Here’s my simple approach for thinking about The Chase.
I won’t bet on anyone not in The Chase. The track record is dreadful, especially when you take out Talladega, which shouldn’t be a Chase race in the first place. In protest, I will take Jamie McMurray at Talladega. And double yes, here’s that ESPN commercial. We’ve got a long way to go and a short time to get there.
Someone we aren’t thinking of will make a run at The Chase. It’s happened every year. Accept it. Who will that person be? Keep reading the column Mr. Attention Span.
The pool of potential picks will dwindle as The Chase continues. A driver will crash or blow his engine this week and be done. Every week, another driver gets crossed off. Kind of like “The Bachelor” sans the groping. Or the marriage proposals that never come to fruition. Or that dorky host. But you get my point. And yes, here’s a video for “On the Wings of Love” before I make my picks.
20 fake dollars on Kyle Busch at 5/1
I spent way too much time debating between Busch, Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson. People think I hate Busch. I don’t. He’s led more laps than Hamlin here over the last five years, likes short tracks and is giving me slightly better odds than the #48, which is important when you see some of these other picks.
10 fake dollars on Kurt Busch at 12/1
Kurt Busch won here in 2008. He had the best average finish of any driver in 2009. Captain Miller Lite finished third at New Hampshire earlier this year. At 12/1, I feel good about this fake investment. 10 fake dollars on Tony Stewart at 12/1
I have wasted too much money on Whopper Man. But, Stewart finished second at the first Loudon race. He has picked up steam as the season has gone on. Plus, this gives me a terrible excuse to show a goofy looking picture of Carrot Top.
10 fake dollars on Jeff Gordon at 12/1
Gordon is an anomaly wrapped in an enigma of ambiguity on a stick fried with bacon. Only Kevin Harvick has more finishes inside the Top 5 this year. Gordon has led 583 laps more than Kevin Harvick. Only four drivers have led more laps than Gordon all year. Yet he hasn’t won a race, and I have yet to read anyone go out on a limb and pick Gordon to win the Sprint Cup, including me earlier this week. Past history shows Gordon has a 45% chance of finishing in the Top 5 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. I really hope I’m not throwing away fake money.
Jimmie Johnson 4/1 Kyle Busch 5/1 Denny Hamlin 5/1 Kevin Harvick 10/1 Jeff Gordon 12/1 Jeff Burton 12/1 Tony Stewart 12/1 Kurt Busch 12/1 Clint Bowyer 12/1 Juan Pablo Montoya 20/1 Kasey Kahne 25/1 Carl Edwards 25/1 Joey Logano 30/1 Ryan Newman 30/1 Jamie McMurray 30/1 David Reutimann 30/1 Greg Biffle 35/1 Martin Truex Jr 35/1 Matt Kenseth 50/1 Dale Earnhardt Jr 50/1 AJ Allmendinger 50/1 Mark Martin 60/1 Reed Sorenson 100/1 Brad Keselowski 100/1 Travis Kvapil 100/1 Bobby Labonte 100/1 Scott Speed 100/1 Paul Menard 100/1 Regan Smith 100/1 Elliott Sadler 100/1 Sam Hornish Jr 100/1 David Ragan 100/1 Marcos Ambrose 100/1 Field (Any Other Driver) 100/1