If he works for Roush Racing, he’s possibly in a critical problem. Of the Roushketeers, 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 this week is returning to the tune wherein he gained his first race of ’06 (Fontana). Mark Martin is placing on to the tenth region by way of 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, certainly the item of many females’ affections, is idling androgynously in the 11th area. Those three men — Kahne, Biffle, and Edwards — are the best 3 drivers currently outside the pinnacle 10 who aren’t mathematically removed from the Chase. But a whole mess of drivers currently inside the top 10 may want to drop out with two terrible races over those subsequent weekends. I’m going to 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 in preferred. And whilst 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’re going to get from Jeffy Jeff. However, he appeared certainly proper on the Michigan -miler just weeks in the past, 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 as 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: 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, so it truly is a touch horrifying; however, his flat-track genius will serve him properly at Richmond subsequent week, wherein 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: 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 completely, very consistent two-miler driver, and I’d anticipate seeing him play it very conservatively and attempt to complete around the 10th region this week. But he has had some awful Richmond races over the past few years, and while he is as smooth as they get, a guy who is 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 way of finished 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 4 laps down there this year). If a person’s going to do 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 come back. 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 further 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’s were given a danger. Verdict: OUT.
Last Week: I didn’t get to look at it, but the Saturday night time race at Bristol changed into good to me over again, possibly because I pimp it so mercilessly. I had Matt Kenseth because the winner, and I also took Kenseth in a head-to-head matchup. That means for the week, we profited 1.41 devices (whilst setting 1.5 gadgets at risk each week); for the season, we’ve got had worthwhile weeks 70% of the time, including seven of the final 8 we’ve got profited a total of sixteen.01 units.
Note: The following odds are initial; I’ll alternate ’em before the race comes on Sunday while the online bookmakers publish their forums. I’ll additionally make a head-to-head pick for the week while those odds are online.
Take Matt Kenseth (+700), 1/6th unit. Is it probable that Milwaukee Matt wins 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 considering 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 fantastically clean driving force won’t as a minimum 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 right 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 go 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 all but 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 thru the sphere at Michigan two weeks in the past while something on his vehicle broke and he ate the wall. To me, which means the #five team has something found out, and if they could maintain the auto together, they can win here once more.