by Chris Leone, Special To NASCAR commentary and driver pictures, 2012 NASCAR schedule, video, Bench Racing With Steve and Charlie
I do weekly Fantasy Pick'Em columns here at OPR, as well as the occasional opinion and analysis piece. I also provide the IZOD IndyCar Series coverage. For more on that, head to my site, OpenWheelAmerica.com. My Twitter handle is @christopherlion.October 13, 2010 1:43 pm UTC No Comments
Last week’s California event was a debacle for a handful of Chasers, including the brothers Busch and the entire Roush Fenway Racing brigade. Of course, three of my five fantasy picks from last week were included in that group of six people, and Jamie McMurray was no fantasy stud either. Way to break up my run, folks – for my lead picks, the ones that really count, I had Denny Hamlin (2nd) at Loudon, Carl Edwards (5th) at Dover, and Greg Biffle (1st) at Kansas. Were I a Chase driver, I’d have gone from up 17 points on Johnson to 90 points out of the lead.
Then again, I purposely avoided Jimmie Johnson as a fantasy pick last week. I figured that such a prediction would be too easy to make. In a way, I was right. While Johnson didn’t win, nobody gained any substantial ground on him, and many of the stronger Chase competitors lost anywhere from 20 to 100 points on him.
Since I’ve been trying to pick each Chase driver once during the Chase, I’m going to pick Johnson this weekend. No, it’s not JUST because I’m disappointed with last week’s failures, it’s because I had this budgeted out before the season. While you can pick Johnson at just about any track and get away with it, his numbers are absurd compared to the competition at Charlotte. Six wins in 18 starts with 13 top-10s is huge. The only reason his average finish flutters into the double digits is because of a few DNFs, but hey, we’ve all been there.
As for a dark horse, although I struggle to label him as such because his limited Charlotte stats have a stronger average than Johnson’s, Joey Logano is a solid pick. He has an average finish of 9.0 in three Charlotte starts, with a top five finish in this race last year. Although he hasn’t won at the track in Sprint Cup or Nationwide, he’s never finished outside of the top 15 in a race in either. He’ll score a lot of points either way.
Three more, as a part of fantasy racing’s biggest safety net:
I’m going to go with three-time Charlotte winner Kasey Kahne in this slot for two weekends in a row. Perhaps I’m indebted to Kahne for being the only driver I picked to post a finish worth anything last week at California, but his Charlotte record speaks for itself. In fact, his only Charlotte DNF came in a race he dominated, the fall event in 2004. In seven of his 13 Charlotte starts he’s led laps in the double digits, and he’s led more than 100 laps in a Charlotte event three times.
Tony Stewart is on quite the high after the way the past week or so has went. First, he wins the California event and propels himself back into Chase contention; then, he confirms the long-whispered rumor that Mobil 1 will join Stewart-Haas Racing next year to complete the sponsorship of Stewart’s own car. Nevermind a 13.4 average finish and eight consecutive top-20s at Charlotte – he’s got the momentum on his side, and that can only help.
Finally, coming from left field, David Reutimann is an interesting Charlotte pick. Yes, his Coca-Cola 600 win last year was a product of a clever pit strategy during a rainy spell, but his finishes at the track have improved greatly since that confidence builder. His past two races there have seen finishes of 15th and fifth, and he managed to lead laps, if only briefly, during the 600 this time around.
Photo credit: Jordan Tabak, OnPitRow.com
by Steve Wronkowicz
I am co-host of the syndicated radio show: ON PIT ROW. Over ten years on the air and three on the net; see what can happen when I don't let the facts get in the way of my opinions.May 26, 2009 9:54 am UTC 5 Comments
Some of the media were referring to the Coca-Cola 600 as the 24 Hours of Charlotte because the holiday weekend dodged rain storm after rain storm.
Mike Bliss won a rain shortened Nationwide Series race on Saturday night, but the 600 couldn’t roll off the starting line on Sunday because of persistent rain. By the time Memorial Day Monday rolled around, the teams, drivers and media had had enough of trying to kill time. But it didn’t take long for the first of several rain delays to stop the action at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
It looked early on as if the scheduled 400 laps would never be seen and a race to halfway was going to be the order of the day. Michael Waltrip Racing’s David Reutimann got the teams first Sprint Cup win by staying on the racetrack when the final rain delay hit the speedway.
I think we sat on pit road eight hours today is what it felt like. We just kept waiting. Rodney and I talked. I was like, I’ve been in situations like this before, obviously not in a Cup race, but different situations. This deal never goes my way, so I don’t see why it should now. We talked about what we were going to change on the car when we came down pit road. Rodney told me, I’m either going to get us a win or lose us 10 spots, one or the other. It’s a gamble. I said, I’ll stay out. That’s what he told me to do. That’s what I do. When I’m told to do something, I generally do something.
NASCAR waited about two and a half hours before finally calling the race over and done. By that time there weren’t many fans left in the grandstands to celebrate. MWR, had seen its share of adversity throughout its first two-plus years of competition. From the jet fuel incident it first year, to not making races times have been tough. Reutimann made all those heartaches and mis-steps seem long removed when he was able to paddle his #00 into the winners circle.
This week’s BUZZ ON PIT ROW ponders:
How does Reutimann’s win stack up as far as first wins go?
Let us know what you think and we could us your comments to this weeks ON PIT ROW radio show. Listen live every Tuesday from 5-7pm ET at onpitrow.com. Call the show at 1-800-645-2946 and you could win a Kevin Harvick bobblehead if your call is the Shell Nitrogen Enriched Call of the Day.
by Charlie Turner
Thanks for stopping by OnPitRow.com and the Bench Racing with Steve and Charlie blog. The best NASCAR and IndyCar news and opinion, exclusive pictures and video. I'm Charlie Turner. Follow me on Twitter @onpitrowFebruary 11, 2008 10:25 am UTC 4 Comments
We are barely started in the 2008 season and who can believe what has happened?
One year after “fuelgate” Michael Waltrip has put his NAPA Camry on the front row for next week’s Daytona 500. Oh yeah and the not so surprising part; joining him on the front row–Jimmy Johnson. Johnson hasn’t missed a beat from 2007, by putting his Lowes Chevrolet on the pole.
Here are this week’s Fast lap questions:
1– Should Tony Stewart or Kurt Busch be penalized for their confrontation on the race track during Budweiser Shootout practice?
2– Was this the best Bud Shootout ever?
3– Whose qualifying effort was more surprising; David Reutimann’s or Joe Nemechek’s?
4– Will Casey Mears become an after thought at Hendrick Motorsports?
So, what do you think? Remember; if we like your comments, whether we agree or disagree, we could use them on this week’s broadcast of ON PIT ROW. ON PIT ROW can be heard live via streaming audio every week, Tuesdays at 5pm ET. Just click on LISTEN LIVE on the home page.
Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett – Getty Images for NASCAR