How fitting the week Red Bull Racing dumps NASCAR that the 2011 Sprint Cup schedule takes us to wine country?

Relaxed sipping and right turns don’t seem like an odd mix. It is an odd mix. So are the following realities that come from Red Bull’s departure.

Danica Patrick is more likely to have a full-time ride next year than Brian Vickers.
Patrick has a guaranteed sponsor in a sport craving them. Vickers is good. But is he good enough to lure a sponsor for a fourth team at Joe Gibbs Racing?  No wonder he jumps out of airplanes.

Carl Edwards just saw his asking price drop.
This is the most underreported racing story I can remember. Joe Gibbs Racing wants Edwards. Roush Fenway Racing wants to keep him. But how badly? Trevor Bayne, Brian Vickers, Ricky Stenhouse, Mark Martin, Clint Bowyer, Juan Montoya and other guys I’m forgetting could all occupy the same seat. Pay Edwards? Of course. Overpay Edwards? Ask the Yankees how that’s working with Derrick Jeter.

Silly season wasn’t supposed to be that funny. Now it’s a comedic explosion before you even had a glass of merlot. Speaking of which, my wife wants me to spend time with her. Here are some quick picks, with me down a fake 110 dollars after last week’s win.

Twenty fake dollars on Jeff Gordon at 20/1

Gordon is involved in the wine business. He is the only driver to finish tenth or better each of the last five years. This seems to good to be true.
Twenty fake dollars on Kyle Busch at 20/1
Busch has led more laps here than anyone over the last five years. Joe Gibbs Racing seems to have solid fuel milege. Kevin Harvick and Team Childress aren’t great on road courses and can’t wreck him.

Five fake dollars on Denny Hamlin at 25/1
Four drivers have led more laps here than Hamlin the last five years. Robby Gordon has lower odds. This doesn’t make sense to me either

Five fake dollars on Kasey Kahne at 30/1
Red Bull Racing and wine country. Why not? Plus how awkward would the celebration be after the race? This needs to happen.

So does your enjoyment of Sunday’s race on TNT. Here’s what The Spread thinks, and insert random catchphrase here.

Marcos Ambrose 5/1
Tony Stewart 6/1
Kyle Busch 7/1
Juan Pablo Montoya 7/1
Jeff Gordon 7/1
Jimmie Johnson 8/1
Kevin Harvick 10/1
Carl Edwards 15/1
Kurt Busch 15/1
Boris Said 20/1
Robby Gordon 20/1
Denny Hamlin 25/1
Kasey Kahne 30/1
Jamie McMurray 30/1
Clint Bowyer 40/1
Paul Menard 40/1
AJ Allmendinger 40/1
Ryan Newman 40/1
Greg Biffle 50/1
Mark Martin 50/1