Sunday, September 20, 2015

In Pursuit of the Perfect Grid - Handicapping the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship

Last season, everyone I know who drew up a Chase bracket had that bracket busted after the Contender Round. It’s likely the same will happen this year, but I’m giving it a go anyway.

Kevin Harvick’s statistics this season are jaw-dropping. And as tempting as it is to choose Harvick for his stellar record this season, or Jimmie Johnson for his stellar record at winning championships, I just can’t do it.

I say Joey Logano will win his first Sprint Cup Championship by the almost non-existent hair on his chinny-chin-chin.

Penske engines have the speed, Logano has the focus and drive, and his team has something to prove. They’ll never know if they’d have won the title last season if they hadn’t had that last misbegotten pit stop, but it’s possible they could have. And I believe that will be enough to push the team to their best work ever.

Logano recently remarked that the saying, "you have to lose a championship before you can win one" is the stupidest thing he’s ever heard, but in case it’s true, he lost one last year, so this should be his year. I agree, and I think Joey Logano will hoist the Sprint Cup at Homestead.

As hard as Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon worked to get into the Chase, I don’t think that the Hendrick power plant can compete with the Toyota and Ford packages. Ryan Newman’s RCR power hasn’t even had enough speed to win, and I don’t think he’ll start now. As tough as the competition is this season, I’m not convinced points-racing will get as far as it did last season.

Of the drivers who did not make the Chase, Kyle Larson, Austin Dillon, and Aric Almirola all have the potential to win races. But they won’t. In fact, I’m going out on a limb and saying that in the next 10 races, we’ll see no more than five different drivers in Victory Lane.

Here are my predictions to win the last 10 races:

Chicago - Kevin Harvick
Loudon - Matt Kenseth
Dover - Jimmie Johnson
Charlotte - Carl Edwards
Kansas - Matt Kenseth
Talladega - Kevin Harvick
Martinsville - Joey Logano
Texas - Kyle Busch
Phoenix - Kevin Harvick
Homestead - Joey Logano

I need a Goody’s Headache Powder now, please!

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