Let’s go Chasin’: Round 1 Chicagoland

Wow! This has been quite a season of weirdness and unexpected finishes. Who would have thought after last year’s stellar season Kyle Busch would be on the outside looking in? And how about last year’s “almost guy” Carl Edwards also not making the Chase? Totally weird, yet wonderful.

We may just be on the verge of the era of either The Dark Horse or one of the usual suspects announcing “I bet you didn’t see me coming!” Either way it is going to be a Chase for the records. (Oh, did I mention that Dale Earnhardt, Jr., has been awesome this year?! But I digress …)

Strap yourself in. It should be an interesting ride. Oh, by the way, my fantasy picks for Chicagoland are: Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kayne and  Aric Almirola.

Enjoy the race!

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Desperado time for Ryan Newman and the wildcard guys

The old Eagles song keeps playing in my head as I ponder my final picks for today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race. Check out my pre-qualifying fantasy pondering here.

The Magic Mile will be either majestic or disastrous for drivers digging for their first win. Considering the fact that this is a short race on a flat track that runs like a short track (weird, I know!) this is sure to be one crazy race.

Look for Ryan Newman, Carl Edwards, and Jeff Gordon to make some chancy moves. It is go-time for these drivers if they expect to make the Chase.

Hold on tight and enjoy the race!

Rain at Daytona: Weather wreaking havoc on Fantasy NASCAR picks!

Not fair. After what seems more like months rather than 10 days of preliminary activities leading up to the pinnacle race, the Daytona 500, we begin this exciting day by not beginning. Yes, the dreaded rain delay. Arggh. Really?

Like the Daytona 500 isn’t hard enough for Fantasy NASCAR picks? Basically the dartboard and/or calling the Psychic Network could work equally well. The beauty and frustration of Daytona is that virtual unknowns can win this race. In the immortal words of TV character Adrian Monk “it’s a gift and a curse.”

That being said how did I pick? I tried to pick drivers I think will finish which is really important at Daytona since Turn 4 tends to gobble up cars as well as pack racing mishaps. Will any of my guys win? Maybe, but remember I go for top 10 results.

I picked Kevin Harvick over Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards. If I didn’t go with Harvick I would have gone with steady-as-you-go/even-tempered Matt Kenseth. My next decision was about restrictor plate racing notables. Yup, I went with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. He has a fast car this weekend and he is a restrictor racing great.

Then think Fords. Fords are running fast this weekend so I wanted to add a Ford that was starting up front, so Greg Biffle was my pick. I was very tempted by Marcos Ambrose and Clint Bowyer. I nixed Clint because the Toyotas aren’t pushing well and as much as I really love Marcos I thought he was too risky. I rounded out my team with Elliott Sadler who is experienced and could have won the 2009 Daytona 500 if not for a costly strategic mistake that earned Matt Kenseth the win. And, oh yeah, rain played a major factor that day too. Oh boy.

Hopefully we’ll great a full race in today. Whenever it starts — Enjoy!

Season-ending sizzler in Homestead!

Talk about championship excitement. NASCAR is finally seeing its vision of a nail-biting playoff come to fruition. Can’t wait for the race … and I don’t want to see the season come to an end. Well you know how that one goes …

Anyway today is going to be all about track position, tires, pit stalls and strategy. Oh, yeah we will also crown a champion. I don’t necessarily think the champion will be the race winner though it is possible.

Oh fantasy picks come down to Fords and Roush/Fenway drivers. Boy it would be nice to see a Hendrick car do well today. Dale Jr. has really been running well this weekend and starts in the 11th spot.

As far as fantasy picks goes Carl Edwards is a given this week. He runs very well at this track and he has Smoke on his tail for the championship. The rest of my picks are: A.J. Allmendinger; Martin Truex; and Trevor Bayne.

Enjoy the race!

Racing in the Irish Hills of Michigan

The last few races have been quite eventful with weather woes. It looks like today’s race should be rain-free as drivers take on Michigan International Speedway. This two-mile track has lots of grooves to run and with race points and the Chase coming up we can be sure that they will be trying all of them.

Despite the size of the track it could get pretty crazy out there as folks like Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart and others going for the win. Fuel mileage and pit strategy will also play a big role today. Hopefully no hair-pulling today, but I digress …

So I’m going with Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Ryan Newman and Paul Menard. Let’s go racing!

Did Denny Hamlin sandbag practice?

Hmm. Looks like Denny Hamlin out smarted the NASCAR practice speed/qualifying order. Pretty funny. I know Carl Edwards has been going back and forth between qualifying set up and race set up during practice, but this Denny Hamlin thing is quite cool. I think the weather is going to be the decider today though.

Whatever happens today I don’t think it will be as eventful as last night’s Nationwide race finish at Iowa Speedway. Check out the Carl Edwards/Ricky Stenhouse Jr. crash across the finish line. I’m thinking it’s going to be an interesting conversation in the Rousch camp this week!

Enjoy the rest of the race! Oh BTW I went with Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman, Kasey Kahne and Regan Smith. We’ll see …

Will the Roushasteers keep the tradition at Michigan?

Roush Fenway drivers love Michigan International Speedway and why shouldn’t they? Carl Edwards’ Nationwide win yesterday brought the win total to 21 at MIS! Matt is having a great day so far as is Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards. Could Carl sweep this week. Keeping up with track condition will be crucial.

I’m loving how many different grooves there are to work with. I’m hoping for a great day for Dale Earnhardt and very curious if Kevin Harvick can keep on keepin’ on. Pretty impressive coming from the back. Great driving and hopefully the pit crew won’t disappoint.

So my picks this week are: Kevin Harvick; Dale Jr.; Brian Vickers and Paul Menard.

Enjoy the rest of the race … and Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads!

Coca Cola 600 underway!

Gee I hope my picks are better than my ability to start the hibachi … there’s always tomorrow.

Anyway, my fantasy picks are: Carl Edwards; David Reuitmann; Kasey Kahne and Bobby Labonte. I was torn between Mark Martin and Kasey, but in the end Kasey hasn’t had any DNFs in past 600s. I was going to go with David Ragan instead of Bobby, but Bobby has good stats in this race and much, more experience. It’s going to be a good one.

Enjoy the race!

Coca Cola 600: Marathon race for the fit & nimble

It is almost time for the really, really long race, not for the faint of heart. The All-Star Race & related events gave us some glimpses into strong teams for this race, not to mention some pretty funny moments — like the pathetic attempt at a burn out for Kurt Busch (pretty embarrassing!) and Carl Edwards wrecking his car during his victory burn out. Check this out if you haven’t seen it. Click here.  But I digress …

This race is so hard to predict as ability to endure is just as important as sheer talent. The drivers who have dedicated fitness routines like Carl Edwards and Mark Martin can last to the end of the race, but their engines and teams will also have to perform flawlessly. It is difficult to simply look at stats and pick from there. This race is a great examples of how much of a team sport this really is. Keeping up with the track will be important so solid crew chiefs with good fuel calculations are a must.

So as I get down to my final picks I’m looking at past performance, practice speeds, strong crew chief leadership and lack of DNFs. Lots to consider here. I’ll be back to you with my final picks shortly. I need to rest up a little so I can make it to the end of the race!

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