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Samsung 500 Preview

Posted by Matt on April 15, 2007

The NASCAR Nextel Cup Series is at Texas Motor Speedway for the Samsung 500 this weekend, and no team is hotter than Hendrick Motor Sports, winning the last four races (J. Johnson 3, Ky. Busch 1) and totaling 10 Top 5 finishes (J. Johnson 4, J. Gordon 4, Ky. Busch 2) in the first 6 races of the season. Chevrolet has also been dominating the series with 5 wins in 6 races and all Hendrick Motor Sports’s drivers drive Chevrolet. The first 10 of the starting grid for today’s race is as follows:

  1. Jeff Gordon
  2. Jeff Burton
  3. Jimmie Johnson
  4. Matt Kenseth
  5. Kyle Busch
  6. Mark Martin
  7. Denny Hamlin
  8. Clint Bowyer
  9. Tony Stewart
  10. Carl Edwards

Three of the Top 5 are Hendrick Motor Sports cars and 8 of the Top 10 are Chevrolets. Notice a pattern? The only two drivers in the Top 10 of qualifying driving Fords are Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards, and don’t count them out as both had solid runs in yesterday’s Busch Series race, including a win by Matt Kenseth after going a lap down and then fighting all the way back. The only other time Matt won a Busch Series race this season, he went on to win the Nextel Cup race on the same track the next day (California Speedway – Week 2). Denny Hamlin looked strong in yesterday’s Busch Series race as well, falling all the way back to 30th to then come all the way back to finish 2nd; Denny starts in the 7th position today. Also, do not count out Mark Martin, despite a two-race break, as he was leading in points going in to the Bristol race and finished a close second to Kevin Harvick at Daytona.

However, the Hendrick Chevys are just too tough and I look for the winner to come from the Hendrick’s garage. Jeff Gordon has the pole, and despite leading in points, Gordon is still looking to post his first win of the season. He has not won from his too previous pole positions this season and most driver’s are always gunning for the DuPont Chevrolet, so do not look for the Rainbow Warriors to have what it takes to go wire-to-wire. Jimmie Johnson is the hottest driver in the series coming in to Texas Motor Speedway, winning 3 of the last 4 races. Johnson starts on the inside of Row 2 and is seemingly the car to beat, but I think his luck runs out this week because, as they say, ‘you can’t win ’em all.’ Johnson’s performances, thus far, seem to skew towards the smaller tracks, ever so slightly, and I think someone overtakes him today.

Then who, you might ask, am I picking for today’s race? I am sticking with oh-so-hot Chevrolets and the seemingly unbeatable squad of Hendrick Motor Sports and going with Kyle Busch as todays winner.

Busch has posted two Top 5 finishes in the last two races, including a win at Bristol Motor Speedway three weeks ago. Busch went on to finish 7th yesterdays tune-up race in the Busch Series and he is in good starting position on the inside of Row 3 at the 5 spot. He is close enough to the top to stay out of trouble in the draft, but far enough back to utilize some help and lay low until the end. The Samsung 500 should be a solid race as the top of the starting grid is outstanding.

Predictions:

Winner: Kyle Busch, Kellogg’s Chevrolet – Hendrick Motor Sports

Most Laps Lead: Jeff Gordon, DuPont Chevrolet – Hendrick Motor Sports

Walks Away From His Own Wreck To Take A Shower: Michael Waltrip, NAPA Toyota – Michael Waltrip Racing

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