NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Fantasy Friday: Gordon goes from Wonder Boy to Underdog

With Dover in the rear-view, the first half of the “regular” season is over en route to the 10 race Chase for the Championship. With a new Pocono on the horizon, and a shorter race, there’s sure to be excitement as the series takes to the new surface. Speeds crested 200 mph in test sessions Thursday at the Tricky Triangle.

Top 5 Picks

Jimmie Johnson – Wig or not, fastest car or not, he’s on too big a roll not to pick. He does have two wins and 14 tops 10s at the Tricky Triangle.

Carl Edwards – He needs a win bad and Pocono comes up at the just the right time. He’s got two career victories here and he needs to make it three to get back into the Chase picture.

Jeff Gordon – Yes, I’m well aware of his poor luck this year, but I’ve got a feeling it’s going to change this week as he has five wins and 17 top-5 finishes at Pocono.

Denny Hamlin – He has four wins in 12 tries at Pocono.

Brad Keselowski – He’s young, but he’s also won at Pocono and the Penske cars seem to run well on the big tracks.

Shoulda, woulda, coulda – Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Yes, he’s been close a few times to breaking his 142-race winless streak, but I just couldn’t quite pick him, especially with an average finish of 17th in 24 starts. However, with his strong runs so far this year, he’s definitely a long shot for victory lane.

ACCOUNTABILITY GROUP
Here’s a look at how last week’s picks fared in the 400-mile race at Dover.

Jimmie Johnson: 1st. Not the fastest car, but no mistakes either.

Matt Kenseth: 3rd. He was good all day, but couldn’t challenge Johnson.

Greg Biffle: 11th. Points leader was OK, but never led a lap at Dover.

Kyle Busch: 29th. Ambushed by a grenade engine.

Martin Truex, Jr.: 7th. Did a steady job at Dover, but never a contender to win either.

Here’s a look at my results after 13 races and 65 picks.
7 wins
22 top fives
29 top 10s

Grade for the week: B+. That’s six winners in a row counting the All-Star race. Would have been an A week had Busch’s engine not blown as he was in the top 5 much of the first half of the race.

One Last Thing: It’s been a NASCAR Sprint Cup record 30 races since a driver won from the pole. The last driver to start on the pole and win at Pocono was Tony Stewart in 2009.

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