The long, cold, winter that was the NASCAR offseason has finally come to an end… which means it’s time to turn the key on another season of fantasy racing. Whether your team was the cream of the crop or a basement dweller in 2007, the new season gives all fantasy players a renewed hope that they can dominate their leagues, emerging victorious at the end of their Chase for the Championship. But with a new car on the track and new faces in new places, there are a lot of big decisions to be weighed by the minds of fantasy team owners this year. So, with so many questions, where do you turn for the answers? It’s simple; kick off your season in the right direction by reading this week’s version of Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans.
Jimmie Johnson – Johnson has top-10 finishes in four of his six starts at Homestead, including a second-place result scored here in 2004. For those looking for a little drama, Johnson did crash out here in 2005 en route to 40th place.
if you’re reading this now, your team is likely among the Johnsons and Gordons of the world, racing into the weekend with a chance at championship glory. This is your last opportunity to put your best foot forward; are you ready to take home the league trophy? You will be – after reading the expert advice contained in this week’s edition of Picks ‘N’ Pans.
Jimmie Johnson – Johnson came home second in this race last year, and has four straight top-10 finishes at Phoenix. He also finished second here in 2003.
NASCAR heads to the Desert Southwest for their second trip to Phoenix International Raceway this weekend, as the Chase for the Nextel Cup has winnowed down to merely a two-horse race. While six drivers are still mathematically alive, just Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon remain with a realistic chance to take home the trophy come November 18th. Hopefully, your team’s in the same boat as those two, battling hard for a title after 34 races filled with your fair share of ups and downs.
Jeff Gordon – Quick; Gordon hasn’t won at which two tracks currently on the Cup schedule? That’s right… Homestead and Texas. Gordon did finish second at TMS in 2002 and has top-10 finishes in six of his 13 Cup starts here; however, his average finish in Fort Worth remains a paltry 16th.
With just three races left, the chance to move up is fading fast; just like in the real Chase, the contenders have emerged from the pretenders in most leagues. Now, the circuit heads to the self-proclaimed Great American Racetrack this weekend, traveling down to Texas for 500 miles of jockeying on SMI’s mile-and-a-half facility. With its aged asphalt surface and multiple grooves, the racing should be full of twists and turns, increasing the importance for you to pick wisely at a time where any bad break could cost you the chance to win your league.
Jeff Gordon – In 30 Cup starts at Atlanta, the points leader has posted four victories and 18 top-10 finishes. However, he finished 12th in the race this spring.
Unless your fantasy league is similar to the current Nextel Cup standings, there are still more than a few good reasons to keep reworking your driver lineup with time running out on 2007. The final four race dash to glory starts this weekend at Atlanta, one of the fastest tracks on the circuit, and any little tweak could make the difference in a tight-knit league. Obviously, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon will be garnering plenty of attention this week as they continue their battle for the title. But while they both have impressive records at Atlanta, it’s the hidden gems and the not so obvious picks that could help take your team to the next level this late in the season and help separate you from the rest of the pack.
Jeff Gordon – In the last nine Cup races at Martinsville, Gordon has won four times, finished second twice, and never finished outside the top 10. In 29 Martinsville career starts, Gordon has won seven times, and is averaging a seventh-place finish.