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phunwin
09-13-2006, 02:58 PM
Here's my attempt at handicapping the field...

3-1 - Matt Kenseth. He's peaking at the right time, he's consistent, and he runs pretty well just about everywhere. Better still, the bulk of the tracks on the schedule are the intermediate-type tracks at which he runs best. Right now, he's the guy to beat.

5-1 - Jimmie Johnson. I don't buy the whole "they've gone into the tank" yap. Rather, I think they've been sandbagging for a couple months, just like Tony Stewart did last year. Here's the thing, though: when Stewart did it, the #20 car still ran well. Johnson hasn't. A month ago, I thought he was the class of the field. Now, I'm not entirely sure he's the best bet at Hendrick Motorsports.

5-1 - Jeff Gordon. Before Richmond, the four-time champ was running better over the last two months than anyone. Even Kenseth. They've got the intermediate track program figured out, which killed them last year. There are just three tracks at which he's never won a race: Texas, Phoenix and Homestead. The last three tracks on the Chase schedule? Texas, Phoenix and Homestead. But if that intermediate track setup looks as good as it did at Michigan, Chicago and California, he could run away with it.

6-1 - Kevin Harvick. Harvick's another guy who's looked really good over the last two months, after some early season jitters. Only problem is, the schedule doesn't set up real well for him: he's historically weak at Charlotte, Martinsville, Atlanta and Kansas.

13-2 - Kyle Busch. With some coaching from Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson, Busch has learned to be a more patient driver. I'd rate him higher if I didn't have the eerie feeling that he was going to do something really stupid and kill his chances at some point.

8-1 - Kasey Kahne. Leads the field in wins, and would be a lot higher if not for some rotten luck. I'd rate him higher if I didn't have the nagging feeling that he used up his best stuff just to make the Chase, and will let down now that he's there.

1-0 - Tony Stewart. Wow, what a f&*kin' tragedy. Let's go buy some butts.

10-1 - Dale Earnhardt Jr. Earnhardt is actually my nominee for driver of the year. Yes, NASCAR has an award for "Driver of the Year", and it doesn't automatically go to the champion. I know it's somewhat inane, so don't bother bringing it to my attention. That said, Junior has been saddled with some lousy cars this year, and has nursed them to good finishes. I used to think he was overrated as a driver, but I happily retract that opinion. If anything, he's underrated; it's his equipment that's overrated. If Earnhardt drove for Hendrick or even his daddy's old team, he might well be the odds-on favorite this year. Instead, he's a longshot because there's no guarantee that DEI will give him a top 10 car every week.

15-1 - Denny Hamlin. No Pocono on the Chase schedule. Sorry, Denny. Hamlin's "checker or wrecker" style just won't cut it in the Chase. I would bet he'll win a championship in the next five years, though.

20-1 - Mark Martin. After the Richmond race, Martin called Tony Stewart "the greatest driver of this era". Absolutely. Good call, Mark. Because Tony's got two championships. To be considered a greater driver in this era, you'd have to still be active, and have more championships than Stewart. I mean, it's not like there's an active driver, currently in the Chase, who has, say, FOUR.

30-1 - Jeff Burton. Looked great early in the year, but faded badly over the last couple months and made the Chase by the skin of his teeth. Really the only guy in the field I would write off immediately.

THOMAS_54
09-15-2006, 09:59 PM
I honestly think Harvick or Kenseth have the best chances of winning. I think Johnson will choke again, plus he has been running that good.

woody1351
09-15-2006, 10:08 PM
harvick will win it i think.

NorthFloridaFin
09-18-2006, 08:05 PM
Man, Harvick absolutely dominated the race yesterday!!! That 3-wide pass made me a little nervous, but that is what it is going to take to win the Championship!!! I've been waiting patiently for him to break out, and he is finally doing it at just the right time. Go get 'em Kevin, put the GM Goodwrench back where it rightfully belongs, in victory lane and hoisting the Championship Trophy.

NJFINSFAN1
09-19-2006, 08:38 AM
Gordon is right where he wants to be! He is due for a win streak and I feel he will win the Trophy!!!