The Frontstretch: Great American Race as Always- Fantasy Insight by Dennis Michelsen -- Thursday February 17, 2005

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Great American Race as Always- Fantasy Insight

Dennis Michelsen · Thursday February 17, 2005


Great American Race as Always- Fantasy Insight
Daytona 500

It seems that every year NASCAR plays with the rules, not always for the better! A smaller restrictor plate, different tires, changes to the body styles, and spoilers all trying to make the racing better. Usually they fail and the racing suffers. You always hear people calling this the “Super Bowl of Racing,” and much like the Super Bore"¦umm BOWL the hype isn’t as good as the event. But this is Daytona the home of good old-fashioned stock car speed! This is the place where the slingshot pass and drafting became an art form! This is the place where the Pettys and the Allisons and the Pearsons and the Earnhardts became legends. So bring on the racing season and the Daytona 500"¦maybe the race won’t live up to our hopes but it will be the first real race of the year!

It’s not too late to get your picks in for “Last One Standing!” It’s NASCAR meets Survivor in this unique race game challenge! Come join the usual gang and some fun newcomers as we crown the champion in the first nine-race segment of the year!

Check out for rules and how you too can GET IN THE GAME! (Deadline each week is 5pm EST Saturday if the Cup race is on Sunday and 5pm EST Friday if the race is on a Saturday)

Daytona 500 by the Numbers

Daytona Ratings
Dale Earnhardt JR135
Kevin Harvick129
Jeff Gordon126
Michael Waltrip125
Jimmie Johnson122
Ricky Rudd118
Dale Jarrett115
Sterling Marlin114
Tony Stewart114
Elliott Sadler111

Consistency Ratings
DriverLast Five
J Johnson130
J Gordon124
M Martin124
Ku Busch121
J McMurray120
K Kahne118
R Newman118
R Wallace116
T Stewart114
G Biffle113

Power Ratings
DriverDaytonaLast FivePower
Jimmie Johnson122130252
Jeff Gordon126124250
Dale Earnhardt JR135108243
Kevin Harvick129108236
Mark Martin109124232
Ricky Rudd118112230
Tony Stewart114114228
Kurt Busch106121227
Michael Waltrip12598222
Greg Biffle106113219
Sterling Marlin114102216
Rusty Wallace95116211
Bobby Labonte98108207
Joe Nemechek97109206
Jeff Burton98106204
Ryan Newman86118203
Jamie McMurray80120200
Dale Jarrett11585200
Jeremy Mayfield10792198
Kasey Kahne79118197
Elliott Sadler11180191
Carl Edwards80109189
Robby Gordon9789187
Matt Kenseth9689185
Jeff Green8698184
Brian Vickers82102184

Lower Rated Drivers to Watch in 2005
Kyle Petty and Jeff Green: Looking for a driver to fill out the lower category of your race game? The switch to Evernham motors makes both Jeff Green and Kyle Petty much better bets in the 2005 season!

Dave Blaney: Has great equipment under him and could be a threat at some of the mile and a half speedways.

Travis Kvapil: Showed some talent in the Truck series and now gets a Cup ride with good equipment.

Handicapping the Race
More NASCAR rule changes seem to have evened up the field this year, taking away the DEI dominance at Daytona. But those DEI Crew Chiefs are a savvy bunch and seemed to make big strides in the Gatorade 150 qualifying races on Thursday. This will make for some tough choices for race handicappers this week!

Top Pick
Jimmie Johnson
I hate picking “chalks” (That means favorite) but how can you pick against Johnson? His week so far reminds me of DJ’s a few years ago when he had the Daytona sweep!

Strong Picks
Tony Stewart
Smoke showed strong runs in both the Shootout and by winning his 150-qualifying race.

Ryan Newman
Rocket Man has flipped a few times here but could be strong in the draft if he stays out of trouble.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr: New Crew Chief or not you can’t pick against Junior here!

Hunch Bet
Jeff Burton
Looks weird in the orange Cingular colors but RCR stuff looks good here this week.

Longshot Bet
Martin Truex, Jr.
Has to race his way into the field and could end up having a big weekend.

Consensus Picks
Every week we will take the picks of some of the best expert handicappers in the business along with my picks and the computer ratings to come up with our “Consensus Picks.”

Green Griffin’s Picks
Dale Earnhardt Jr he has gotten better all week, as have all
DEI’s cars, so ergo Junior is the pick.

Michael Waltrip
Win in the 2nd dual duel proved DEI has figured out what was wrong. Go Mikey!

Tony Stewart
He is racing so smooth that he may appear out of the smoke of “the Big One” to win.

Long shot Ricky Rudd experience, end of career denial for motivation, back with his ole teammate and showing a very fast car.

Consensus Rating Points
Jimmie Johnson 10pts
Dale Earnhardt Jr 6pts
Tony Stewart 4pts
Jeff Gordon 3pts
Michael Waltrip 3pts
Ryan Newman 1pt

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Dennis no longer contributes to the Frontstretch, but you can Dennis's commentary at his website bio and archive page.