So the fuel duel discussion really has me thinking…

Fake wagers on Brad Keselowski, Regan Smith and Trevor Bayne would each have paid enough to make my fake year.

Last year, the best odds you could get for a win was 30/1.

Trend? Hiccup? The answer to that question will dictate the rest of 2011 and my ability to stop the bleeding, down a fake 160 after Keselowski’s win.

For those who say it’s a trend, there is valid support. David Ragan, Marcos Ambrose and AJ Allmendinger haven’t won yet. Each has ran up front and shown they belong there. If all the analysts are right and it’s not a matter of if they win but when, there are some really good opportunities to make fake money.

Then there’s Martin Truex, Kurt Busch, Kasey Kahne, Brian Vickers and Joey Logano. Each has won before. Each has struggled in in 2011. If they right the ship as the pundits suggest, there’s great opportunity to cash in, assuming it’s legal where you live. If not, this is for entertainment only.

Last year, sticking with the favorites was entertaining to me. Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson equaled success. Traditionally, we know who will contend for the title with about eight or nine races to go.

This year, it seems like we have that knowledge. Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth have won half the races. Why can’t they contend in 2011?
The answer is Jimmie Johnson and…wait for it…Dale Earnhardt Jr. I’m floored we haven’t talked more about their partnership. Remember, they’re garage buddies. Neighbors. You’re telling that hasn’t paid dividends for the #88? You’re telling me it won’t pay dividends for the #48?

I have no clue who will win the Sprint Cup. What I do know is enough long shots look like medium shots, that I’m spreading my shots with the hope of hitting bullseye.

10 fake dollars on Tony Stewart at 10/1
Once in the last five years has Stewart finished worse than 10th at Pocono. Plus, it’s summer. We’re used to seeing him turn it on.

10 fake dollars on Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle at 14/1
They’re like Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear in that Farrelly Brothers movie that wasn’t funny. I’m stuck on them.

10 fake dollars on Kurt Busch at 25/1
Busch may have had the best car at Daytona. He probably had the best car last week. And when you’ve led the third most laps here in the last five years, this seems too good to be true.

5 fake dollars on David Ragan at 40/1

I’m waiting patiently.

5 fake dollars AJ Allmendinger at 60/1
I’m waiting a little less patiently

I can’t wait to see what’s in store Sunday and the rest of this season. Here’s what The Spread thinks, and insert random catchphrase here.

Denny Hamlin #11 9/2
Jimmie Johnson #48 6/1
Carl Edwards #99 7/1
Kyle Busch #18 10/1
Tony Stewart #14 10/1
Kevin Harvick #29 11/1
Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 14/1
Greg Biffle #16 14/1
Jeff Gordon #24 14/1
Matt Kenseth #17 14/1
Kasey Kahne #4 25/1
Kurt Busch #22 25/1
Clint Bowyer #33 28/1
Jeff Burton #31 35/1
Brian Vickers #83 40/1
David Ragan #6 40/1
Jamie McMurray #1 40/1
Joey Logano #20 40/1
Juan Pablo Montoya #42 40/1
Mark Martin #5 40/1
Martin Truex Jr. #56 40/1
Ryan Newman #39 40/1
Brad Keselowski #2 50/1
David Reutimann #00 50/1
A.J. Allmendinger #43 60/1
Marcos Ambrose #9 60/1
Paul Menard #27 65/1
Regan Smith #78 150/1
Sam Hornish Jr. #38 200/1
Bobby Labonte #47 250/1
Andy Lally #71 500/1
Casey Mears #13 500/1
Dave Blaney #36 500/1
David Gilliland #34 500/1
J.J. Yeley #46 500/1
Joe Nemechek #87 500/1
Landon Cassill #51 500/1
Michael McDowell #66 500/1
Mike Skinner #60 500/1
Robby Gordon #7 500/1
Scott Riggs #81 500/1
T.J. Bell #50 500/1
Terry Labonte #32 500/1
Tony Raines #37 500/1