What if?

It’s a question we all ask. For the sake of this column, it’s the difference between being up gobbs of fake cash and being down just 30 fake dollars after last week’s win at Atlanta. Fun. I hope. Life altering?  Not unless my editor fires me for losing too much.   

For Joe Gibbs, the words “what” and “ if”  could impact whether or not his team takes home the 2010 Sprint Cup. Follow me through the following question: What if Joe Gibbs Racing didn’t switch to Toyota after the 2007 season?

I get it. JGR got paid in terms of cashola and resources. But Chevy gear has the proven ability to win titles and run 36 races. Ask Denny Hamlin’s crew about that track record after Atlanta?

You could go back and forth on this all day. The real question is does Tony Stewart stay at JGR? Whopper Man admitted Chevy loyalty was a reason he left to form his own team. Think about it.

  • If Stewart stayed, does Denny Hamlin have the room to step up as a leader, ambassador and contender?
  • If Stewart stayed, do he and Kyle Busch fight to the death in the Joe Gibbs Racing lunchroom over who gets the last bag of M&M’s?
  • If Stewart stayed, does Joey Logano ride out in the Nationwide Series, have enough sponsorship mojo to be the fourth JGR team or bail to go somewhere else? Heck, is Logano ready to even run Sprint Cup?

But, as Robert De Niro said in Heat, “There’s a flip side to that coin.”

  • Stewart brought over Ryan Newman, which helped expedite Brad Keselowski’s ability to agitate everyone on the Sprint Cup, including Kyle Busch.  Payback sucks. Payback during the Chase…uh oh.
  • Stewart’s move prevented JGR from adding a fourth car. How would the fourth car have impacted JGR? Would we have seen a fumble like with Richard Childress Racing? Would they have figured it out?
  • Stewart is running what some have called an extension of Hendrick Motorsports. Are the lessons Stewart learns helping Jimmie Johnson or Jeff Gordon or Stewart himself?  

It’s amazing how one decision can have so many offshoots. Enough to certainly impact the 2010 season, along with my fake wagering on Saturday night’s race at Richmond.

30 fake dollars on Kyle Busch at 4/1:
There’s a reason these odds stink. Can you name a driver who has done better at a track than Busch at Richmond. Three wins and seven finishes of fifth or better in the last five years. That’s a 77% chance Busch will contend and 33% chance Busch will win if this run hold up. Even if Busch were 3/1, I would throw fake money at him.  

10 fake dollars on Tony Stewart at 10/1:

I can’t write the column I just wrote without picking him. And even if I wrote the column on how my brother didn’t read my column while in Vegas last week, I would still take Stewart, who has led 899 laps at Richmond since 2005.

10 fake dollars on Kevin Harvick at 12/1:
Over the last five years, no other driver not named Busch has had a better track record at Richmond than Kevin Harvick. Dude is leading the point race. What in the name of Rodney Dangerfield is going on? I hope a win Saturday night.

Here is what The Spread thinks. Enjoy the race, and insert random catchphrase here.

Kyle Busch 4/1
Jimmie Johnson 6/1
Denny Hamlin 6/1
Tony Stewart 10/1
Jeff Gordon 10/1
Kevin Harvick 12/1
Carl Edwards 12/1
Kurt Busch 15/1
Jeff Burton 15/1
Greg Biffle 18/1
Kasey Kahne 20/1
Juan Pablo Montoya 25/1
Clint Bowyer 25/1
Mark Martin 30/1
Matt Kenseth 30/1
Ryan Newman 30/1
David Reutimann 30/1
Jamie McMurray 30/1
Martin Truex Jr 30/1
Dale Earnhardt Jr 35/1
Joey Logano 40/1
AJ Allmendinger 100/1
Marcos Ambrose 100/1
Sam Hornish Jr 100/1
Elliott Sadler 100/1
Regan Smith 100/1
Paul Menard 100/1
Bobby Labonte 100/1
Scott Speed 100/1
David Ragan 100/1
Reed Sorenson 100/1
Travis Kvapil 100/1
Brad Keselowski 100/1
Field (Any Other Driver) 50/1