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Kobalt Tools 400 Starting Grid
1: Matt Kenseth (17)
2: Marcos Ambrose (9)
3: Carl Edwards (99)
4: Greg Biffle (16)
5: Kyle Busch (18)
6: Joey Logano (20)
7: AJ Allmendinger (43)
8: Ryan Newman (39)
9: Martin Truex Jr. (56)
10: Mark Martin (5)
11: Jamie McMurray (1)
12: Regan Smith (78)
13: Jeff Gordon (24)
14: Jimmie Johnson (48)
15: Tony Stewart (14)
16: Trevor Bayne (21)
17: Denny Hamlin (11)
18: Paul Menard (27)
19: Brian Vickers (83)
20: Brad Keselowski (2)
21: Jeff Burton (31)
22: Kurt Busch (22)
23: Juan Pablo Montoya (42)
24: Bobby Labonte (47)
25: David Reutimann (00)
26: Kevin Harvick (29)
27: Casey Mears (13)
28: Clint Bowyer (33)
29: Mike Skinner (32)
30: Kasey Kahne (4)
31: Joe Nemechek (87)
32: JJ Yeley (46)
33: Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88)
34: Dave Blaney (36)
35: David Gilliland (34)
36: Landon Cassill (60)
37: Bill Elliott (09)
38: Robby Gordon (7)
39: Travis Kvapil (38)
40: Andy Lally (71)
41: Tony Raines (37)
42: David Ragan (6)
43: Michael McDowell (66)
The Kobalt Tools 400 drops the green flag on Sunday afternoon at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and NASCAR betting fans won’t want to miss it!
The driver that we are really keeping our eyes on this week is the man that is sitting on the pole, Matt Kenseth (+800). Kenseth was on absolute fire running around this track in qualifying on Friday night, posting a track record of 188.884 MPH. This provided an absolutely humongous gap between himself and the rest of the field of over seven tenths of a mile per hour, something that would translate into an absolute ton of space on the raceway itself. Obviously, Kenseth won’t be running at that clip during this whole race, but he certainly had the best car on Friday and will surely be a man to watch out for when the green flag drops on this one.
Jeff Gordon (+1000) is coming off of his first win in 66 races last week at the Subway Fresh Fit 500 in Phoenix, and he might be a very sneak competitor here in Sin City as well. Gordon does have a win here in his career, and Hendrick Motorsports has a fantastic history on this track. Gordon didn’t have the greatest qualifying run in his life, but he’ll start 13th and should be in prime position to end up in the Top 10 at the end when push really comes to shove in this one.
For the second straight week, one of the top choices on the board is Carl Edwards (+450). Edwards wasn’t the favorite last week, but this week he is, and for good reason. So far this season, he already has a pole and now a third place start on the grid, and though he was caught up in some trouble last week in Phoenix, he is clearly poised for a big time day. When push comes to shove, this is a very winnable race for Edwards, and we tend to believe that he gets the job done at least one out of four times to get to Victory Lane.
The man with the most history on this track though, is Jimmie Johnson (+600). Johnson has won here four times in his illustrious career, and he also is the defending champion of the event. It’s only a matter of time until Johnson gets back in the saddle after a slow start to the year, and though he is starting in the middle of the pack in this one, we fully expect to see him work his way up the charts and towards the front of the field by the time we hit the stretch run.
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Renault have decided to retain the services of Russian driver Vitaly Petrov to the end of the 2012 season.
The Russian will partner Polish driver Robert Kubica for the French team which will also mean that he looks set to remain in Formula One when the sport visits Russia in 2014 for its first ever Formula One race.
And the deal was welcome news for the young driver after an indifferent season in 2010.
“It feels great,” said Petrov. “I learned so much this year and I can come back stronger. I’m determined to repay the faith they have shown in me.”
Petrov finished 13th in his debut season and rates Hungary as his “best weekend” when he finished fifth from seventh on the grid.
The Russian rookie also memorably held up Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso for much of the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi when the Spaniard desperately needed to move through the field to challenge for the title.
“We are very pleased to confirm that Vitaly will be staying with us in order that both he and the team can build on a promising 2010 campaign,” commented team boss Eric Boullier.
“The entire team has been working flat out over the past months to improve our competitiveness, and a stable driver line-up is essential to achieving our targets.
“Robert Kubica provides a remarkable benchmark for both speed and consistency, and we are certain that Vitaly will move closer to this level of performance next year.”
Lopez, who is chairman of the team, explained: “Last season, Vitaly showed on several occasions that he clearly has the potential to deliver.
“It was just a matter of putting everything together during the same weekend, race after race, and this will be his target for 2011.
“Also, thanks to Vitaly and the team, Russia is opening up to Formula 1. Over the past few months, we’ve established close links with this country and with some of its strongest companies.
“We’re looking forward to building on this special relationship and turning it into a very successful adventure over the next two seasons.”
“In many ways, 2010 was about learning – 2011 will be about performing,” Petrov added.
“There are quite a few changes that we have to adapt to as a team: new tyres, moveable rear wings and Kers which I’ve never used before. There’s even a new race in India.
“I’ve already seen the new car in the wind tunnel and it looks very promising. I also love our new colours and can’t wait to get back in the car and go racing.
“My objective is to continue improving as a driver and to become more consistent.
“There were times this year when I made mistakes and lost points, and I know this is where I can improve.
“I think I showed that I have the speed, but I need to be consistent over the whole weekend and get the maximum from every session.”
Phil ‘ The Power’ Taylor cruised through to the last 16 of the PDC World Championship as he beat Dane Per Laursen to reach the last 16 of the tournment in which he is currently defending as champion.
Despite struggling for form in the first round Taylor got past the Dane with very few problems. Facing Phil Taylor in the next round of the tournament will be Peter Wright who was the shock winner in the game against the winner of the Players Champion Paul Nicholson as he beat him 4-2.
It was a very impressive display from Phil Taylor who recently came second in Britian’s Sports Personality of the Year as he reached a three dart average of 102.09. And despite Per Laursen hitting a maximum in the fourth set it was the Dane’s last visit to the Oche as Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor wrapped up the victory.
After his win over the Dane Phil Taylor had the following to say ”I did feel comfortable but fair play to Per, he kept trying and played well. The crowd reception was incredible. It made me feel very humble.”
Taylor will now play his game against Peter Wright will be on Wednesday the 29th of December, with the final if Taylor were to progress that far taking place on Monday January the 3rd.
American Ted Ligety was dominated by its rivals to reach a second consecutive World Cup giant slalom Saturday, beating Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal a second in the French Alps.
The progression of his victories GS Beaver Creek last weekend, Ligety was flawless in the first leg is Face de Bellevarde take a big lead and then uncorked bold second run to win the combined time for two minutes and 26.26 seconds.
Svindal was 1.05 seconds behind, and Massimiliano Blardone Italy was third with 1.21 behind. Ligety, the defending world champion Cup giant slalom, took bronze on the same track in 2009 World Cup.
Busch, 25, a champion in waiting, and Johnson, a proven one, waged quite a battle on the high-banked, 1-mile track, the lead see-sawing back and forth between the two each time the race resumed following five caution periods and assorted green-flag stops.
But when Johnson was flagged for speeding while exiting the pits during a round of green-flag stops on Lap 363 and forced to return to pit road to serve a pass-through penalty, the battle was effectively finished.
Pitting closer to the entrance to pit road, Johnson had completed his stop and was making his way back onto the track when Busch shot out of his pit box alongside him.
Johnson said he didn’t speed up to beat Busch back onto the track but was penalized for speeding before reaching Busch’s pit stall.