The Frontstretch: Matt McLaughlin's Driver Handicaps : Infineon Edition by Matt McLaughlin -- Wednesday June 20, 2007

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Matt McLaughlin's Driver Handicaps : Infineon Edition

Matt McLaughlin · Wednesday June 20, 2007


*2007 Infineon Driver Handicaps *

Jeff Gordon – Gordon's win at Sonoma last year was his fifth triumph in fourteen starts. He also has a pair of second and a pair of third place finishes here. Given that he's also won four races at the Glen, Gordon is always on a short list of favorites when NASCAR goes to the road courses.

Denny Hamlin – Hamlin didn't do too badly on the road courses last year as a rookie. He finished twelfth here, tenth at the Glen and won the Mexican Busch race.

Jimmie Johnson – Johnson finished tenth in this race last year and led two laps. He finished fifth at Sonoma in 2004, so he now has Top 10 finishes in two of his five starts here. He won at Watkins Glen in 2004 and has Top 5 finishes in each of the WG races run since.

Matt Kenseth – Kenseth has started seven Cup races here without ever posting a Top 10 finish. He didn't miss by much in 2005, when he finished eleventh, but his average finish at Infineon remains a lowly 22nd.

Jeff Burton – Burton's seventh place finish here last year was his best result at Sonoma in thirteen Cup starts; he has three additional Top 10 finishes in those thirteen races. However, Burton's best road course result to date was a second place finish at the Glen in 2001, which as my nephew might say was "a whole lot of yesterdays ago."

Carl Edwards – Edwards enjoyed a pair of Top 10 finishes in last year's two Cup road course races.

Tony Stewart – Stewart is one of the circuit's better road course racers. He's won at Sonoma twice and at Watkins Glen three times, once with a set of drawers full of excrement. So next time someone tells you Tony is full of it, tell them sometimes he leaks.

Kevin Harvick – Harvick finished third at Sonoma in '03 and won at Watkins Glen last year, so he knows the difference between an apex and Ajax.

Clint Bowyer – Bowyer finished fourteenth and sixteenth in last year's two Cup road course races. Well, I suppose that's better than a poke with a stick to the eye.

Martin Truex, Jr. – Truex drove to an unremarkable fifteenth place finish here last year, but he's showing remarkable improvement this season.

Kyle Busch – Busch didn't do too badly on the road courses last year with an eleventh place finish here and a ninth place result at the Glen.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. – Junior has no Top 10 finishes at Sonoma after seven Cup starts here. He does have three Top 10 finishes in Cup and a Busch series win at the Glen.

Jamie McMurray – McMurray opened a lot of eyes with a second place finish at Sonoma in 2004, but his other three Cup results here were decidedly midpack.

Ryan Newman – Newman finished second here last year and has Top 10 finishes in four of his five Cup starts at Infineon.

Kurt Busch – Busch won the pole here last year and has three Top 5 results in six Sonoma Cup starts.

Bobby Labonte – Labonte isn't noted as much of a road course racer, at least in NASCAR events. He has two Top 5 finishes in fourteen career Infineon Cup starts and two more in fourteen starts at the Glen.

J. J. Yeley – The two Cup road course races were a disaster for Yeley last year with a pair of 33rd place finishes.

Casey Mears – Mears managed a pair of Top 10 finishes at the Cup road course races in 2004, but his other finishes here and at the Glen were less than remarkable.

Greg Biffle – Biffle did manage a fourth place finish last year, but Infineon remains his Waterloo with a best finish of thirteenth in three other Cup starts.

Others to Watch

Juan Pablo Montoya – Montoya won the Mexican Busch race this year (in ugly fashion) and used to race F1 and CART, so you've got to figure he knows a thing or two about road course racing.

Robby Gordon – Gordon won here in 2003 and pissed away a chance at a win at Infineon in 2001 when he lost his temper. He also won at the Glen in 2003 and was denied a victory there another year in bizarre fashion, when telemetry equipment the network had aboard his car overheated and set itself ablaze.

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