JUNIOR JOHNSON: The Departure Of Waltrip And Bonnett Was The End Of An Era

In 1986 Darrell Waltrip fell short of winning a fourth Winston Cup championship with Junior, losing by 288 points to Dale Earnhardt. Waltrip joined Hendrick Motorsports for the 1987 season.

Junior Johnson & Associates didn’t have a particularly productive season in 1986 – although, by most standards, it was a very good one.

But standards were always higher for Junior’s teams. Three wins for Darrell Waltrip and just one for teammate Neil Bonnett just didn’t measure up.

The two did earn late-season victories and those served as farewell presents for Junior. Since mid-year, it was common knowledge that Waltrip and Bonnett were going to depart for new teams in 1987.

However, there was no lame duck racing of any kind. Both drivers competed as hard as they could and Waltrip fought Dale Earnhardt for the championship, but finished second in the final point standings.

Waltrip’s six years with Junior were vastly successful ones. Never again would he achieve as much as he did in the same amount of time.

When the 1986 season came to a close, it was time for Junior to make a major decision.

Junior’s contributions to www.motorsportsunplugged.com will appear every other Friday throughout the season.

With Darrell, Junior Johnson & Associates came up a bit short in 1986. We lost the championship to Dale by 288 points.

Hey, did I say we came up a bit “short?” We weren’t even close, in my opinion.

Darrell won only three races in 1986, just as he did in 1985. The big difference was that he won the Winston Cup title that year.

I certainly can’t fault Darrell’s effort. And I can’t fault Neil’s either – even if he did win only once and finished 13th in points.

Those two gave it their all and the guys on my team did, too. I was proud of them, especially since everyone knew by June of 1986 that Darrell and Neil weren’t going to race for me in 1987.

The story was printed in the Charlotte Observer. It said that Darrell was going to join Rick Hendrick’s team and that Waddell Wilson was going to leave Harry Ranier’s team to be Darrell’s crew chief.

Hendrick called it a “dream team.”

Not long after that, Neil announced he was going to leave Junior Johnson & Associates to race for Rahmoc Racing, a team owned by Butch Mock and Bob Rahilly.

None of this caught me by surprise. I had a lot of friends in racing and in the businesses connected with the sport. I knew what was going on.

What Rick wanted just as much as Darrell was my Budweiser sponsorship. The Bud officials were good, solid people who kept their word.

Rick thought that Darrell could bring Budweiser sponsorship to him. And I reckon Darrell thought the same thing.

As it was for Waltrip, the 1986 season was Neil Bonnett's last with Junior. He moved over to Rahmoc Enterprises for the 1987 season.

What they didn’t know was that before my former partner Warner Hodgdon left racing, him and me went to Budweiser headquarters in St. Louis.

We renegotiated a sponsorship deal that would last through the 1989 season. The contract Budweiser signed was with me, not Darrell.

And Budweiser wasn’t about to break that contract. So much for Darrell and Rick.

There was a big deal made of Darrell’s union with Rick. At an Atlanta hotel in November of 1986, they staged this big to-do press conference at which Darrell pushed his new car into view through clouds of smoke.

It was quite a production, I guess. I don’t really know because I wasn’t there, of course.

I didn’t have to be there to find out what Darrell said. In front of all the media who were at the fancy announcement, Darrell leaned down and kissed the hood of his new car. Then he said:

“I’m getting off a mule and onto a good, strong thoroughbred.”

I’ve been told that the press guys in attendance were somewhat taken aback, especially since Darrell and I had accomplished so much in our six years together.

As I remember, I was a bit more puzzled over Darrell’s comment than I was upset. Sure, I didn’t like it. But I knew Darrell. And I knew there were times when he tried to be witty, but instead he looked silly.

Certainly I felt the need to respond. I said:

“I’ve had a jackass driving my car and now I’m rid of him.”

That’s about as harsh as we got with each other. It was kinda fun, to tell the truth.

I think Darrell realized, just as I had, what we had done together. We won three championships, 43 races and nearly $6 million in the course of six years.

Darrell once said that if it hadn’t been for me, he might have been just another race car driver. He said that thanks to what I gave him, and what we did together, he could tell folks there wasn’t much in Winston Cup racing he hadn’t done.

A few years later Darrell said that if he had stuck with me he would have won a lot more races and probably more championships than anyone else.

You know, I had heard something like that many years earlier.

After Bobby Allison decided to go out on his own after his 1972 season with me, much later he said the same thing – if he had stuck with me he would have won more races and championships.

Well, Darrell and Bobby, I couldn’t agree more.

Starting with Cale in 1976 and ending with Darrell in 1985, Junior Johnson & Associates won six championships.

Those were good years with those two. I really enjoyed both those boys and I count them as two of the best friends I’ve got in racing.

Several years later, Sports Illustrated printed a story ranking the best NASCAR drivers. I was listed as No. 1, Darrell No. 6 and Cale No. 7.

I’ve always had fun telling those boys I could outdrive their asses. Now, Sports Illustrated says it, too.

But back to 1986. Obviously, I knew there were going to be changes for the 1987 season and one of them was going to be my driver, of course.

I knew the man I wanted.

And you might be very surprised.

 

Another Losing Drought Ends – Fantasy Insight Dover

Kyle Busch

Last week at Charlotte Motor Speedway we saw a losing drought in NASCAR end. Kasey Kahne made a great run at the finish and won the Coke 600 and this week the statistical data suggests we will see another losing drought end.

Sorry Junior Nation, while Dale Earnhardt Jr. should have a strong run this week his is not the losing drought that will end. Jeff Gordon and Carl Edwards fans also were smiling when they saw the headline to this story and while both guys are good at Dover they are also not the top pick this week. “Wild Thing” will tangle with “Miles the Monster” and come out on top.

Two other drivers with long losing droughts should also have strong runs this week at Dover. Jeff Burton has not won since 2008 but he should have a strong run this week. Martin Truex Jr is winless since his only career win in 2007, at Dover, and he is a great longshot bet this week at 25-1 odds.

But Kyle Busch is the logical pick to win because he is rounding into form. “Rowdy” tops the Consistency Rating this week and is also in the top 10 in Track Type and Horses for Courses. The smart money in Vegas has also installed him as the 4-1 favorite and this week the smart money is indeed on the “Wild Thing” to defeat “Miles the Monster.”

Good luck with your fantasy racing picks this week and don’t forget to send in your pick for “Whiteboard Fantasy Racing” this week for the big race at Dover.

Send in your pick to win this week’s Cup race to dennis@racetalkradio.com for a chance to win a copy of the National Speedway Directory from SpeedwaysOnline.com.

 

Whiteboard Fantasy Racing Winner Last Week

RA was the winner last week

Whiteboard Fantasy Racing Top Ten After 12 Weeks

Position

Player

Total

1

RA

28

2

Carbon

26

3

Grainger

20

4

LAM

19

5

Gertie

17

6T

Chris U

16

6T

DMIC

16

8

Aaron C

15

9

Rick

13

10

Shari P

12

 

Weather Report

Cloudy with a chance of showers and a green flag temp in the low to mid 70sF

http://raceweather.net

If you have a question about Fantasy Racing send it to dennis@racetalkradio.com and get it answered next week. 

NASCAR by the Numbers- Lubricated by TheOilMedics.com

Using a proprietary race analysis technique we take the fans inside the numbers every week. DMIC’s rating system has been in use since 2002 and has proven to pick the contenders from the pretenders!

 

Consistency is King (Last Five Races)

Driver

Last 5

Ky Busch

96

K Kahne

95

D Hamlin

94

M Kenseth

93

B Keselowski

92

D Earnhardt Jr

92

G Biffle

91

J Johnson

90

C Edwards

87

C Bowyer

87

Martin Truex Jr

 

Horses for Courses (Track Rating)

Driver

Course

J Johnson

96

M Kenseth

93

C Edwards

93

Ku Busch

93

J Burton

91

M Martin

90

K Harvick

88

R Newman

88

Ky Busch

87

K Kahne

87

 

Type Casting (Track Type Factor)

Driver

Type

M Kenseth

96

J Johnson

95

C Edwards

90

B Keselowski

89

Ky Busch

89

Ku Busch

89

K Harvick

88

M Truex

88

J Burton

87

M Ambrose

87

 

Power Rating (240 Minimum to Qualify as Contender)

Driver

Power

M Kenseth

283

J Johnson

280

Ky Busch

272

C Edwards

270

B Keselowski

266

K Kahne

265

K Harvick

261

Ku Busch

259

D Hamlin

259

J Burton

258

G Biffle

258

M Martin

257

C Bowyer

257

D Earnhardt Jr

254

P Menard

254

R Newman

252

T Stewart

250

M Ambrose

250

J Gordon

249

M Truex

249

J McMurray

248

A Almirola

246

AJ Allmendinger

243

J Logano

241

JP Montoya

240

D Reutimann

233

R Smith

232

C Mears

231

D Ragan

230

B Labonte

225

D Gilliland

223

T Kvapil

217

L Cassill

216

D Blaney

212

 

Jeff Burton

DMIC’s Fantasy Picks

Each week we will take you beyond the numbers to handicap the field from top to bottom to help your Fantasy Racing team succeed. You are also invited to join Lori Munro and I on “White Board Fantasy Racing” every Monday night on “Doin’ Donuts” at 8pm ET on RaceTalkRadio.com. Win fun prizes by picking just the race winners in our unique format. Send your picks to info@racetalkradio.com to enter.

 

Top Pick (Last Week 11th)

Kyle Busch- Rounding into form and now heads to a good track for him

(4 to 1 Odds)

Best Long Shot (Odds of 20-1 or More) (Last Week 13th)

Martin Truex Jr- Only Cup victory and 2 of his 7 career poles came here

(25 to 1 Odds)

Top Dogs (Group A in Yahoo) (Last Week 10th)  

Matt Kenseth- Tops the power ratings this week

(8 to 1 Odds) 

Second Class (Group B in Yahoo) (Last Week 6th)   

Jeff Burton- Good sleeper pick this week has been solid last five starts at the Monster

(40 to 1 Odds)

Middle Packer (Group C in Yahoo) (Last Week 24th)  

Aric Almirola- Past winner in truck series at Dover

Crazy 8s for Dover

Each week Lori Munro and Dennis Michelsen battle in the most unique racing game around! We pick one driver each from each 8 driver group using the current points’ standings. Our picks can help you round out your fantasy racing lineup!

Last Race at Charlotte: Lori won the matchup 3-2

Season Record: Lori leads Dennis at 7-5

Group 1: Lori picks Denny Hamlin and Dennis picks Kyle Busch

Group 2: Dennis picks Carl Edwards and Lori picks Brad Keselowski

Group 3: Lori picks Marcos Ambrose and Dennis picks Jeff Burton

Group 4: Dennis picks Mark Martin and Lori picks Kurt Busch

Group 5: Lori picks Dave Blaney and Dennis picks David Reutimann

 

Do you have what it takes to handicap the races? Join Lori and Dennis every week and play in the Whiteboard Fantasy Racing Series! Send your pick for the Cup race to info@racetalkradio.com to enter. W

Matt Kenseth Is Steady, Cool And Collected – And It’s Working

Matt Kenseth (right) and Greg Biffle have had solid seasons for Roush Fenway Racing. Biffle is No. 1 in points and Kenseth is No. 2. Either one of them, or both, could provide the team with a very successful year.

When asked to compare today’s drivers to the stars of yesterday, in terms of driving styles, I always connect Matt Kenseth with David Pearson.

Pearson, who has 105 NASCAR Sprint Cup victories, wasn’t the type of driver who manhandled his car. He wasn’t known for aggressiveness or unnecessary daring.

He won races by being calculating, patient and smooth. It seemed that in every race he won, he didn’t figure in the outcome until the closing laps.

During his highly successful years with the Wood Brothers, Pearson came out of nowhere to win so often that the press box wags said the Woods made another “magic chassis change.”

But, in truth, it was Pearson’s strategic style that served him well. He wasn’t known as “The Silver Fox” for nothing.

Kenseth has pretty much the same overall style – at least in my opinion.

He doesn’t dominate races, he doesn’t overtax his car and he’s not known for aggression.

When he wins, very often it seems he came out of nowhere. It’s as if he simply bided his time and then struck when the time was right.

Pearson wasn’t a very outgoing sort and, from time to time, Kenseth appears to be the same. But, like Pearson, when the time comes to speak or display a sense of humor, Kenseth certainly does so.

Kenseth joined Roush Fenway Racing full-time in 2000 and has established an excellent record.

He has 22 victories and was the 2003 Sprint Cup champion with just one victory and 11 finishes among the top 10.

That Kenseth became champion with such unimpressive numbers didn’t sit well with fans and is one reason NASCAR adopted the Chase in 2004.

Even with the Chase, Kenseth continues to be productive. He has finished among the top 10 in the final point standings in six of the last eight seasons. During that same time span, he’s won 12 races.

By the time the 2012 campaign is over, Kenseth might have the most productive season of his career. He may be the champion. He could help Roush Fenway experience one of the most successful years of its existence.

With one-third of this season in the books, Roush teammates Greg Biffle and Kenseth stand one-two, respectively, in the point standings. Biffle is only 10 points in front.

Both have already won races. Kenseth took the Daytona 500 while Biffle won at Texas. Their season records are almost identical: Biffle has one win, seven runs among the top five and eight among the top 10. Kenseth has one less finish among the top five.

Kenseth has been recognized as a cool, calculating and patient driver who seems to win races by strategy rather than aggressiveness. He is the 2012 Daytona 500 champion.

Biffle has been the points leader since the third race of the season.

Kenseth has been as low in points as sixth place, but he moved back into second after a third-place finish at Talladega and has remained there.

While Hendrick Motorsports may have garnered all the headlines this past weekend at Charlotte, it should be noted that Roush Fenway also did very well.

All three of its drivers – Biffle, Kenseth and Carl Edwards – finished among the top 10. Biffle lead the way with a fourth-place run.

Kenseth knows exactly where he stands. He also knows that as good as it’s been he and his team can make it better.

“I feel pretty good about where we’re at,” said Kenseth, who is the defending champion at Dover, the next race on the Sprint Cup schedule. “I don’t buy into the theory that’s says you peak too soon, or you are too good too early.”

Sounds like a patient man, doesn’t it?

“There’s no such thing as a time period during which you don’t want to be good or at your best,” Kenseth said. “I don’t buy into any of that, either.

“There are things we could be doing better. But there are a lot of things we could be doing worse, too. So you work all of those things.”

Kenseth said that for him and his team, good performances have paid off in more ways than one.

“It’s easier to keep everybody motivated, happy, feeling good, glad to be at work and eager to get to the track,” he said. “That happens when you’re winning, running good, being up front and up there in points.

“The times when racing is hard is when you aren’t running good and you go home and it’s like, ‘Man, we did all this work and got this for a result?’ ”

Kenseth’s racing philosophy is almost exactly like his racing style: Be consistent, be patient, don’t make mistakes and ensure all of it is routine.

Positive results will follow.

“When you operating like that, you are operating at a high level,” Kenseth said. “It’s much harder to turn things around when you are not running good.

“You find yourself trying to put together some magic. I know Tony Stewart did that last year.

“But I think more times than not that the guys who run good week after week or on a consistent basis are the guys who are up there in points.”

Which is exactly what Kenseth – and for that matter, Biffle – is doing.

 

 

Here Are Tidbits To Show That In NASCAR, Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction

Among other "unusual" happenings in NASCAR, driver Bobby Allison experimented with two-way radios and once had a hole cut into the roof of his car to provide more air for cooling.

Ever since Bill France founded NASCAR in February of 1948, countless accomplishments by thousands of drivers have been added to the record books.

There are many well-known facts. But there are also plenty of bizarre and interesting tidbits of NASCAR lore that aren’t recorded in the record books.

For instance, Kansas native Jim Roper won NASCAR’s first Grand National race on June 19, 1949 in a Lincoln.

After the car’s headlights were taped, its doors strapped and numbers applied with shoe polish, Roper was declared the winner after Glenn Dunaway’s 1947 Ford was disqualified for running illegal rear springs.

With the winner’s trophy in the back seat and cash in his pocket, Roper cleared the tape from the headlights and drove the car back to Kansas.

Team owner Raymond Parks first used surplus World War II two-way radios in races in 1949 – until other teams protested.

Jack Smith used a bulky Ham radio mounted inside his Bud Moore Engineering Ford in the first World 600 on June 19, 1960.

The reception was bad and the heat and vibration in the car broke the radio’s glass tubes. Smith and Moore also tried delivery truck radios at Daytona but that didn’t too well, either.

In Junior Johnson’s book, “Brave in Life” written by award-winning MotorsportsUnplugged authors Steve Waid and Tom Higgins, it is duly recorded the colorful driver used a two-way radio in April of 1961 at Martinsville Speedway.

Team owner Bud Moore, and his driver Jack Smith, tried to make a couple of two-way radio systems work back in the 1960s. Suffice it to say they were unsuccessful.

He turned it off because his crew chief kept telling him to slow down.

Bobby Allison developed a CB radio set-up for races in 1973 with speakers built into his helmet. But again, poor reception and static brought the idea to an end. A year or two later, technology was better, but not great.

Smith was also the first driver to use a bar of soap to plug a hole in his gas tank. It happened at that same World 600 when the radio failed. The soap worked about as good as the radio.

Darrell Waltrip logged 84 career victories, including 15 wins in the No. 17. He won the 1989 Daytona 500 driving the No. 17 for Hendrick Motorsports, in his 17th try in a race with a purse that was $1.7 million – and he was assigned pit stall No. 17.

Bill Elliott also played a numbers game when he won the Winston Million at Darlington Raceway on September 1, 1985.

Going into the Southern 500, Elliott had already driven the No. 9 Melling Racing Ford to nine of 11 pole positions that year, had nine wins up to that point in the season and the race was held in the ninth month.

It gets better.

In 1968, law enforcement officers found an elaborate moonshine still within a concrete tunnel under the Middle Georgia Raceway at Macon. It was hidden behind a trap door in the floor of a ticket booth. Months later, a jury found the track owner not guilty.

Richard Petty ran a vinyl top in the 1968 Daytona 500. Those he raced against protested, citing it was some kind of advantage.

Truth was, an inexperienced crew member made a mess of the paint job on the top of the car and vinyl was a quick fix to the problem.

The bad news was the top began coming apart during the race and required a lot of duct tape just to finish. Petty even got out of the car and sat on the hood and beat the chrome around the windshield down with a hammer.

Carl Kiekhaefer, an eccentric soul dubbed the “Rick Hendrick of the 1950s,” wouldn’t let his drivers or crew members sleep with their spouses the night before a race, citing they needed…um…their energy and a good night’s sleep before.

He was the most successful owner of that era and abruptly left the sport after logging 52 wins and two championships among 10 drivers.

Fledgling team owner-driver Herman Beam was the first to be black-flagged at Daytona International Speedway when it opened in 1959. He forgot to wear his helmet.

There were just enough cars to make up the field for a Winston Cup race at Talladega in the early 1970s, but NASCAR officials forced James Hylton to run a qualifying lap anyway.

Hylton protested but adhered to their wishes. His average speed was just under 40 mph over two laps around the 2.66-mile oval. Hylton replied, “You said I had to qualify. You didn’t say how fast.”

Janet Guthrie became the first woman to lead a NASCAR Winston Cup race when she led at Ontario for five laps under caution. She finished 24th.

There was a driver named John Kennedy who had 18 career starts from 1969 to 1979 but never recorded a top-10 finish.

There was also a driver named Bill Clinton. He ran six races between 1961 and 1964 but was never in the top-10.

However, George Bush, of Hamburg, N.Y., raced in five events in 1952 and scored three top-10s.

The last top-level NASCAR race run on dirt was at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh on Sept. 20, 1970. Richard Petty won the 100-mile event.

The 1,000th Winston Cup race was held in Ontario, Calif., on Feb. 28, 1971 and was won by A.J. Foyt. The 1,000th race wasn’t ever mentioned in newspapers or on radio because NASCAR historians didn’t realize it until it was over.

On the 90th lap of the 1973 Talladega 500, Bobby Isaac pulled onto pit road and got out, telling car owner Moore that he heard voices to quit or something bad would happen. Isaac drove in 19 more races in 1974-76 with little success.

A year later, 16 cars – including all likely front-runners – were sabotaged with sugar in their gas tanks, broken windshields and cut tires the night before the Aug. 11 Talladega 500. No one was ever caught for the destruction.

Cale Yarborough drove several laps without a windshield in his Wood Brothers Ford at Talladega in 1970. His pit crew took out the glass after a fan’s thrown beer bottle shattered it.

Janet Guthrie was the first woman to lead a lap in a Winston Cup race. She led five laps under caution during the Los Angeles Times 500 at Ontario on Nov. 20, 1977. She finished 24th.

A trackside ESPN reporter, Dr. Jerry Punch, revived driver Rusty Wallace when he stopped breathing after an end-over-end crash at Bristol in 1988. Punch is a respected medical doctor turned broadcaster.

Hot temperatures during the Southern 500 on Sept. 5, 1983 prompted crew chief Gary Nelson to chisel a hole in Bobby Allison’s car roof of to cool down the driver.

Allison won, but NASCAR fined the team $500.

The coldest race in NASCAR history came in March of 1990 at Richmond when the high temperature was only five degrees.

Mark Martin won the race, but the engine in his Roush Racing Ford was found to be illegal.

Finally, a $100 bill was found on the front grille of Kevin Harvick’s Chevrolet last month during the race at Texas. It was discovered when crewman Chad Haney cleaned the grille on a pit stop.

After displaying the bill to cameramen on pit road, Haney donated the money to Motor Racing Outreach, which offers spiritual support to the NASCAR community.

It is fact that truth is stranger than fiction. And, as it is everywhere else, it is so in NASCAR.

 

 

The Resurrection Of Kasey Kahne Is Complete

Kasey Kahne has overcome a very tough start to the 2012 Sprint Cup season, capped by his victory in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. It was his 13th career win and third in the 600.

Kasey Kahne’s NASCAR Sprint Cup career has been resurrected.

The 32-year-old driver from Enumclaw, Wash., finally achieved what most felt would come very quickly in 2012, his first year with Hendrick Motorsports.

He earned his first victory of the season, driving to a convincing win in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

It was Kahne’s sixth consecutive top-10 finish after a dismal start that saw him finish out of the top 10 in each of the first six races of the year.

Kahne could do no better than 14th during that streak and at one time languished 32nd in the point standings – dangerously close to being out of the top 35 and the loss of a guaranteed starting position.

But now, six races later, Kahne has earned his 13th career victory and third in the Coca-Cola 600. He’s climbed to 15th in points and, with a victory in hand, has, at the least, made himself a “wildcard” candidate for the Chase.

For Kahne, it’s been quite a rejuvenation.

“Well, I think the biggest thing for myself was just to figure out the cars, figure out how they drove,” said Kahne, who replaced Mark Martin at Hendrick. “It’s been a little bit different for me.

“We’ve had speed. Even the last five, six races we’ve been in the top 10, but not near as fast as Jimmie Johnson (teammate) or a couple of those guys that have been winning the races.

“I just knew for myself I needed to step up. Our team is solid. Our car is solid. Mr. Hendrick gives us everything we need to win races and run up front. Tonight we were able to put it all together.”

Kahne admitted that at one point he was worried about his ride – that’s how badly the start of the season went.

But team owner Hendrick wasn’t concerned.

“I’ve been doing this long enough to know that if you have speed and run up front, you are going to win races,” he said. “I felt if the luck would turn for Kasey and his team, they’d win races.

“I thought we had the best balance. I was excited about the year. I’ve seen Kasey drive. He ran so good everywhere he’s been. I knew if we give him the equipment he would do it again.”

Kahne’s victory in the 600 topped a very successful – and historic – two weeks for Hendrick.

Johnson won the Bojangle’s Southern 500 at Darlington on May 12 to give Hendrick Motorsports, which made its debut in 1984, its 200th Sprint Cup victory.

Then, a week later, Johnson won the Sprint All-Star race at CMS, three days after his crew won the Sprint Pit Crew Challenge.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the all-star race’s preliminary event, the Sprint Showdown.

Now Kahne is victorious and gives Hendrick its 201stvictory.

Kahne took the lead late in the race and held off a determined charge by Denny Hamlin to earn the victory. It was the 201st win for Hendrick Motorsports.

Hendrick Motorsports has won five of six NASCAR events over the past two weeks. Only Brad Keselowski of Penske Racing has been able to break the stranglehold with a win in the History 300 Nationwide Series race at CMS.

Kahne passed a strong Denny Hamlin on lap 333 of 400. The race remained under green for the rest of the way, but teams still had to make one more pit stop.

The stops began on lap 354 and Kahne held the point once they were completed. Hamlin made several runs at him and, more than once, seemed to have enough to overtake the Hendrick driver.

But he fell short. He had worn out his tires in his desperate effort to take the lead.

Hamlin, who drives for Joe Gibbs Racing, finished second while teammate Kyle Busch took third.

Greg Biffle, the points leader, took early control of the race, leading 107 of 134 laps. He wound up leading the most laps, 204, en route to his third-place finish in the 600.

His effort was good enough to ward off his rivals and maintain his hold on No. 1 in points. He’s now 10 ahead of teammate Matt Kenseth – 10th in the 600 – and 16 ahead of Hamlin.

Hendrick cars took three positions among the top 10. Earnhardt Jr. finished sixth and Jeff Gordon battled back from a lap down take seventh. It was Gordon’s third top10 in what has been a very trying season.

Johnson’s team was given a stop-and-go penalty during the last pit stop after the gas can became lodged in the car as Johnson exited his stall.

Johnson went one lap down and was never able to get back on the lead lap with so few circuits left. However, he salvaged a 12th-place finish.

That was the only thing that went wrong for Hendrick all night.

For Kahne, everything went especially right.

“We’re just going to stay after consistency,” Kahne said. “For the last six weeks, we’ve moved up in the points each week. We’ve been going in the right direction, doing things right.

“To me Hendrick Motorsports has been as strong as anyone since the start of this year. Just the last three weeks, we’ve all been able to put some wins together.

“Tonight, it feels good to get a win for Hendrick Motorsports. It’s something I’ve been looking forward to for a year and a half – to drive for Hendrick, to be teammates with Jimmie, Dale and Jeff.

“To put it all together tonight and get the win, it feels good.”

 

 

 

 

 

Keselowski’s Rising Star Will Shine Even Brighter If He Wins 600

Brad Keselowski has performed admirably during his tenure with Penske Racing. He’s already won twice this year with the first win coming at Bristol.

CONCORD, N.C. – I daresay that anyone who saw Brad Keselowski for the first time would never picture him as a race car driver.

With his boyish looks and wry smile, Keselowski looks more like a teenager who is up to something.

Come to think of it, given his “tweeting” and picture taking during races, Keselowski has, indeed, been up to something – to the fans’ delight, I might add.

But at age 28, Keselowski hasn’t been a teenager for quite some time. And, yes indeed, he is a race car driver – a darn good one at that.

In NASCAR circles many suggest that Keselowski may become a superstar in the not-too-distant future. There is reason for that.

After competing in just 17 races on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit from 2008-2009, Keselowski has been driving  for Penske Racing, one of the most respected and successful teams in stock car racing history, for the last three seasons.

Keselowski caught everyone’s attention in the spring of 2009 when he won at Talladega driving for James Finch’s Phoenix Racing team.

That season, Keselowski was also competing in selected races for Hendrick Motorsports and Penske, which meant his potential was widely recognized.

Circumstances developed at the end of 2009 that led to Keselowski’s full-time union with Penske as part of a three-car operation with Kurt Busch and Sam Hornish Jr.

That lasted another season before, in 2011, the team was reduced to two cars with Busch and Keselowski.

Keselowski won twice last year, at Kansas and Pocono, before another Penske shift was completed. This season, A.J. Allmendinger is Keselowski’s teammate.

Busch, ironically, currently drives for Finch.

Keselowski is now the senior driver at Penske. He drives a well-recognized blue No. 2 Dodge sponsored by Miller Lite, which has been a Penske staple for years.

Many veteran fans instinctively associate a No. 2 Miller Lite-sponsored car with Rusty Wallace, who raced and won with Penske for many seasons and was elected into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on May 23.

Wallace was one of Keselowski’s racing heroes.

“I’ll never forget, there was this NASCAR video game and Rusty was always the man to beat,” Keselowski said. “I was about 10 years old and I remember how good he was at Bristol and Martinsville and places like that.

“When I think back to him, I think of that black and gold Miller car, too. It’s pretty cool to think of him in the Hall of Fame and what that means for Miller.”

Keselowski’s career is young but he continues to display his potential. He has already won twice this year, at Bristol and Talladega, and returns to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Coca-Cola 600 after a strong performance in the Sprint All Star race a week earlier.

Penske, who has been a team owner in both NASCAR and IndyCar for years, will, as usual, be very engaged in both the Coca-Cola 600 and the Indianapolis 500 today.

In that special race, he won a $50,000 segment and finished second overall.

“We had a good run in the all star race and in the truck race, too,” Keselowski said. “I’d like to get one more position in the Nationwide and Cup races this weekend.

“I think we’ve got a good shot at it. Hopefully, we’re able to make some small improvements on the car during the week and if we do that, I think we could do it.”

Keselowski took a big step toward that goal in the History 300 Nationwide race. A gamble on fuel mileage worked and he was victorious over Denny Hamlin. It was his second career victory at CMS.

He now has a win and two seconds in a little over a week at Charlotte.

He’ll start 24th in the Coca-Cola 600, certainly not a stellar qualifying effort but, given the race’s 600 miles, one that can be overcome.

Incidentally, he was fastest in the final Cup  practice session Saturday with a speed of 183.692 mph. He made only five laps and was, obviously, very satisfied.

There were predictions the 600 could evolve into a battle between Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson, the pre-race favorite.

If so, it will take time to develop, for several reasons.

“I definitely think there’s a transition from other races here to the 600,” Keselowski said. “As a driver, You have to be a little more patient.

“But it’s probably more of a transition for the crew chiefs than it is for the drivers because, at the end of the day, it’s still our job to drive the cars very, very hard and make ‘em go fast.

“The crew chiefs have to make sure the cars have a more appropriate balance of speed and reliability. Speed being on a long run versus a short run and reliability being parts and components that don’t fail in such a long race.”

Keselowski added that the month of May is huge for Penske Racing because it competes in NASCAR and IndyCar – where Penske has been hugely successful for years – on the same day.

Keselowski would like nothing more than to see Penske enjoy victory in both the 600 and the Indianapolis 500.

“Roger has had a lot of success at the Brickyard and that’s great to see,” Keselowski said. “We want to have success here, too.

“But pulling off a weekend sweep isn’t an easy thing to do. I don’t know if it’s ever been done. I know how much it would mean to Roger to pull it off.

“It’s a great opportunity – and that’s the key word I want to use. I’m just happy that I have fast enough race cars to have a legitimate opportunity.

“Roger cares so much about both programs. I feel very lucky to have an owner that engaged.”

If Keselowski wins the 600, it’s very likely thousands and thousands of fans will know sbout it only minutes – perhaps seconds – after the race is over.

Why? Simple. He’ll be “tweeting.”

Hendrick Teams Differ In Season Performance, But All Able To Win 600

Although he hasn't won since Michigan in 2008, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has enjoyed a revitalized season in 2012 and has become a strong suit at Hendrick Motorsports. But he has yet to win.

CONCORD, N.C. – While Jimmie Johnson is considered a strong favorite to win the Coca-Cola 600, and thereby continue the resurgence of his Hendrick Motorsports team, his teammates won’t share his status.

Make no mistake, certainly they would like to win and it’s very possible that one of them will.

But, truth be known, they would likely be very pleased if they could finish among the top five – maybe even the top 10 – in the longest race on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit.

Unlike Johnson, who has won the last two NASCAR events within a week, his three teammates have experienced different results this year.

Critics would give them “mixed” reviews.

One of them has had a solid year, but he still hasn’t won.

Another started his inaugural season with Hendrick horribly. But he has rebounded with top-10 finishes in each of the last five races.

The third has had such an uncharacteristically poor season that he’s even joked about it. Unless things improve dramatically he won’t make the Chase and get a shot at a fifth career championship.

Along with Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be considered a potential 600 winner. He, too, has been on a streak of sorts.

He won the Sprint Showdown and one segment of the Sprint All Star Race, won by Johnson. In the 600, Earnhardt Jr. will race the same Chevrolet in which he won the Showdown.

All of this seems to bode well for Earnhardt Jr. Additionally, even though his record in the 600 hasn’t been particularly good over the past several years, he was en route victory last year when he ran out of gas.

“You definitely feel you let one get away,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “When you come close to winning a race you definitely think about what you might have done different, or ‘If only this or that.’

“But you don’t think about that too much. You can get distracted and not really be thinking about what you’re trying to do that moment.”

Earnhardt Jr. was once the weakest link in the Hendrick chain. No longer.

This season he has finished out of the top 10 only twice and has five runs of seventh or better – including two runnerup and two thirds.

He’s been hovering near the points lead for most of the season. Going into the 600 he was in third place, just 14 points leader Greg Biffle. He’s two positions and 25 points ahead of Johnson.

Earnhardt Jr., who earned his last win at Michigan in 2008, has been flirting with victory so often that many supporters say it’s now only a matter of time.

That time could come at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“I think we’re confident,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “We know what kind of potential we have and we are all expecting to improve over some of the things we did last week.

“It’s (crew chief) Steve Legate’s and his group’s job to get together and squeeze a little more speed out of the car. We need to try to work harder to go better and to go faster.

“If the car is good enough and we do everything we need to do, we’ll be right there with an opportunity to win a race. That’s what you have to concentrate on.”

Hendrick teammates Jeff Gordon (left) and Kasey Kahne have had their struggles this season. Kahne is making advances but Gordon is still slumping.

Team owner Rick Hendrick was among the many who thought Kasey Kahne would be a perfect fit at his organization.

After all, Kahne, who replaced the departed Mark Martin, came with excellent credentials. At age 32 with eight full seasons under his belt, he had won 12 races, including one with the lame duck Red Bull team last year at Phoenix.

But his season started miserably. Because of several misfortunes, his best run was a 14th at Fontana. He finished 29th or worse in four races. By the sixth race of the year he was 31st in points.

He been on a rally ever since. He came to Charlotte with a five-race string of top-10 finishes. He has climbed to 16th in points.

Obviously Kahne would like keep his good roll going at Charlotte.

“To me, the season hasn’t been great,” said Kahne, who will make his 300th career start at CMS. “But I do think some people may have thought it was much worse than what it was.

“I feel like we’ve been running pretty well since the start of the season. But we really haven’t made those big gains yet. We have speed and it’s obvious it’s right there. We just need to put it all together.”

Kahne isn’t sour about how his season started. He believes it was a result of certain circumstances.

“I am happy for everybody at Hendrick Motorsports over what’s been accomplished so far,” he said. “And as for the way we’ve run, I don’t think it’s necessarily me. Our team isn’t running as well as we would like – for now.

“But it is nice to know that everything we need is right there. We have the same stuff everyone else has and we’ve been able to use some of it to get better.

“If we hit on things hopefully we can run as good as the No. 48 (Johnson) has been running.”

Jeff Gordon is now in his 20th NASCAR season, all of which have been spent with Hendrick.

He has won 85 races and four championships. He was, without a doubt, the star player at Hendrick until Johnson’s rise, marked by five consecutive titles.

In 2012 what was once Gordon’s “star” has become a black hole.

He has only two finishes among the top 10 and seven of 20th or worse – including four beyond the top 30.

He’s been hammered by a series of improbable, unfortunate incidents that include everything from engine failure to poor pit stops to a tire that goes flat not once, but twice.

Gordon’s luck has been so bad Hendrick declared on national TV that he wouldn’t get in an airplane with him.

Even Gordon has been upbeat in post-race interviews following another disappointing race. He said there is a reason for that.

“What are you going to do other than keep your head up and work hard?” Gordon said. “You go to the next race and try to change it.

“We’ve got too good of a team and too good of a race cars to try to get down on ourselves about the way things are going. It’s tough.

“The timing gets tougher and tougher all the time because the more races that go by that we don’t get the results, the harder and harder that mountain is to climb.

“We just have to stay positive and say, ‘Hey, this is our week, this is our week.’ You can do that for only so long. We’re still doing it. Hopefully, we’ll see the results.”

For Gordon, who is 24th in points and in need of at least one victory to have any chance at the Chase as a “wildcard” entry, the results could come in the 600. He has won five times at Charlotte, one less than Johnson.

“I am excited about this weekend,” Gordon said. “At the All Star Race we learned a lot and also learned from Jimmie’s bunch, who dominated the race.

“We learned, as a team, on what we can do to be really, really good this weekend.”

In the 600 there will be four Hendrick teams on four different levels of performance. All of them, of course, hope for a good, productive outing.

One of them may have the ultimate performance.

That’s because any one of them could win. That’s a given.

 

The Coca-Cola 600 Marked Return To NASCAR Fandom

The author became a fan of Kyle Petty because he was more than a race driver. He was a man who gave back to society and improved the welfare of others.

The Coca Cola 600 is always going to mean a lot to me because it was the race that solidified my return to NASCAR fandom.

After Dale Earnhardt’s death I had walked away from the sport for which my husband and I shared a strong passion. It was overwhelming for me as Earnhardt was my driver, my one and only.

My husband grieved as well, but had a much more inclusive approach and appreciation for watching NASCAR, so he didn’t feel the need to abandon his sport.

When social networking was just starting to become popular my husband joined a NASCAR site where fans connected, blogged, and commented. He was rather active, listened to the podcast that had spawned the site, and was becoming well known amongst its listeners and members.

It was difficult for me to stay away from NASCAR when my husband was spending so much time at the site and was still watching races weekly.

The year was 2007 and the Coca Cola 600 was on the television. The children were sleeping peacefully as night completely fell.

I decided to throw myself into the race. I started to learn the numbers of the drivers, and tried to recognize any names on the circuit from my earlier years of fandom.

To my utter surprise, amazement and delight, the top five was filled with a mix of new names – to me – and one veteran.

Casey Mears experienced his first (Nextel) Cup victory that night. J.J. Yeley placed second, his highest finish to date.

And Kyle Petty, one of my favorite drivers from my first go around as a fan, earned a third-place finish. It was Petty’s first top five finish in 10 years.

Reed Sorenson and Brian Vickers rounded out the top five, respectively.

Accidents, fuel mileage gambles and other situations led to the unlikely names in the top five, but that’s what this sport is all about.

When the race was over I was talking to the television and my husband at the same time. Right then and there, my husband set me up with an account at the same NASCAR social networking site he used, the now defunct Rowdy.com.

I wrote several pieces that night even though it was late on the East Coast, where I live.

Petty was the subject of one. I gushed about Petty’s character, his hard lot in life, not only being The King’s son and not having his own identity, but also to lose his own son years earlier. Yet he remained a good man who gives back through his Victory Junction Gang Camp.

Dr. Jerry Punch was mostly absent from NASCAR TV broadcasts when they were no longer on ESPN. But his return has been welcomed by the author.

That piece struck a chord with the members and garnered a lot of comments and discussions.

Dr. Jerry Punch was the topic of another.  He was one of the main commentators and pit reporters when I began to watch NASCAR on ESPN in the early 1990s.

In my absence ESPN lost most of the Cup races and Dr. Punch was not on air with NASCAR much. His return corresponded with mine.

This was comforting to me because Benny Parsons, another familiar and well-loved NASCAR announcer (and former winning driver), had passed in January of 2007. Having Punch’s voice fill my ears soothed my transition back to NASCAR seamlessly.

I look at the landscape today and see a complete field of drivers’ names I know because I have thrown myself back into the sport completely.

I can make comparisons with Petty and Dale Earnhardt Jr., who both will always bear the unfair, yet all-too-real yardstick, that will never allow them to measure up to their respective fathers, both mythical legends in the sport.

I can take comfort, for the time being, that Mike Joy still sits firmly in the broadcasting booth for half of the season.

And, as I prepare to watch the 2012 Coca Cola 600, I look back on the last five years. From what began as casual blogging I have built a career that revolves around NASCAR.

My fandom has come full circle. My passion for the sport coupled with my passion for writing has netted me a second career that propels me to new heights.

The sport of NASCAR, though not without its flaws, still entertains, delights and enthralls me.

The Coca Cola 600 is a race that will always be special to me, and now you know why.

What race established the jumping off point of your NASCAR fandom?

 

 

Coca-Cola 600 Will Be Another Assault On No. 1 Greg Biffle

Greg Biffle, shown here with wife Nicole, was the winner at Texas, the best finish of the season and one of several good runs that have made him No. 1 in points.

CONCORD, N.C. – During a hurricane, or even a heavy storm, the small and thin trees are more likely to survive than their bigger counterparts with the large branches and thick trunks.

The reason? The puny trees bend with the wind. They rapidly flop back and forth, but they seldom break.

Without such resilience, the big trees fall victim to the elements. They break.

I’m not about to call Greg Biffle a puny tree. But, so far in the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, he has displayed all the resiliency of one.

He moved into first place in the Sprint Cup point standings after the third race of the year, at Las Vegas, and he has remained there since.

Despite the assaults from his rivals, Biffle has been like that lithe little tree in the wind – he’s bent, but he hasn’t broken.

And if he doesn’t break after this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600, it must be considered a significant accomplishment.

If he’s No. 1 in points on Memorial Day, he will have withstood his most ardent assault to date.

He’s a mere two points ahead of his Roush Fenway teammate, the steady Matt Kenseth, and just 14 points in front of Dale Earnhardt Jr., of Hendrick Motorsports, who has been nipping at Biffle’s heels all season.

Might as well throw in third-place Denny Hamlin, who is No 3, just 17 points back.

Now if Biffle is concerned about these guys, or any others, he’s certainly not showing it. There will be none of this “race to save points” stuff for him in the 600.

“We’re excited where we’re at in the points and leading,” said Biffle, who has never been lower that third in the standings over the course of 11 races. “We’re only a couple of points ahead of our teammate but we’re here to win.

“We want to win the Coca-Cola 600. We’ve got a great piece. I can’t wait to get on the track with it. This is the car I won Texas with and this is a long race where anything can happen.”

Given the race covers 600 miles and is the longest and one of the most taxing, physically and mentally, on the circuit, Biffle’s assessment is spot-on.

Indeed, anything can happen. But Biffle can’t worry about that.

“We’re targeting, as always, finishing up front and to finish among the top five,” Biffle said. “I’m sure that at some point both Matt and I will lead a lap, so that will be one point, but it’s super-tight at the front of the field.

“But we’re not gonna worry about the points lead. We’re going to worry about our car and doing the best we can.”

What Biffle and team have done this year is, without a doubt, a darn sight better than they did last year.

Uncharacteristically, Biffle was almost an afterthought during 2011. He didn’t win a race, he finished among the top five only three times and 10 times among the top 10.

Biffle, who races Fords for Roush Fenway Racing, will be challenged to hold onto the points lead in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

He wound up 16th in points and, obviously, missed the Chase. It was his lowest finish in the standings since 2004, when he wound up 17th.

Biffle’s 2011 season is a virtual carbon copy of what Jeff Gordon is going through in 2012.

The Hendrick Motorsports driver has had a horrendous year. He has only two finishes among the top 10 and has seven runs outside of the top 20.

He’s 24th in points and won’t make the Chase unless he can win one or more races.

Biffle knows exactly what Gordon is enduring.

“It’s like Jeff has a cold right now and I don’t want to get near him,” Biffle said. “I tell you what, his season is exactly the season we had last year. That was the No. 16 team’s season to a T.

“It’s just one thing after another that happened to us. It wasn’t the same thing. It becomes a situation of, ‘What next?’

“It’s a combination of a lot of things. It’s circumstances. There are a lot of things involved. That’s the way it is for Jeff right now.

“But I’m sure happy I’m on this side of it and not on that side.”

Maybe it’s the kind of season Biffle had last year that has made his 2012 a surprise to more than a few.

After a solid third-place finish in the Daytona 500 put him third in points, the thinking was that, in the standings, he would drop like a rock.

Why wouldn’t he? Hey, just look at last year.

Biffle, however, has been remarkably consistent. Including his Texas victory, he has seven finishes among the top six. He has been out of the top 15 only once. He has earned two pole positions.

Biffle, who has praised crew chief Matt Puccia for the team’s performance turnaround, is in his 11th season with Roush. He has never won the 600.

“I think this race is a good race to be 600 miles,” Biffle said. “We have to have that one race a year that is technically a durability and stamina test and that’s what this is.

“I like the challenge of this race – the challenge physically in the car. I love challenges and the challenges here are what we have to manage as a team and a driver. Those are things I love about it.”

Biffle admits it’s always been difficult to chase the handling of the car as the 600-mile race moves from day to night.

“That’s been difficult for everyone,” Biffle said, “so it’s the same for everyone.”

No one has to tell Biffle that teams don’t always meet the challenges that are always present in the Coca-Cola 600.

However, even if he and his team come up short, it won’t change their strategy.

“If we give up the lead,” Biffle said, “then the important part is to make the Chase and be leading it after Homestead.”

 

 

Long Race Into Night – Fantasy Insight Charlotte Edition

Jimmie Johnson

Please, NASCAR, never even think of shortening the World 600. This marathon event is a classic on the schedule. No, I don’t care to see 600 miles or even 500 miles at Pocono, but once a year man, woman and machine need to be tested. This race does present an additional challenge to the race handicapper.

The track will start out hot and greasy on Sunday evening with a high temperature in the 90s. By the end of the race the track temperature will cool so much the guys that are great in the daylight at the start of the race will struggle to keep up with the changes. Picking the right crew chief/driver combo is the key to success this weekend.

Engine durability is rarely a factor in a typical NASCAR race – although this year we are seeing more attrition than normal. But 600 miles will put equipment to the test and it appears that Hendrick and Roush have the best equipment to go the distance. (Although I also have a good feeling about Penske). Forget the exploding Roush engines at the All Star Race, they were experimenting and it didn’t work out that great. At the end of the day when all of the figures are analyzed I am left adding one more fudge factor for the crew chief.

This will not only be a battle between Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth, it will also be a duel between Chad Knaus and Jimmy Fennig. That battle is almost too close to call but I give the slight edge to Chad and Jimmie.

Good luck with your fantasy racing picks this week and don’t forget to send in your pick for “Whiteboard Fantasy Racing” this week for the big race at Charlotte.

Send in your pick to win this week’s Cup race to dennis@racetalkradio.com for a chance to win a copy of the National Speedway Directory from SpeedwaysOnline.com.

Whiteboard Fantasy Racing Winner Last Week

Dennis was the winner last week

 

Whiteboard Fantasy Racing Top Ten After 11 Weeks

Rank

Player

Total

1T

Carbon

23

1T

RA

23

3

LAM

19

4T

Grainger

17

4T

Gertie

17

6T

Chris U

16

6T

DMIC

16

8

Aaron C

15

9

Rick

13

10

Shari P

12

 

Weather Report

http://raceweather.net

If you have a question about Fantasy Racing send it to dennis@racetalkradio.com and get it answered next week.

NASCAR by the Numbers- Lubricated by TheOilMedics.com

Using a proprietary race analysis technique we take the fans inside the numbers every week. DMIC’s rating system has been in use since 2002 and has proven to pick the contenders from the pretenders!

Matt Kenseth

 

Consistency is King (Last Five Races)

Driver

Last 5

Ky Busch

94

M Kenseth

94

K Kahne

94

G Biffle

92

D Hamlin

92

J Johnson

92

D Earnhardt Jr

91

C Edwards

87

B Keselowski

87

M Truex

87

 

Horses for Courses (Track Rating)

Driver

Course

M Kenseth

93

J Logano

92

K Harvick

91

Ky Busch

91

Ku Busch

88

D Reutimann

87

D Ragan

87

C Bowyer

86

K Kahne

86

D Hamlin

86

 

Type Casting (Track Type Factor)

Driver

Type

C Edwards

94

T Stewart

93

M Kenseth

93

K Kahne

92

K Harvick

91

J Gordon

90

G Biffle

89

M Truex

89

D Earnhardt Jr

89

C Bowyer

88

 

Power Rating (240 Minimum to Qualify as Contender)

Driver

Power

M Kenseth

280

K Kahne

271

Ky Busch

268

K Harvick

267

C Edwards

266

G Biffle

265

T Stewart

265

D Hamlin

263

C Bowyer

260

D Earnhardt Jr

258

J Johnson

258

M Truex

256

J Gordon

254

J Logano

254

M Ambrose

252

P Menard

249

AJ Allmendinger

249

M Martin

248

R Newman

248

J McMurray

247

Ku Busch

245

B Keselowski

244

JP Montoya

243

A Almirola

242

D Ragan

241

J Burton

239

R Smith

239

D Reutimann

235

C Mears

227

B Labonte

221

D Gilliland

217

T Kvapil

217

L Cassill

214

D Blaney

212

 

DMIC’s Fantasy Picks

Each week we will take you beyond the numbers to handicap the field from top to bottom to help your Fantasy Racing team succeed. You are also invited to join Lori Munro and I on “White Board Fantasy Racing” every Monday night on “Doin’ Donuts” at 8pm ET on RaceTalkRadio.com. Win fun prizes by picking just the race winners in our unique format. Send your picks to info@racetalkradio.com to enter.

 

Dale Earnhardt Jr

Top Pick (Last Week 2nd)

Jimmie Johnson- Nobody better at making the mid-race adjustments than Chad

(4 to 1 Odds)

Best Long Shot (Odds of 20-1 or More) (Last Week 20th)  

Clint Bowyer- Michael Waltrip Racing is ready to get a win

(25 to 1 Odds)

Top Dogs (Group A in Yahoo) (Last Week 7th)

Matt Kenseth- Was solid in the All Star race and will be even better this week

(8 to 1 Odds)

Second Class (Group B in Yahoo) (Last Week 17th)  

Dale Earnhardt Jr- Just a few ounces of gas from winning last year

(15 to 1 Odds)

Middle Packer (Group C in Yahoo) (Last Week 28th)

Trevor Bayne- Winner likely to have a Roush-Yates or Hendrick Engine

 

Do you have what it takes to handicap the races? Join Lori and Dennis every week and play in the Whiteboard Fantasy Racing Series! Send your pick for the Cup race to info@racetalkradio.com to enter. Weekly prize giv

Print This Post Print This Post