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Horsepower Fantasy Racing: Picks for the Bojangles’ Southern 500

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History.  It defines who we are, where we have been, how we started, and all the changes that have occurred in that time.

NASCAR honors it’s history on one particular weekend, one that is back where many felt it belonged the entire time.  The oldest, toughest, and most interesting speedway on the circuit.  There is no comparison between any track in the sport, unless Eldora is considered because of the preferred line once the dirt gets worn in.  The “egg” shape became infamous because of the landowner’s lake in the distance.  What it did was make the track a challenge to run, as it began with the cars running on the flat surface, the “apron” as it is now.

Teams worked their way to the top, realizing they had better handling and speed.  But, they began flirting with a barrier, and yet despite sliding on it, and even hammering it, they kept going.  In a sense, many drivers earned their stripe over the years…their Darlington Stripe.

Now, NASCAR honors the past, as 70 years of competition is celebrated in one weekend of action.  Teams roll in with one-off paint schemes, honoring their past in the modern era.  It’s “Throwback Weekend” and it is a fitting place to honor the sport.

The League is ready for action this week, but are doing so with a different take.  First, let’s look at their picks for the Bojangles’ Southern 500:

 

Misan Akuya:  Jamie McMurray

I love his paint scheme this weekend and he’s ran very well here in the past with a win in Xfinity in 2004 for Rusty Wallace.  Would love to see him do so.

Rob Blount:  Kevin Harvick

No reason given.

Billy Fellin:  Kyle Larson

No reason given.

Ashley Hobbs:  Kevin Harvick

Show me the money!!

Dustin Parks:  Denny Hamlin

Since the throwback promotion began three years ago, only one driver has won the race with what is considered a throwback scheme.  Sure Truex Jr. won in 2016, but it wasn’t exactly a classic scheme on his car.  Hamlin won last year with the “Flying 11″ that looked excellent under the lights.  This year he’s gone winless, much like many, but coming in as the previous winner gives him a lot of hope.  Plus, he’s honoring his own racing history, running his first paint scheme.  I say this time, things come full circle…first paint scheme, first win.

Trisha Rodisch:  Kevin Harvick

No reason given.

Sal Sigala Jr:  Kevin Harvick

No reason given.

Rob Tiongson:  Martin Truex Jr.

Truex won’t join the throwback party, but he’s got to be my favorite for Sunday night.  In odd years since the arrival of crew chief Cole Pearn, he at least finishes inside the top-five.  How’d he fare in 2016?  Exactly, so I’m thinking it’s a second Southern 500 win and third overall for the No. 78 team.

Penny Whitecotton:  Kevin Harvick

No reason given.

 

Standings following Bristol:

Penny Whitecotton – 898 – Kevin Harvick finished 10th (7) 39

Sal Sigala Jr. – 867 – Kyle Busch finished 20th (4) 23

Trisha Rodisch –866 – Kevin Harvick finished 10th (5) 29

Ashley Hobbs – 836 – Kyle Busch finished 20th (5) 26

Dustin Parks – 788 – Kyle Busch finished 20th (1) 9

Rob Tiongson – 774 – Kevin Harvick finished 10th (3) 17

Billy Fellin – 764 – Kyle Busch finished 20th (4) 29

Rob Blount – 744 – Kevin Harvick finished 10th (2) 16

Misan Akuya – 711 – Kyle Busch finished 20th (4) 23

 

In addition to the usual race win picks, this week the League was given a different task.  Over the last few years since the throwback tradition took shape, the League has been asked several times about the paint schemes in NASCAR.  Two years ago, the question was who in their mind had the best paint job for the race, with fans voting for Tony Stewart’s tribute to Bobby Allison’s Coca-Cola machine being the winner.

Last season, it was asking about what paint scheme many would want to see on the track once again, with answers going every direction.

This year, we are going in the opposite direction.  As an optional pick, which will have no bearing on the standings, the League participants were asked the opposite.  This year, they revealed the paint scheme they  absolutely do not want to see back on the track, even for one race.  Here’s their responses:

 

Kyle Busch-Z LineMisan Akuya:  Kyle Busch-Z Line Xfinity

The paint scheme that I would not run would Kyle Busch’s kittens and rainbow scheme from the fall RIR race in 2010.  Too cute and cuddly for me.

AUTHOR NOTE:  I was at this race and saw the car up close.  What made this scheme unreal was that he had on a bright pink firesuit for the race, like HOT PINK, unlike the car which was princess pink.  Drivers literally had a ball making fun of the scheme, with Gordon going at one point, “My three-year old designed my car this year.”

Kyle’s reply:  “Mine was an eight-year old.”  At least Samantha didn’t have a girl, because you know this scheme would be back again.

Dale Earnhardt Peter MaxRob Blount:  Dale Earnhardt-Peter Max

I don’t ever want to see the Dale Earnhardt GM Goodwrench car that looked like a painter sneezed and his whole pallet splashed everywhere. It’s like a rainbow threw up on it.

AUTHOR NOTE:  Even for a non-Earnhardt fan like I was at the time, this paint scheme was so confusing to everyone because…it’s not Earnhardt-like.  At this point, the schemes he ran were the silver, Olympics, Wheaties, Bass Pro Shops, and the year prior was his classic Wrangler colors.  Then this comes out and it made us all feel like we went back to the 60’s at a rave.  Only things missing were the hippies and the weed.

That being said, for die-cast collectors, this is one of the hardest to find for a good price because it is so rare.  Luckily for me, I found a 1/43 scale one at a yard sale for $5, and it was N.O.S. in box, meaning it was a new die-cast in box, but also old stock meaning it is not being produced.

Tony Stewart-2010Billy Fellin:  Tony Stewart-Old Spice Showtime

In 2010, Tony Stewart ran a red and green car at the Bank of America 500. He looked like a 200 MPH Christmas ornament. Not a good look for an October race.

AUTHOR NOTE:  I gotta agree with Billy on this one, and not just because of doing a Christmas color look in the month of October.  Obviously with Old Spice being a red base, there were limitations of what to do.  And with the Showtime scent, they had to do green.  Just clashed a bit because of the limitations of colors.

Not to mention I tried the scent…I went back to the Swagger scent because it smelled a lot better.

Jeff Gordon NicoretteDustin Parks:  Jeff Gordon-Nicorette Cinnamon Surge

I was a bit skeptical when Gordon began sharing sponsorship duties with a new company in Nicorette, which for those who some reason don’t know, is a nicotine gum that is used to help smokers slowly ween off the cigarettes.  The first year they ran the scheme, in 2006, the look didn’t work with me, but the colors were nice.  He then went to the usual flame look the following year, and it worked better.  However, not all colors go well with flames.

Black…excellent.  Blue, obviously it worked for him.  Silver even works depending on the flame colors.  However, yellow and orange flames don’t work with every look.  Case in point…the Nicorette Cinnamon Surge from 2007 in Atlanta.  I’m not a fan of cinnamon gum to begin with, whether it’s to help smokers or freshen breath.  So this brown look simply just didn’t work.  It looked like someone poured cinnamon flake on chocolate and added flames to make it look fancy.

Austin Dillon ThrowbackSal Sigala Jr:  Dale Earnhardt-Any

I feel if a driver is gonna use a throwback paint scheme. At least try to represent that driver on the track. Austin is far from being that type of driver, and even worse has trouble finishing in the top-10.

AUTHOR NOTE:  Sal and I have been great friends for going on eight years, and one thing we can agree on is if you’re running a paint scheme to represent a look of a great driver, whether that name be Petty, Gordon, Yarborough, etc, you are not just representing the scheme, but also the driver that ran it before.

An Earnhardt scheme is a very touchy subject for many, and unfortunately this weekend I think it could maybe touch a couple nerves.  Sure it’s not the jet black look he’s known for, but “Quick Silver” certainly is in the same category.  At least when Ryan Newman ran the Wrangler colors last year, he had a reputation as being a tough guy to pass, just like Earnhardt.

 

Summary of Picks:

Kevin Harvick-5

Denny Hamlin-1

Kyle Larson-1

Jamie McMurray-1

Martin Truex Jr-1

About Dustin Parks

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