Real Battle Is Wild Card Chase
Greg Biffle got his second win of the season at Michigan this weekend and retook the lead in the NASCAR point standings with only three races left to go before the start of the Chase. However, Jimmie Johnson came within six laps of winning his fourth race of the year when he lost an engine while leading the race.
Johnson, Jeff Gordon, and Tony Stewart all lost Hendrick built engines during the race and Johnson also changed an engine after the second practice session of the weekend. Still, he came from the 43rd starting position to lead very late in the race.
This doesn’t bode well for the rest of the field as we head to the Chase. All of these cars broke valve springs so Hendrick will throw all of them out and get a new batch from his supplier. We will find out if this fixes the problem in two weeks when the series heads to Atlanta, another fast track that will test engines.
This week the series heads back to Bristol Motor Speedway for a Saturday night race. The real battle over the next three races is going to be for the final wildcard spot in the Chase. Kasey Kahne holds the first spot with his two wins on the season, but the last spot is up for grabs. Carl Edwards needs a win to have a shot at making the Chase, while Ryan Newman, who currently holds the final wildcard position, Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon, and Marcos Ambrose all have a single win at this time.
Irwin Tools Night Race
Brad Keselowski: Brad is my pick to win this week’s race at Bristol. He has won the last two races run there and has run very well the past two weekends, coming in 2nd in each of those races. This team can’t get any more focused right now and it shows in how happy Brad is after the races. He is having a lot of fun right now.
Kyle Busch: Kyle has won five races at Bristol during his short career and needs another win to move into the final wildcard spot. He will do everything in his power to win the race this week, including using his bumper to make sure he gets a win.
Matt Kenseth: Matt has finished in the top-10 in his last six starts at Bristol, including a 2nd place finish this spring. He might be leaving Roush/Fenway Racing at the end of the season, but there is too much money involved not to give him a shot at winning his second title.
Jeff Gordon: Jeff has struggled at Bristol over the past three seasons, but he also knows that he needs another win to make the Chase. His one bright spot over the last three seasons was a 3rd place finish in the race last season. He is another driver who won’t be afraid to use his bumper to get himself to the front this weekend.
Jimmie Johnson: Jimmie has one win and six top-10 finishes in his last seven races at Bristol. This team looks poised to win their sixth championship in seven years and he is a threat every weekend.
Martin Truex Jr.: Martin has been having an excellent season and has really improved at Bristol over the past two seasons. He has finished in the top-5 in the past two races. This team just needs a little momentum as we near the Chase.
Clint Bowyer: Another Michael Waltrip Racing driver who is having an excellent season. Clint finished 4th in the spring race this year and has looked very good on all of the short tracks this year.
Carl Edwards: Carl needs a win to have a shot at making the Chase. He currently sits in 12th place in the standings which is ahead of the second wildcard position, but you need a win to be a wildcard driver. He has three top-10 finishes in his last five starts here and has two wins here in his career.
Greg Biffle: Greg leads the standings, but he is one win behind Johnson, Stewart, and Keselowski at this time. The points get reset when the Chase starts and drivers are given bonus points for all of their wins to that point of the season. Greg has never won a race here, but he has finished in the top-10 in four of his last six starts here.
Ryan Newman: Ryan currently holds the final wildcard spot by virtue of his single win and leading all other drivers outside the top-11 in points. He also has six top-10 finishes in his last eight races at Bristol.
Yahoo Fantasy NASCAR Picks for Bristol
Yahoo Driver Group A
- Brad Keselowski
- Kyle Busch
Yahoo Driver Group B
- Ryan Newman
- Martin Truex Jr.
- Clint Bowyer
- Jamie McMurray
Yahoo Driver Group C
- Brian Vickers
- Sam Hornish Jr.
My Top-5 For Bristol
- Brad Keselowski
- Kyle Busch
- Jimmie Johnson
- Matt Kenseth
- Carl Edwards
Dark Horse: Jamie McMurray
Stay Away From: Tony Stewart