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Horsepower Fantasy Racing: Picks for the Bank of America 500

It was John Bon Jovi that put the song “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” on the charts as a hit single, and made it even stronger when he added the dynamic vocals of Jennifer Nettles to make it a duet.  But the song talks about how no matter where one is at any point in life, they are always welcomed back to where they came from.

In a way, NASCAR is the same.  Whether as north as New Hampshire, as south as Daytona Beach, or as far west as the Sonoma Valley, NASCAR’s home is right in the heart of Charlotte.

As has been traditional for the last couple seasons, the second round of the playoffs begins with a trip back to the Charlotte Motor Speedway.  But, this year has a bit of a different feel knowing that next season, despite the second round starting again at Charlotte, this race in 2018 will have 18 different turns, and challenge every driver on a track that NASCAR has never run in it’s history.

The 2018 version of Charlotte’s playoff race will be done on the “Roval” that will see drivers hit the infield road course, while also getting up on the high banks of the usual speedway.

It will make for a unique twist in the playoffs to see who can adapt to the new track and it may peak the interest of fans who have been longing for something different in the playoffs.

But, that event comes next season.  This season, the focus remains on the main quad-oval that NASCAR’s teams for the most part are not that far from.

What the participants want more than anything is an opportunity to improve on their standings right away in this first round.  Others, they just want to steal away some thunder to get the focus off the playoffs.  Here’s who they feel will be victorious in Sunday’s Bank of America 500:


MISAN AKUYA:  Jamie McMurray

Mac has made it to the next round.  With the next two tracks being places where four of his seven points wins (and an Allstar win at Charlotte) and the third being his home track, McMurray should have some pep in his step.  His first career win came at Charlotte in his second start.  His young team and protege Kyle Larson has stolen the spotlight.  But, McMurray can get it back by continuing to advance.  That’s what the playoffs are all about right?

ROB BLOUNT:  Kyle Larson

No reason given.


The 18 has been on a roll. Simple as that.

DALTON HASTINGS:  Brad Keselowski

No reason given.

ASHLEY HOBBS:  Martin Truex Jr.

Charlotte is a difficult track to pick a driver one; especially one that has not picked yet. With a few more intermediate tracks left, this driver is bound to finish well at all of them, including Charlotte. Earlier this year, he finished 3rd; and with Talladega looming in this round, I look for Truex to capitalize.

ASHLEY HULL:  Martin Truex Jr.

No reason given.

ASHLEY MCCUBBIN:  Jimmie Johnson

No reason given.

Klarissa Mitchell:  Jamie McMurray

No reason given.

Dustin Parks:  Martin Truex Jr.

Last two years I’ve lost my chance at my own title in the opening round.  This after in 2015 when one victory at Martinsville in the third round pushed me to the crown.  So, I figure since I’m out, may as well go after wins just for the heck of it.  So, gimme the guy who loves these tracks, and still is my pick for the champion.

Patti Rodisch:  Kevin Harvick

No reason given.

SAL SIGALA JR:  Denny Hamlin

No reason given.


Busch may be out of the playoffs but he enters Charlotte with five top-10 finishes in his past five starts. His second victory of 2017 will happen at CMS this Sunday.


No reason given.

Author Note:  Participants in all caps advanced into the second round of the playoffs.


Playoff Standings following Dover:

Misan Akuya (3038) Martin Truex Jr. finished 4th – [6] 0 38

Ashley Hobbs (3035) Kyle Busch WON – [5] 1 35

Sal Sigala Jr. (3030) Matt Kenseth finished 11th – [3] 0 30

Ashley Hull (3029) Kyle Larson finished 5th – [4] 1 29

Billy Fellin (3020) Chase Elliott finished 2nd – [4] 1 20

Rob Blount (3020) Jimmie Johnson finished 3rd – [3] 1 20

Rob Tiongson (3014) Jimmie Johnson finished 3rd – [3] 0 14

Penny Whitecotton (3012) Kyle Busch WON – [2] 1 12

Dalton Hastings (3011) Kurt Busch finished 20th – [1] 1 11

Ashley McCubbin (3011) Martin Truex Jr. finished 4th – [1] 0 11

Dustin Parks (2104) Jimmie Johnson finished 3rd – [1]

Klarissa Mitchell (2107) Martin Truex Jr. finished 4th – [0]

Patti Rodisch (2086) Ryan Blaney finished 23rd – [2]


Summary of Picks:

Martin Truex Jr-3

Brad Keselowsi-2

Jamie McMurray-2

Kurt Busch-1

Kyle Busch-1

Denny Hamlin-1

Kevin Harvick-1

Jimmie Johnson-1

Kyle Larson-1

About Dustin Parks

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