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First Data 500

Horsepower Fantasy Racing: Picks for the First Data 500

When the season begins to draw to a close, and the reality that a championship is just within reach of a driver and a team, the aggressive nature goes up and the pressure begins to boil over.

Over the years since the playoffs went to the 16-driver format, with every three races being a reset, the third round has often seen some of the most intense moments between those title contenders happen.  The third round sets the final field for a title hunt, and for many, they will go out and do whatever they can in order to claim their spot.

In the last several years, we’ve seen contenders get taken out, and fights occur after the checkered flag, including one that saw some blood drawn.  This is when the gloves come off, and the battle gets more intense.

There is no better way to start the third round than at the shortest track in NASCAR, where it also includes the shortest tempers.  It also comes with the most unique trophy in the sport, while fans get to enjoy a huge helping of hot dogs.

It’s the second trip to Martinsville, and it will surely be an event that can set the tone for the entire third round.

That also means a reset in the league.  Two more participants saw their title hopes come to an end at Kansas, while six move into the third round ready to take to the “Paper Clip” with hopes of a title at season’s end.  They still must follow the same rules as when the season began, and now they are all locked in and ready to go.

Here’s a look at the overall picks for the First Data 500:

 

NOTE-Those in ALL CAPS are still competing for the title.

MISAN AKUYA:  Kyle Busch

He’s two for the last five races after having no wins here.  He also won the last short track race.  After a quiet round, expect Busch to make some noise.

Rob Blount:  NO PICK

Deadline passed with no pick submitted.

BILLY FELLIN:  Chase Elliott

No reason given.

ASHLEY HOBBS:  Clint Bowyer

Winner earlier this year, look for Bowyer to sweep Martinsville this year!

Dustin Parks:  Jimmie Johnson

Well once again I have fallen short in my own League, but at least I made it one more round than a season ago.  Anyway, I’m playing on emotion this week.  This race in particular is emotional for Hendrick Motorsports, considering the sorrow they felt in victory back in 2004.  So I am picking a Hendrick driver, but not the one everyone is going with.  At season’s end, his crew chief is making a move, a divorce we all knew could happen, but never saw coming.  He also loses his only sponsor he’s ever known.  He’s gone winless all season.  There’s nothing left to lose at this point, so why not take Jimmie?  Dale Jr. stole some thunder from the playoff drivers in 2014, so I’m going with that same thought this year.

TRISHA RODISCH:  Joey Logano

I am totally shocked I made it to round three.

SAL SIGALA JR:  Kyle Busch

No reason given.

Rob Tiongson:  Kyle Larson

Since I’m out of it and it doesn’t really matter, let’s roll the dice and hope for a great day with Larson.

PENNY WHITECOTTON:  Kurt Busch

No reason given.

 

Playoff Standings following Kansas:

Penny Whitecotton – 4057 – Joey Logano finished 8th (7) 57

Billy Fellin – 4037 – Joey Logano finished 8th (5) 37

Trisha Rodisch – 4035 – Kevin Harvick finished 12th (6) 35

Ashley Hobbs – 4026 – Jimmie Johnson finished 22nd (5) 26

Misan Akuya – 4024 – Brad Keselowski finished 6th (4) 24

Sal Sigala Jr. – 4024 – Kevin Harvick finished 12th (4) 24

Rob Blount – 2209 – Kevin Harvick finished 12th (2)

Dustin Parks – 2181 – Kevin Harvick finished 12th (2)

Rob Tiongson – 2165 – Kurt Busch finished 18th (4)

 

Summary of Picks:

Kyle Busch-2

Clint Bowyer-1

Kurt Busch-1

Chase Elliott-1

Jimmie Johnson-1

Kyle Larson-1

Joey Logano-1

About Dustin Parks

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