There are ten races in the Chase. Yet at the ten percent mark of the journey, everyone wants to assume what will happen over the next two months.

In a marathon season, sprinting to judgment rarely works. That said, what happened in Chicago when nobody was watching should make you watch a few things more closely this weekend when the 2011 Sprint Cup schedule takes us to New Hampshire.

Does Denny Hamlin looks done?

Every year, there is a driver that has a dreadful run of bad luck. This year, it looks like Hamlin messed with the wrong racing deities. Bad engines. Worse tires. Fuel mileage bets that didn’t yield dividends. Cursed. Stepping under a ladder with a black cat while throwing a rock at a mirror cursed. If Hamlin has any chance, it has to begin Sunday.
Is Tony Stewart for real?
Stewart makes a late season push every year.
This year is different because Whopper Man trashed his own team and said he didn’t deserve a Chase spot. Now, he can sniff the lead and his third title.

Remember, Clint Bowyer won the first Chase race last year. Even though he lost a ton of points in a post race inspection debacle, Bowyer would have been a non-factor the rest of the season.  Just a thought before Whopper Man gets a new crown.

What’s up with Kyle Busch?
Sputtering…again. Don’t be the Peyton Manning of NASCAR’s playoffs.

Can Jimmie Johnson regroup?

How many times can Five Time give away a race before people realize he won’t become Six Time? Captain Lowe’s hasn’t been in full gear all season. Guy is running out of chances.

Anyone can tell you what they think. It takes something to wager fake money on your opinions. Down a mere five dollars after Stewart’s win in Chicago, here’s where fiscal rubber meets digital road this Sunday.

20 fake dollars on Tony Stewart at 6/1:

If Stewart has momentum and finished second at this track earlier in the year, then this seems like a good use of fake dollars.  I think Stewart has momentum and know he finished second here earlier this year. Plus, dude has two wins at the track.

10 fake dollars on Denny Hamlin at 8/1:
It’s now or never. Show the fans you are what you said you were last year.

10 fake dollars on Kyle Busch at 10/1:
Kyle Busch on a short track with these odds? Thank you very much.

10 fake dollars on Ryan Newman at 15/1:

Newman won here earlier this year. Maybe this is a mirage. Or maybe it’s a ticket to fake profit for the year.

The race is just starting to get interesting. Let’s see what questions get answered Sunday. Here’s what The Spread thinks, and insert random catchphrase here.

Jimmie Johnson 5/1
Jeff Gordon 6/1
Tony Stewart 6/1
Kevin Harvick 7/1
Denny Hamlin 8/1
Kyle Busch 10/1
Carl Edwards 12/1
Brad Keselowski 12/1
Ryan Newman 15/1
Kurt Busch 15/1
Clint Bowyer 15/1
Dale Earnhardt Jr 20/1
Jeff Burton 40/1
Mark Martin 40/1
Matt Kenseth 40/1
Martin Truex Jr 40/1
Greg Biffle 40/1
Kasey Kahne 40/1
Joey Logano 40/1
Jamie McMurray 50/1
Juan Pablo Montoya 60/1
David Ragan 75/1
David Reutimann 100/1
Paul Menard 100/1
Brian Vickers 100/1
AJ Allmendinger 100/1
Marcos Ambrose 100/1
Regan Smith 200/1
Bobby Labonte 300/1
Field (Any Other Driver) 300/1