase, and a pinnacle-five end nails it down for him this weekend. But he is gunning for greater. Fontana is the website of Busch’s first Nextel Cup win, precisely twelve months ago. I’m additionally recalling that he was streaking up through the sphere at Michigan two weeks ago when something on his vehicle broke, and he ate the wall. To me, it means the #five team has something found out, and if they could maintain the auto together, they can win here again