The 2018 season began when two famed numbers crossed the finish line 1-2 at Daytona. We saw the No. 3 back in victory lane in the very race that stole Dale Earnhardt from the sport’s existence. Right behind him, the No. 43, a car that saw victory in that race on seven different occasions.
We’ve seen the “Big Three” take their place in the season as the dominant bunch, and have seen those that are expected to be strong…struggle.
First-time winners got to celebrate their monumental moments, like Erik Jones and Chase Elliott. There have been unexpected victories where it was just a good car, and right timing. Look at Clint Bowyer, who was able to earn a trifecta of victories this season.
There’s been aggravation, controversy, change, and hope. But it came down to 16 drivers, and one quest.
Those 16 were reduced to a dirty dozen. When they began with an elite eight, it was then when the battle got heated. One quote from one driver, about one move, and one victory that set the tone for the fight. Another week saw a dominant victory, but then saw the perks of that win vanish.
Now, we’re at the last ride, one final green flag, and a heads-up fight for a championship. Toss out the playoff points, the wins, and the success through 35 races. It comes down to 267 laps on Ford Championship Weekend, at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. It’s the “Big Three” that have dominated all season, plus one Joey Logano, going for a title.
It also means one last chance for victory, and in the case of four participants, a League championship is on the line. So, who did they choose for the win? Let’s take a look at the picks for the season-finale Ford EcoBoost 400:
NOTE: Championship 4 are in ALL CAPS.
MISAN AKUYA: Joey Logano
I have used up the “Big Three.” But, Joey Logano might be the guy to win it all. Seeing that outside of Jimmie Johnson there have been new champions since 2012, Logano is going to be gunning to join a list that his teammate has started.
Rob Blount: NO PICK
Deadline passed with no pick submitted.
BILLY FELLIN: Kyle Larson
Average finish of 7.6 at Homestead is the highest among the drivers that I can choose from. I’ll take the 42.
Ashley Hobbs: Kevin Harvick
Still going with the man I’ve been saving since the start – this is Harvick‘s season to win it all!
Dustin Parks: Martin Truex Jr.
What’s really sad is this is the end of the line for this organization. When they decided to team up with Toyota, get that alliance with JGR, this went from being an above-average team to being one of the elites. Now, suddenly, the doors will be closing. Well let’s just say it’s time to go out it the absolute best way possible. When last year ended, Truex won his championship, proving he was the dominant driver when it mattered at any moment. This year, he’s trying to win a championship not for himself, but for that entire group of individuals in Denver, Colorado, who put in all their time to make Furniture Row Racing a powerhouse organization. When those doors close, the one item that will be coming out that won’t be lost in translation in the move to JGR is last year’s Monster Energy trophy. I say, Truex wins the race, wins the title, then both he and Cole Pearn can each carry a trophy to the JGR garage, and celebrate.
TRISHA RODISCH: Chase Elliott
No reason given.
Sal Sigala Jr: Martin Truex Jr.
The last two weeks were a total nightmare. First Blaney cost me 20 points, and last week Hamlin cost me a possible win with Kurt Busch and a chance at going back to back. I saved Truex for the final race just as I did last year. Thanks Dustin for another great season, and all the hard work you have put into this league for us to enjoy. Thanks everyone for the thoughts and prayers during the last 11 months going through 3 surgeries. Last but not least best of luck to the final 4, and may your driver take you to the promise land. 🏆🏁 In two weeks I will end my season at the Snowball Derby in Pensacola. Hope to see some of you there. I know Rob Blount will be there. Have a safe and blessed Holiday season, and see you all in February.
Rob Tiongson: Kyle Larson
Larson may not have been experiencing the best year but he’ll at least sweeten things up with a victory at Homestead. And yes, I’d love to return for 2019!
PENNY WHITECOTTON: Brad Keselowski
Kez is my pick for the race, but you know I want Harvick in the championship.
Playoff Standings following Phoenix:
Trisha Rodisch – 5000 – Denny Hamlin finished 13th (7)
Penny Whitecotton – 5000 – Jimmie Johnson finished 15th (7)
Misan Akuya – 5000 – Kevin Harvick finished 5th (4)
Billy Fellin – 5000 – Kevin Harvick finished 5th (5)
Ashley Hobbs – 2281 – Kurt Busch finished 32nd (5)
Sal Sigala Jr. – 2279 – Kurt Busch finished 32nd (4)
Dustin Parks – 2251 – Jimmie Johnson finished 15th (2)
Rob Tiongson – 2236 – Kevin Harvick finished 5th (4)
Rob Blount – 2209 – NO PICK SENT (2)
FINAL NOTE: The four participants that made the Championship 4 have each chosen a different driver. There will be no need for a tie-breaker in this instance. However, like the true championship, those four will be credited with the points that are earned ONLY from the final segment. Stage points will not be added in for those individuals. It is a true all-out battle to the finish.
This year’s winner will receive a 1/64-scale die-cast of their favorite driver to be mailed to them directly. The winner will be notified as to their prize so they can send their address and their driver, along with any request for paint scheme/sponsor that they may desire.
Summary of Picks:
Martin Truex Jr-2