Race: Samsung Mobile 500
Date: Saturday April 9th, 2011
Track: Texas Motor Speedway
Time: 7:30 pm ET
by Virginia Vroom, NASCAR Handicapper, Predictem.com
This season shortly isn’t a disappointment! Martinsville was in typical form as a short track, taking out quite a few drivers and ending the day of some of the most promising picks. That’s a short track for ya! This weekend, we are headed to a night race at Texas Motor Speedway. This is the first night race for the Samsung Mobile 500, and we all know that nighttime brings a different attitude to the track.
This track is much different from the short track of Martinsville. Texas is a 1.5 mile quad-oval. It’s a great track for the intermediate drivers like the Roush team of Biffle, Kenseth, and Edwards. It’s also a great track for our typical dominators, Johnson and Busch. Kevin Harvick is starting to fall into that category of never being able to be counted out though, winning both Martinsville and Fontana.
What we saw at Martinsville was an awful lot of tire wear and tear. There was an enormous amount of rubber debris on the track, and those drivers that got pushed out of the bottom lane were doomed to slipping and sliding around on that rubber. Furthermore, there was also quite a few tires being cut down on the track, ending the day of quite a few drivers. Here at Texas, we shouldn’t have nearly those same problems as there is a lot more room on the track for multiple lanes away from the debris. Drivers are still going to have to worry about tire wear and strategy, especially if we have some long green flag runs like we typically have here. Another issue is that fuel mileage, which tends to be a determining factor at the end of the race.
In terms of strong drivers here, you have your typical Johnson, Kyle Busch, and the Roush guys. Short track champion, Denny Hamlin, also has quite a few good runs here as well. In terms of what we will see this weekend, I do believe that Kyle Busch will take it. Kevin Harvick is one to watch simply because of his consistency this year thus far, but Kyle has proven that he’s still got the power to push his way to the front. Watch out for Edwards and Johnson, so long as their equipment holds out. Also, I think that we are going to see another strong and consistent run from Earnhardt Jr., who has definitely made an improvement this year over last.
Here’s a look at your current top 10 in the points (to start abiding by the 2011 Chase rules) after Martinsville:
1. Kyle Busch
2. Carl Edwards
3. Jimmie Johnson
4. Kurt Busch
5. Kevin Harvick
6. Ryan Newman
7. Juan Montoya
8. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
9. Matt Kenseth
10. Mark Martin
Holding strong in 11th is Tony Stewart, with Jeff Gordon in 12th place. Still, anyone from 28th place Jeff Burton on has a shot to be in the Chase this year, which only consists of the top 10 drivers instead of 12 like last year. What we are seeing is a mere 47 point difference between 12th and 28th, so you can see that the new system creates quite a bunch of eligible drivers. We still have a lot of racing left this season, so there’s definitely going to be a change in those standings with the gap increasing quite a bit, but as of now, you really can’t count out anyone!
Look for this weekend to increase that gap a little bit as we see these guys head to big ‘old Texas and rattle it out for a trip to victory circle!
Virginia’s Pick to Win the Samsung Mobile 500: Kyle Busch at 7-1 odds. Bet this pick using your credit card at the web’s oldest online bookie: Intertops.