The championship this week officially reaches the halfway point. A year ago, we saw fights, controversy, and a lot of attitude from the contenders.
This year, the Contender Round takes a swap in weeks. A year ago, the midway point was at the home base of NASCAR. Not so fast, this year the home base opened the round, with one driver already locking in for the Eliminator Eight. Now, it’s a trip west, to Tornado Alley.
Although the twists that come in this Chase hopefully will come on the track instead of in the skies.
The Kansas Speedway is ready to see who will either move on in the Chase with a win, or possibly have someone take the focus off the 12-driver title picture and make their own headline.
That’s exactly what the writers may want as well, because through four races in the Chase, not one pick has been for victory. Ten writers are still hoping for that win so that next week they don’t have to chance anything. Let’s see who they have decided will be victorious in the Hollywood Casino 400:
Misan Akuya: Martin Truex Jr.
Truex Jr still has good speed. Could have won the spring race here.
Rob Blount: NO PICK SENT
Pick not sent by deadline.
Mary Jo Buchanan: Carl Edwards
Let’s see who else I can put the curse on.
Kara Martin: Jeff Gordon
No reason given.
Ashley McCubbin: Kevin Harvick
He is always freaky fast and he’ll want to put in a strong performance to keep himself away from the bubble in this round.
Klarissa Mitchell: Jeff Gordon
No reason given.
Dustin Parks: Jimmie Johnson
Well, I am certainly glad I did not use this pick at Dover, because more than likely I’d be out of the Chase. So I decided to keep the 48 in the back pocket. Considering he won here in the spring, it’s not that much of a stretch to consider he is a big possibility of stealing away some of the Chase thunder at Kansas.
Patti Rodisch: Matt Kenseth
After a disastrous start to round 2, Kenseth will be looking to rebound at a track he has found success at.
Sal Sigala Jr: Kyle Busch
No reason given.
Rob Tiongson: Martin Truex Jr.
Martin, you might think we may not notice you but this writer has paid keen attention on what you and the 78 team have done all year long. Remember how close y’all came to winning at Kansas in May? Well, put all your chips in for a victory come Sunday afternoon. You’ll ghost ride that whip or car to the Eliminator Round of 8!
Contender Round after Charlotte:
Dustin Parks (3042) Kevin Harvick finished 2nd – 3
Misan Akuya (3039) Kurt Busch finished 5th – 2
Rob Tiongson (3025) Kyle Busch finished 20th – 4
Patti Rodisch (3006) Jimmie Johnson finished 39th – 4
Sal Sigala Jr. (3006) Jimmie Johnson finished 39th – 3
Kara Martin (3006) Jimmie Johnson finished 39th – 2
Ashley McCubbin (3003) Matt Kenseth finished 42nd – 1
Mary Jo Buchanan (3001) Kasey Kahne finished 43rd – 1
Rob Blount (2115) Kevin Harvick finished 2nd – 2
Klarissa Mitchell (2078) Jamie McMurray finished 12th – 0
Final Thoughts: When it gets to this point in the title hunt, there are some clear images of who is for real a possibility to win the title, while some spots are still rather murky. With what is looming on the horizon, every driver that still has a chance to make the next round wants a win, or at the very least a strong point cushion.
The hardest part, the drivers that don’t have the yellow spoilers, splitter or name banner want to win simply because they want the trophy.
Who’s it going to be this weekend? Find out Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on NBC.
Summary of Picks:
Martin Truex Jr-2