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Horsepower Fantasy Racing: Picks for the Camping World 500

One advantage to NASCAR having most of the tracks on the west coast packed into one span of the season can be both an advantage, and a disadvantage.  On the one hand, it means all the long trips from the Charlotte area headquarters to the opposing coast happen mainly in one shot, with the exception of two other weekends during the season.

On the other hand, it means a lot of travel to, and from, the race, plus a constant changing of the time zones.  It also is tough when a team has a damaged car, and must make that long trip back to unload, assess the carnage, and not only load up the new cars for the next event, but also get working on repairing the cars that return.

But, one big advantage is all three tracks on the “NASCAR Goes West” portion of the season, each is rather unique in their own aspects.  Of the three speedways, none are more unique than the one at Phoenix International Raceway.

No other track has the backstretch that is kicked out, and so much area to run off with to use for passing and momentum.

It is a track that teams know is going to be changing in the next year, not the track itself, but how it is laid out.  Grandstands will get torn down, and new ones built in the corner.  Pit road will get adjusted, along with new garage areas.  But, possibly the most significant swap is that the start/finish line is moving from it’s current location, out to the area of what is currently turns 1 and 2.

That will make the racing in that area of the speedway even more intense, and change how all drivers actually approach how they handle the track.

Until that time, the current configuration is what teams must deal with.  Knowing that, the writers are ready to bear down and go after those playoff points, and more importantly, those victories.  Everyone thus far is winless on the 2017 season, so getting that first triumph is becoming even more of a challenge.

Let’s see who they all decided will win the Camping World 500:

 

Misan Akuya:  Chase Elliott

Elliott has been on the cusp ever since last year.  I think that he breaks through in the desert.

Rob Blount:  Kevin Harvick

Stupid not to pick him even though everybody will have him.

Billy Fellin:  Kevin Harvick

Cash money at Phoenix.

Dalton Hastings:  Jimmie Johnson

No reason given.

Ashley Hobbs:  Jimmie Johnson

Hoping for a season going in the right direction!

Ashley Hull:  Kevin Harvick

No reason given.

Ashley McCubbin:  Kevin Harvick

While he failed masterfully for me last week, I have faith this week as we’re heading to the track that he knows the best. Care in point, in the past 10 races at Phoenix International Raceway, no driver has scored as many points as Harvick . He also boasts the best average finishes in those races – 2.7 – highlighted by six victories, including four in a row. There was a time through 2014 and 2015 where as soon as Phoenix came up for discussion, Harvick was the name mentioned as the race winner.

Klarissa Mitchell:  Jamie McMurray

No reason given.

Dustin Parks:  Joey Logano

Under normal circumstances, that Jimmy John’s machine would be who I’d go with.  But, two things are keeping me from pulling that trigger.  First, this is Harvick’s first time here in a Ford, so he’s unsure if the setup he’s run for many years will actually work in a new car, with different aerodynamics.  Plus, couple in the fact he’s not had any luck through the first three races, I’m just a bit timid.

So, I’m gonna stick with the Ford crew, but instead I’ll go with the Penske crew and the Jo-Lo team.

Patti Rodisch:  Brad Keselowski

No reason given.

Sal Sigala Jr:  Kevin Harvick

No reason given.

Rob Tiongson:  Kyle Larson

Young guns are starting to make their presence known in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.  Since Larson’s magnificent victory at Michigan last August, it seems like the youth movement’s been in full swing.  Look for Larson to win at PIR this Sunday and finally sneeze.

Penny Whitecotton:  Kevin Harvick

All the way!

 

Standings after Las Vegas:

Rob Tiongson (121) Joey Logano finished 4th – [0]0

Billy Fellin (120) Joey Logano finished 4th – [0]2

Dalton Hastings (108) Chase Elliott finished 3rd – [0]2

Dustin Parks (102) Brad Keselowski finished 5th – [0]0

Ashley Hull (100) Brad Keselowski finished 5th – [0]0

Ashley McCubbin (82) Kevin Harvick finished 38th – [0]2

Misan Akuya (71) Kevin Harvick finished 38th – [0]2

Ashley Hobbs (65) Joey Logano finished 4th – [0]0

Rob Blount (63) Kevin Harvick finished 38th – [0]0

Patti Rodisch (62) Kevin Harvick finished 38th – [0]2

Penny Whitecotton (62) Kevin Harvick finished 38th – [0]1

Sal Sigala Jr. (51) Kevin Harvick finished 38th – [0]0

Klarissa Mitchell (48) Kurt Busch finished 30th – [0]0

 

Summary of Picks:

Kevin Harvick-6

Jimmie Johnson-2

Chase Elliott-1

Brad Keselowski-1

Kyle Larson-1

Joey Logano-1

Jamie McMurray-1

About Dustin Parks

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