Texas NASCAR race suits Carl Edwards’ run

Oct 28, 2008 4:05 PM

Finish Line by Micah Roberts |

All the hard work and data acquired to dissect last week’s race in Atlanta can be put right back into use this Sunday in Texas.

The high-banked 1.5-mile fast tracks around the NASCAR circuit have had very similar results over the course of the season with most of the same drivers doing equally well on all. Las Vegas, Atlanta, Texas, and Charlotte are configured somewhat the same so the crew chiefs that have nailed down the winning formula.

Case in point: The results in Atlanta were almost identical to the spring Texas finish. Four of the top 5 finishers placed finished 1-5 last week, including first and second.

In six races on these tracks thus far, Carl Edwards has three wins. In two other instances, Edwards had the best car, but had issues. His success on these tracks, especially Texas, should come as no surprise. Car owner Jack Roush, who Edwards drives for, has won six of the 15 races at Texas.

Next on the chart of success at these tracks is Kyle Busch, who won at Atlanta and has accumulated more points than anyone in those six races. Last week, amid all his psychological woes of failing in the Chase, Busch held on for a Top 5 finish despite not contending for the entire race.

It was interesting to watch Jimmie Johnson surge late in the race. He looked like he going to stay out of trouble, get his top 10 finish, and move on. But crew chief Chad Knaus took on four tires late when most took two and proceeded to pass every car in his way like Cole Trickle in "Days of Thunder."

Johnson took some gambles and gained my respect for racing hard despite what was at stake.

Matt Kenseth is still winless on the season, but Texas is a place where he runs very well. In 12 races he has an average finish of 10th, including a win in 2002. Last week in Atlanta, Kenseth looked to have the best car as he led five times and was the lap leader for the day. This week, we think Kenseth can finish the job.

Johnson’s lead grows: JJ’s quest for an historic third consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup championship continues. Coming into Texas, Johnson leads Edwards by 183 points and third-place Greg Biffle by 185.

NHRA roars into Vegas: This weekend on the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, The NHRA Powerade Drag Racing series features the power and force of cars topping 300 mph on the quarter mile track.

One of the more enjoyable things about going to the track is the environment on any of the qualifying days beginning Friday and then through the final eliminations on Sunday. Adjacent to the track is a huge traveling mall, similar to NASCAR.

Unlike NASCAR today, the NHRA allows the fans to line up right next to the haulers and watch as these teams break down the engine, clean, and put back together after each and every run. It’s even more fan friendly than spring training baseball and one of the best dollar bargains in all of Las Vegas for a family. The smoked turkey legs are great. Now for the odds:

Top Fuel: Tony Schumacher 5-7, Antron Brown 5-2, Cory McClenathan 5-1, Hillary Will 6-1, Larry Dixon 6-1, Brandon Bernstein 13-1.

Funny Car: Tim Wilkerson 3-1, Jack Beckman 4-1, Crux Pedregon 4-1, Tony Pedregon 5-1, Robert Hight 8-1, Ashley Force 10-1, Ron Caps 10-1, John Force 12-1.

Pro Stock: Jeg Coughlin 7-5, Dave Connolly 2-1, Greg Anderson 3-1, Kurt Johnson 6-1, Mike Edwards 9-1, Greg Stanfield 10-1, Alan Johnson 12-1,

Note: Micah Roberts is a race and sports director with Station Casinos, who has contributed to GamingToday for the last 11 years.