Where is Jim Grey and the Boys and Girls Club when I need them?

After picking up a 30/1 winner in the form of Jamie McMurray at Indianapolis last week, I’m down a mere 75 fake dollars in my quest to pick race winners every week. So I’ve decided to use the most clichéd sports parody of the last month and take my talents to Pocono, where I correctly picked Denny Hamlin to win earlier this year.

Unlike that former Cavalier who won’t get mentioned in this column, I don’t need a Big Three to compete. But I do think there are three things to think about as the Chase looms.

Racing for points may not make as much sense as we hear it does:

It’s popular to say drivers race for points late in the season to not blow their Chase chances. Take a closer look at the standings. Only two drivers are within 100 points of 12th place. While I agree the points matter inside that 100 point threshold, let’s wait and see how many drivers can get within that range before making picks based on a theory you can’t apply in 2010.

Win a race, make the Chase:

Why is Jamie McMurray not going to make the Chase? Why did Kyle Busch not make the Chase a few years back? This is such a no brainer. Every driver would have a chance to be relevant every week. We would see crazy strategy, and every driver would have hope. I have yet to hear why this is a bad idea from anyone. This is how you create interest and action in a sport looking for both.

Don’t make the Chase, go home:

What’s preventing Brad Keselowski from slamming into Carl Edwards and ruining any chance he had of winning the season title? I know that chance is already .0452%, but that’s not the point. The Detroit Lions don’t play during the playoffs. Neither should Paul Menard. If a non-chaser wins a Chase race, should they be allowed into the Chase? You could sell me on that idea.

Anyway, my picks are simple; so, enough blabbing.

40 fake dollars on Denny Hamlin at 7/2: Hamlin was 5/1 in June. He won me money. I’m loyal. Hamlin won this same race last year. I’m good at getting info off the internet. Hamlin has four wins at the track in the last five years and doesn’t need to race for points. I’m on the bandwagon.
10 on Tony Stewart at 11/1: Whopper Man is the last driver to win at this track not named Hamlin. And while he needs good finishes to ensure his spot in the Chase, Smoke isn’t the passive type. Plus, I’ve bet on this dude more than any other driver this year, and I am not going to hop off this bandwagon until it pays dividends. Call it the Kevin Harvick syndrome.

The Spread alphabetized their odds this week; so, enjoy the race Sunday, and insert random catchphrase here.

A.J. Allmendinger 75/1
Bobby Labonte 200/1
Brad Keselowski 80/1
Carl Edwards 22/1
Casey Mears 250/1
Clint Bowyer 14/1
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 40/1
David Gilliland 250/1
David Ragan 100/1
David Reutimann 40/1
David Stremme 250/1
Denny Hamlin 7/2
Elliott Sadler 200/1
Greg Biffle 22/1
J.J. Yeley 500/1
Jamie McMurray 22/1
Jeff Burton 20/1
Jeff Gordon 10/1
Jimmie Johnson 11/2
Joey Logano 35/1
Juan Pablo Montoya 22/1
Kasey Kahne 20/1
Kevin Conway 500/1
Kevin Harvick 10/1
Kurt Busch 20/1
Kyle Busch 11/2
Landon Cassill 500/1
Marcos Ambrose 150/1
Mark Martin 25/1
Martin Truex Jr. 45/1
Matt Kenseth 30/1
Max Papis 500/1
Paul Menard 100/1
Reed Sorenson 150/1
Regan Smith 200/1
Robby Gordon 300/1
Ryan Newman 40/1
Sam Hornish Jr 125/1
Scott Speed 150/1
Todd Bodine 500/1
Tony Stewart 11/1
Travis Kvapil 250/1