[media-credit name=”Barry Albert” align=”alignright” width=”274″][/media-credit]This week, I get the pleasure of submitting picks for two races as well as my ‘Shoe-in’ for a fan-favorite entry into the 2011 Sprint All-Star Race.
Let’s start with a brief recap of my picks last week. Stepping outside of the recent trend last week, my actual pick to win the race finished higher than my Dark Horse pick. Despite a few critics of my picks last week, I ended up in ‘OK’ shape when the checkered flag flew.
Dover – ‘Winner’ Pick
After starting dead last following an engine change prior to the green flag on Sunday, Kyle Busch made the most out of his extremely fast Camry. Busch worked his way from 43rd all the way into the Top-10 by the midway point of the race. It was somewhere around lap 350 that I felt like I had made a really nice pick in KB as he moved into 6th place. Had it not been for a few cars gambling on staying out or taking two tires on their last pit stops, Kyle Busch would have won the race. Finishing third, he was the first car in line that took all four Goodyears on the final stop.
Dover – ‘Dark Horse’ Pick
It was a rough day in Delaware for the #27 team. Averaging a running spot of around 22, Paul Menard was nowhere near gaining me points in my own ‘Pick-um’ contest. The end of my hope for double points in my Dark Horse pick came at lap 340 when Menard got into Juan Montoya and subsequently hit the wall. Finishing the race in 24th, three laps down, Menard wouldn’t score me any points at Dover.
Onto this week’s events…
Sprint Showdown – ‘Winner’ Pick
I will stick with the winner of last years Sprint Showdown race for my pick to win this race. Martin Truex Jr. was seventh-quick in practice this afternoon at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Truex has been seen starting towards the front of the field at Charlotte, and to me starting towards the front of a sprint is extremely important. Being familiar with the ‘race your way in’ format of the Showdown will also give Truex an advantage on Saturday Night.
Sprint Showdown – ‘Dark Horse’
I think it’s time to see a Red Bull driver finish towards the front, and I think that the Showdown Race will be a great time to see it. Brian Vickers is my Dark Horse for the Showdown. He does have two Top-5’s and three Top-10’s at Charlotte to his credit, so watch for the #83 to make the transfer into the All-Star Race.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. – I don’t see Jr racing his way into the All-Star, but I do see Jr Nation voting him into the race.
Now to the MONEY RACE…
Sprint All-Star Race – ‘Dark Horse’
It is fairly difficult to pick an actual Dark Horse in a field of All-Stars, but this driver is just due for a win. Mark Martin has won two All-Star races in his career and he stands a nice shot at following up his second place finish at Dover with a million dollar win on Saturday Night. He was won four times at Charlotte and has scored 18 Top-5’s at the track.
Sprint All-Star Race – ‘Winner’ Pick
Fans will be treated Saturday Night to a ‘Million Dollar Backflip’. Charlotte is a track that has eluded a win for Carl Edwards, despite having four Top-5’s in his twelve races. Seventeen of his nineteen Sprint Cup Series wins have come at intermediate tracks, so Edwards is no stranger to Victory Lane at a 1.5 mile. The 99 team has put together a strong car for Saturday Night, finishing practice second on the speed chart. I think this will be Carl’s turn to collect the One-Million-Dollar purse for winning the 2011 NASCAR All-Star Race.
On a side note; Kudos to the team of the #11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry for winning the 2011 Pit Crew Challenge.
Until next week, you stay classy NASCAR NATION!