TOP 5 DRIVERS

AdvoCare 500 from ATLANTA

My #5 driver could clinch his spot in The Chase Sunday night, #18 Kyle Busch. Kyle is a former-winner in Atlanta. He has 15 starts: one win, and four Top 5’s. Kyle just needs a 10th place or better to guarantee himself a spot in the Chase. Kyle is #2 hottest over the last six weeks.

 

The #4 driver is a three-time former-winner here, #78 Kurt Busch. Kurt has 22 starts, three wins, and four Top 5 finishes. Kurt is fighting hard to get back in the Top 10 in points and is looking at this race as a great place to do that. Kurt is just six points out. He might be moving on from his current team but he still wants to make this Chase.

 

My #3 driver is a former winner here in the A-T-L, #29 Kevin Harvick. Kevin has 21 starts, one win, and five Top 5’s. Kevin doesn’t have the best stats in Atlanta, but he finished 5th here last year and five of his last six races here were Top 10’s.

 

My #2 pick is a driver that has never won here, #20 Matt Kenseth. Matt is 0 and 24 here. But Matt has five Top 5’s in his last 11 starts. Even with no wins, Matt is one of the most consistent drivers here, giving him the #2 highest-average finish. A 7th place finish will get Matt into the Chase.

 

The #1 driver is the winning-est current driver here, #24 Jeff Gordon. Jeff has five wins in 39 starts with 16 Top 5’s. Jeff’s first win came in spring of 1995 and his last was in 2011 – a span of 16 years. Jeff was, and still is, very good here and he needs to be good for him to make The Chase.

 

 

Monday look for our preview of the Federated Auto Parts 400 from Richmond International Speedway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOP 30 DRIVERS

TOP 30 POWER RANKINGS

AdvoCare 500 from ATLANTA

 

1. JEFF GORDON #24

2. MATT KENSETH #20

3. KEVIN HARVICK #29

4. KURT BUSCH #78

5. KYLE BUSCH #18

6. JIMMIE JOHNSON #48

7. KASEY KAHNE #5

8. BRAD KESELOWSKI #2

9. BRIAN VICKERS #55

10. DALE EARNHARDT JR #88

11. JUAN PABLO MONTOYA #42

12. CARL EDWARDS #99

13. GREG BIFFLE #16

14. MARTIN TRUEX #56

15. DENNY HAMLIN #11

16. CLINT BOWYER #15

17. PAUL MENARD #27

18. JEFF BURTON #31

19. RYAN NEWMAN #39

20. MARCOS AMBROSE #9

21. A. J. ALLMENDINGER #47

22. JOEY LOGANO #22

23. MARK MARTIN #14

24. JAMIE MCMURRAY #1

25. ARIC ALMIROLA #43

26. RICKY STENHOUSE #17

27. CASEY MEARS #13

28. DANICA PATRICK #10

29. DAVID REUTIMANN #83

30. DAVID RAGAN #34

 

Friday we break down the Top 5 drives to watch.

TOP 10 TEAMS

TOP 10 TEAMS POST BRISTOL

1. PENSKE RACING

2. HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS

3. JOE GIBBS RACING

4. FURNITURE ROW RACING

5. ROUSH/FENWAY RACING 

6. MICHAEL WALTRIP RACING

7. RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING

8. EARNHARDT GANASSI RACING

9. RICHARD PETTY MOTORSPORTS

10. STEWART HAAS RACING

 

After eight consecutive weeks at #1 Hendrick Motorsports falls out of the top spot and goes to #2. Penske Racing takes over the #1 place for the second time, they were there the week after Daytona.  Joe Gibbs Racing moves up two places to #3. Furniture Row Racing falls from #3 to #4. Roush/Fenway Racing also drop a spot they go to #5.  Michael Waltrip Racing trade places with Richard Childress Racing. The last three places remain the same from last week.

 

 

These are the Top 10 Owner/Teams, Thursday look for our Top 30 drivers at Richmond Int Raceway.

TOP 10 DRIVERS by TRACK TYPE

TOP 10: INTERMEDIATE TRACKS

1. JIMMIE JOHNSON #48

2. KEVIN HARVICK #29

3. CARL EDWARDS #99

4. MATT KENSETH #20

5. DENNY HAMLIN #11

6. GREG BIFFLE #16

7. KYLE BUSCH #18

8. CLINT BOWYER #15

9. TONY STEWART #14

10. KURT BUSCH #78

Top 10 drivers on Intermediate tracks, Wednesday look for our Top 10 Teams and Thursday look for our Top 30 driver rankings for Sunday’s AdvoCare 500 from Atlanta Motor Speedway.  

RACE PREVIEW

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ADVOCARE 500

ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY

September 1st, 7:30PM ET on ESPN TV

1.54 Miles 24 Degrees of Banking

 

We have just two races to go until the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Atlanta is the fastest and probably the #1 favorite track amongst the drivers to drive on. Great sweeping turns and a smooth surface are two of the main reasons. At 1.54 miles it is a tad bigger than the many other “cookie cutter tracks.” Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing are tied with five wins each in the last ten years. That is ten of the last 18 races! No question these two teams dominate here. Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch and Jeff Gordon are on the outside looking in the Top 12 and  Ryan Newman and Martin Truex are just barely hanging in with the Chase drivers.. This race is the third night race here in what is turning into a Labor Day weekend tradition and P-A-R-T-Y. Who will lock into the Chase? It looks very likely we’ll find out on Sunday night.

 

Tuesday look for our Top 10 Teams for week 25.  Thursday we rank the top 30 drivers for the Advocare 500.

TOP 5 DRIVERS

Irwin Tools Night Race from BRISTOL

The number #5 driver to watch is a five-time former-winner here, #78 Kurt Busch. Kurt has 25 starts, those five wins and just seven Top 5 finishes. Kurt’s last win may have come in ’06, and he may leave his team at the end of the year, but he finished 4th here earlier in the year and is 6th hottest over the last six weeks. 

      

My #4 driver needs points badly, #2 Brad Keselowski. Brad sits 8th in points, has no wins yet this season and if he has a couple of bad runs he could miss the Chase. He is very happy to be at a place where in seven starts he has two wins and three Top 5’s, including 3rd place last March.

 

The number #3 driver to watch is the fourth hottest on the circuit right now and has the worst stats here,  #15 Clint Bowyer. Clint has 14 starts, no wins and five Top 5’s.  Just five Top 5’s is not spectacular, but three of those came in the last six races. He is just getting better here in Thunder Valley.

 

The #2 pick is my highest rated short track driver, #48 Jimmie Johnson. Jimmie has 21 starts, one win and seven Top 5’s. More importantly three of those Top 5’s came in his last six races. He is coming off a blown motor last week at Michigan and is still 3rd hottest over the last 6 weeks. There have been some changes to the track here and no one is better at dealing with changes than his team, Hendrick Motorsports.

 

The #1 driver to watch is yet another driver with five C

up wins at Bristol, #18 Kyle Busch. But even more impressive is the fact that Kyle has 14 wins at this track across all three series here. He got number 14 Wednesday in the Camping World truck series. He’ll be in the Nationwide race tonight and of course Saturday night in the Cup race. Kyle comes in with five wins in just 17 starts, he also has eight Top 5’s including his second place finish to Kasey Kahne in March. He is my #2 rated short track driver.

TOP 30 DRIVERS

TOP 30 POWER RANKINGS

IRWIN TOOLS NIGHT RACE-BRISTOL

 

1. KYLE BUSCH #18

2. JIMMIE JOHNSON #48

3. CLINT BOWYER #15

4. BRAD KESELOWSKI #2

5. KURT BUSCH #78

6. KEVIN HARVICK #29

7. DALE EARNHARDT JR #88

8. KASEY KAHNE #5

9. JAMIE MCMURRAY #1

10. MATT KENSETH #20

11. MARTIN TRUEX #56

12. CARL EDWARDS #99

13. RYAN NEWMAN #39

14. GREG BIFFLE #16

15. JOEY LOGANO #22

16. JEFF GORDON #24

17. PAUL MENARD #27

18. JUAN PABLO MONTOYA #42

19. BRIAN VICKERS #55

20. MARCOS AMBROSE #9

21. DENNY HAMLIN #11

22. JEFF BURTON #31

23. MARK MARTIN #14

24. RICKY STENHOUSE #17

25. DAVID RAGAN #34

26. ARIC ALMIROLA #43

27. CASEY MEARS #13

28. DAVID GILLILAND #38

29. BOBBY LABONTE #47

30. DAVID REUTIMANN #83

 

 

 

Above the Top 30 drivers for Irwin Tools Night Race from Bristol Motor Speedway, Friday we’ll break down the Top 5 drivers to watch.

TOP 10 TEAMS

TOP 10 TEAMS POST MICHIGAN

1. HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS

2. PENSKE RACING

3. FURNITURE ROW RACING

4. ROUSH/FENWAY RACING

5. JOE GIBBS RACING

6. RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING

7. MICHAEL WALTRIP RACING

8. EARNHARDT GANASSI RACING

9. RICHARD PETTY MOTORSPORTS

10. STEWART HAAS RACING

 

Hendrick Motorsports stay at #1 this week for the eigth straight week. Not only does HMS stay in place, the entire Top 5 stays in place. Richard Childress Racing move up two places after a huge week in Michigan. Michael Waltrip Racing move back a spot as does Earnhardt/Ganassi Racing. The last two teams stay in place this week.

 

These are the Top 10 Teams, Thursday look for our Top30 drivers  in advance of the Irwin Tools Night race from Bristol Motor Speedway.

TOP 10 DRIVERS by TRACK TYPE

TOP 10: SHORT TRACK

1. JIMMIE JOHNSON #48

2. KYLE BUSCH #18

3. KEVIN HARVICK #29

4. KURT BUSCH #78

5. CLINT BOWYER #15

6. DALE EARNHARDT JR. #88

7. RYAN NEWMAN #39

8. BRIAN VICKERS #55

9. BRAD KESELOWSKI #2

10. DENNY HAMLIN #11

Top 10 drivers on Short tracks, Thursday look for our Top 30 rankings for Saturday’s IRWIN TOOLS NIGHT RACE from Bristol Motor Speedway. 

RACE PREVIEW

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IRWIN TOOLS NIGHT RACE

BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY

AUGUST 24th, 7:30 ET on ABC-TV

½ MILE, 36 Degrees of Banking

Nothing gives you more drama than 43 cars on a high banked (36 degrees) short half-mile track.  Add to that the fact that drivers only have 3 chances left to lock into the Top 12 Chase for the Cup and you have all the action you need on a Saturday night. Bristol Motor Speedway is one of the best places on the circuit to watch a race and when you factor in the implications of this race, it IS the hardest good race ticket to get, bar none. 164,000 lucky fans will be gathered this Saturday in Thunder Valley to watch what the track describes as “racing the way it ought’a be.” And they are right! This is racing the way it should be, especially as the regular season winds down. If there are any simmering tensions out there amongst the drivers, and there are, they may well get settled Saturday night. Tensions that do not currently exist may get established here and have to be resolved later in the season. Short track=short tempers. High banks=short tempers and high anger. This is always a fun race and with championship eligibility on the line, it makes an event not to be missed. And to add to the drama more work has been done to reduce the “progressive banking” that was added when the track was repaved making it more like the old Bristol. As Ford has won six races at Bristol in the last ten years this could be Ford’s best chance to notch another win for the year. But the last Ford win was this race in 2008. Kyle Busch has won here four times in the last nine races since that Ford/Carl Edwards win AND Brad Keselowski has won two races here. It won’t just be a Ford vs. Toyota showdown because Chevrolet’s driven by Kasey Kahne and Jimmie Johnson have found victory lane since the last Ford win. Who will dominate?  We’ll know Saturday night.

 

Tuesday look for our Top 10 drivers by track type for week 23 and on Thursday we’ll rank the top 30 drivers.