Are we there yet?

We’re finally to the half-way point of the 2011 Sprint Cup season. I know. It already seems like forever ago when Trevor Bayne won at Daytona, when Jeff Gordon’s streak ended and when traffic at Kentucky felt longer than an episode of The Talk.

This time last year, it was clear there were only a handful of drivers worth picking. Now, the field is more wide open than ever. And that’s before we head to NASCAR’s favorite paper clip.

Eight different drivers have won at Loudon in the last ten Sprint Cup races. They come from a variety of teams and offer no real trending data.

In 2011, fuel duels have been the norm, not the exception. It hasn’t worked that way at Loudon.

When you think of short tracks in 2011, you think of Kyle Busch. But he stinks at Loudon compared to other short tracks. Plus Busch won last week.

In 2011, first time winners have been the rage. Loudon’s list of recent winners are all future hall of famers and Clint Bowyer.

We’re heading to Bizarro World. And we’ll be there by Sunday. With that in mind, here are my fake picks, down just ten dollars after Kyle Busch hosed me at Kentucky.  

Fifteen fake dollars on Denny Hamlin at 6/1:
Hamlin has the second best average finishing position of any active driver. I have to put my fake money here.

Fifteen fake dollars on Jeff Gordon at 8/1:

Only Gordon has a better record than Hamlin here over the last five years. Only Gordon has won twice for Hendrick in 2011. When the #48 wins, I will cringe. But I just can’t jump 5/1 odds for a team that has struggled this much.

Ten fake dollars on Tony Stewart at 12/1:

Whopper Man has led 394 laps at Loudon over the last five years. Nobody has led more. At 12/1, I call this a value bet. I also will probably call this a loss.

Ten fake dollars on Dale Earnhardt Jr. at 18/1
The #88 finished fourth and eighth in two races at Loudon last year. Remember, the #88 was a dumpster fire last year. The streak has to end. Why not now?

If Kevin Harvick or Jimmie Johnson win, I might cry worse than my daughter during our trip to Michigan. We’re at that point when I let you know what the Spread thinks, and you insert random catchphrase here.

Jimmie Johnson 5/1
Denny Hamlin 6/1
Kevin Harvick 8/1
Kyle Busch 8/1
Jeff Gordon 8/1
Carl Edwards 10/1
Kurt Busch 10/1
Tony Stewart 12/1
Clint Bowyer 15/1
Dale Earnhardt Jr 18/1
Greg Biffle 25/1
Ryan Newman 25/1
Matt Kenseth 25/1
Jeff Burton 30/1
Brad Keselowski 40/1
Martin Truex Jr 40/1
Juan Pablo Montoya 40/1
Mark Martin 40/1
Joey Logano 40/1
Kasey Kahne 40/1
Jamie McMurray 50/1
David Ragan 60/1
David Reutimann 75/1
AJ Allmendinger 75/1
Paul Menard 75/1
Marcos Ambrose 100/1
Regan Smith 100/1
Bobby Labonte 100/1
Brian Vickers 100/1
Field (Any Other Driver) 100/1