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Kenseth, Johnson duel in the desert Sunday
By: Brian Graham - StatFox
Published: 11/10/2013  at  2:06:00 AM
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NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
AdvoCare 500

Sunday, November 10 – 3:00 p.m. EDT
Phoenix International Speedway – Avondale, AZ

Just two races remain in NASCAR’s Chase for the Cup. This Sunday the drivers start their engines in the desert at Phoenix International Speedway for the AdvoCare 500. This 1-mile, tri-oval intermediate track was built in 1964 with a small degree of banking on the turns (11 degrees at Turns 1-2 and 9 degrees at Turns 3-4). The backstretch is also 9 degrees of banking, and measures 1,551 feet (0.29 miles), while the frontstretch is a mere 3 degrees, measuring 1,179 feet (0.22 miles).

Jimmie Johnson's win last week in Texas puts him in the lead in the Chase for the Cup standings by just seven points over Matt Kenseth. Kevin Harvick resides in third place (40 points back) with Kyle Busch sitting in fourth (52 points back).

Odds to Win Race

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Matt Kenseth4-to-1
Jimmie Johnson4-to-1
Kyle Busch5-to-1
Brad Keselowski10-to-1
Denny Hamlin10-to-1
Kevin Harvick10-to-1
Clint Bowyer12-to-1
Jeff Gordon12-to-1
Kasey Kahne12-to-1
Carl Edwards15-to-1
Joey Logano20-to-1
Dale Earnhardt Jr.20-to-1
Kurt Busch20-to-1
Martin Truex Jr.20-to-1
Greg Biffle30-to-1
Ryan Newman30-to-1
Jamie McMurray75-to-1
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.100-to-1
Jeff Burton100-to-1
Aric Almirola100-to-1
Marcos Ambrose100-to-1
Justin Allgaier100-to-1
Danica Patrick100-to-1
FIELD (Any other driver)100-to-1
Paul Menard100-to-1
Mark Martin100-to-1
Juan Montoya100-to-1
Elliott Sadler100-to-1

Drivers to Watch

Brad Keselowski (10/1) - He has raced very well to close out the season with a win at Charlotte, 4th-place finish at Martinsville (a track very similar to Phoenix) and a 6th-place showing in Texas last week. He's also been in contention in each of his past three starts at Phoenix, placing 4th, 5th and 6th with at least three laps led in each race. With his double-digit odds, Keselowski is the driver to place your largest wager on this Sunday.

Carl Edwards (15/1) - He has had a frustrating few weeks, falling from 4th to 11th in the points standings with a 19.3 average finish in the past six races, including engine failure last week after starting from the pole. But Edwards has performed very well in Phoenix in his career with an average finish of 11.8 with seven top-5's in his past 15 starts, including a victory in 2010, a runner-up in 2011 and another victory in March. At 15-to-1, he represents the best bang for your buck on Sunday.

Denny Hamlin (10/1) - His recent track history at Phoenix makes Hamlin worthy of a small wager on Sunday. After winning last spring, Hamlin was the runner-up in the fall and then finished third this past March. He also raced well on the last track similar to Phoenix, coming in 7th place at Martinsville two weeks ago. While his winless 2013 season will not be one to remember, he is at least racing hard for prize money with results of 9th, 7th and 7th in the past three races that he actually finished.

Ryan Newman (30/1) - Newman has always raced well at Phoenix in his career. In 22 starts at this track, he's grabbed the pole four times, and has posted eight top-5 finishes. This includes five top-5's in his past seven starts, winning the 2010 Subway Fresh Fit 600, and then placing 2nd, 5th, 5th, 21st and 5th before crashing in March. What's more impressive about this run is that his average start in these six races was 14.9, as he started no better than 6th in any of these races. He has also had a very strong Chase with top-10 finishes in seven of his past 10 starts, while leading for multiple laps in six of those past 10 races. With such darkhorse odds, Newman is certainly worthy of a one-unit wager on Sunday.

Mark Martin (100/1) - The longshot pick of the week is clearly Martin who had meager 15-to-1 odds last fall at Phoenix, and 20-to-1 odds at this track in March. He has produced the ninth-most driver points in the past four races at this track, placing 9th last spring and 10th last fall, before fading to a 21st-place showing after winning the pole in March. Martin has two wins in Phoenix (1993 and 2009) as part of 12 top-5's and 21 top-10's finishing in an average place of 9.4 in his 33 starts at this track.

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