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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Rights & Lefts? Road racing in Sonoma

As I review my pre-race fantasy predictions, I realize I am at my perennial crossroads when it comes to road-racing: do you go with strong road-racing skills or strong equipment or both? Right now, I’m thinking both.

My huge dilemma right now is choosing between two very decent road-racers with almost exact records: Clint Bowyer with an average finish of 11.2 and Juan Pablo Montoya with an impressive 9.0. Normally this would be a non-brainer, you go with Juan, former Indy 500 champion and Formula 1 racer extraordinaire. The man knows how to turn left and right, save fuel and pass in the corners. However, track position is key here and Juan hasn’t had a stellar season. Juan starts in 12 and Clint starts in 6th. Hmm.

I’m thinking Juan is a very low risk. He has to get a win to even be in contention for the Chase, so he edges out Clint in the more motivated category. OK. Juan it is; I think ….

Curious where I started my fantasy pick pondering? Check out this week’s NASCAR Fantasy Fusion column. Click Here.

Enjoy the race, and those rare left and right turn combinations!

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!

The Magic Mile: Who will be blessed, who will be cursed?

New Hampshire Motor Speedway, nicknamed the Magic Mile, is a tough track. Track position is key because it is hard to pass, and you need to keep up with track changes. Cars that can roll in the center and allow the driver to stay in the gas will run well. Oh, did I mention the fuel mileage factor?

I hope Tony Stewart, Jeff Burton and Dale Earnhardt run well today. When all is said and done today’s winner will be the team that can pull it altogether: driver; top equipment; no mistakes in the pits; staying out of trouble and a whole lot of luck.

My fantasy picks are: Jimmie Johnson; Clint Bowyer; Ryan Newman; and Paul Menard.

Have fun watching!

Season’s 1st segment is diverse; Now it’s Tony Stewart time!

This first segment of the season has been exciting — 10 different winners and only one from Five Time. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. hasn’t won a race yet this season, but he has had some respectable runs. I don’t know if it is the difference in the points system, but something’s brewing. More so than ever when you sit down to watch a race you’re truly aren’t sure what’s going to transpire. No predictability. I love that! I hate boredom and I love good racing!!

Matt Kenseth is looking great and so are drivers like Bobby Labonte and Clint Bowyer. Mark Martin can stand to punch it up a bit though. I’d like to see consistency from him this year. So I guess the big question is will Tony Stewart take off now that we are going into the summer where slick tracks are a given?

I guess we’ll have to wait and see if Smoke brings it on in the next segment.

Saturday night short tracking racing

I’ve never been to a race under the lights, but I bet it just adds to the excitement. Richmond International Speedway is in denial. Although it is a short track (.75 miles) it is a super speedway wannabe with its long frontstretch and 14 degrees of banking at the turns. And I love  short track racing. The energy never allows you to catch your breath. You can get decent side by side racing and more than a little action as you get into turn one. Should be a great race.

At this track qualifying matters so that you can pick a good pit stall. But I wouldn’t count out Kyle Busch even though he is starting 20th. I’d really like to see Dale run well again this week. He is having such a great year and even seems like he is having a good time again. I’m loving how well Bobby Labonte is racing this year. The new ride with JTG Daugherty Racing team is really working out.

So my picks: Kyle Busch; Clint Bowyer; Ryan Newman and Booby Labonte.

Enjoy the race!

Anger management & making switches smooth the trick at Talladega today?

lt seems like the track that’s always eaten up cars and impatient drivers offers a new, equally wild option with the two-car draft. Here’s what Dale and Juan Pablo had to say about it: Dale,  Juan Pablo.  Clint had a funny comment about his strategy being trying not to wreck!

Should be an interesting day at the track and hopefully less chaotic than the Nationwide race.

Crossing my fingers and toes: here are my picks: Kevin Harvick; Clint Bowyer; Dale Earnhardt, Jr.; and David Ragan.


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