Fan Vs. Fan Victory Pool: Picks for the AAA 400
A lot of times, all it takes is one word to describe a track. It can be called "slick," or even "challenging." Others are called "historical" or "tradition."
But one track that is set in the first state of the union has one word to describe it...MONSTER.
Don't let the name be deceiving, because the track is not monster in size. It is a monster in the havoc it creates. An appetite for race cars that compares to the appetite of the host of "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives," Guy Fieri. One mistake can take out an entire pack, and the image of that monster is seen on the walls as well as at the track's entrance.
Welcome to Dover...better known as the "Monster Mile."
A Chase staple since introduced to the sport, Dover has provided moments where drivers have been happy, sad, and angry.
The third race in the Chase is already shaping up to be a key event in the title hunt, and the writers know that. Once again, they have new picks for the weekend, and are locked in for another week of competition.
Here's who they all decided to go with in Sunday's AAA 400:
Misan Akuya: Jimmie Johnson
I need a win to get ahead in the points. Johnson has seven wins at Dover. I may or not not be there Sunday.
But Double J will make sure everyone knows he is there.
James Broomhead: Jimmie Johnson
Kelly Crandall: Jimmie Johnson
Is there really another choice? He's been marked for this race all year.
Billy Fellin: Jimmie Johnson
Seven wins at the Monster Mile, and he's started off the Chase with back to back second place finishes. Done and done.
Michael Hirshbein: Jimmie Johnson
Christopher Leone: Tony Stewart
Kara Martin: Matt Kenseth
Ryan O'Hara: Jeff Gordon
He had the best car here in the spring but couldnt show It.
Dustin Parks: Kyle Busch
I really, I mean REALLY, was on the Johnson bandwagon all week long...until Thursday. I began looking at the points and I began thinking, "What can I do to both get the lead but also take a big gamble early in this Chase."
So, I put my 48 pick back in my pocket, and went outside the Chase for the first time this year. I'm taking a big gamble and going with Rowdy, a guy that's won two races at Dover, but only averages a 14th-place run.
Combine that with the luck he's had with engine woes, and I'm taking a big risk. But, that's what the Chase is about, right?
Patti Rodisch: Matt Kenseth
Gonna keep this short and sweet. Dover is a very good track for Kenseth and sitting 11th in the standings he needs this race. He has a small chance at making a run and it starts this weekend at Dover.
His tenure at Roush Fenway Racing might be ending in a few weeks but Kenseth will add one more victory to his resume at RFR.
Sal Sigala Jr: Jimmie Johnson
Rob Tiongson: Jimmie Johnson
Without a doubt, and I'm probably going to keep pace with my colleagues here, I'd be foolish not to go with the best active Cup driver at Dover. Sure, he won't have the funky fro this time, but he'll be rocking his way to Victory Lane.
I know dark horses don't count, but Johnson will fend off hard charging Jeff Gordon and Brad Keselowski.
Standings following New Hampshire:
Christopher Leone (2093) Clint Bowyer finished 4th (3)
Dustin Parks (2090) Denny Hamlin WON (2)
James Broomhead (2088) Clint Bowyer finished 4th (3)
Rob Tiongson (2087) Kasey Kahne finished 5th (4)
Sal Sigala Jr. (2087) Tony Stewart finished 7th (3)
Kelly Crandall (2086) Denny Hamlin WON (4)
Kara Martin (2083) Tony Stewart finished 7th (3)
Patti Rodisch (2080) Ryan Newman finished 10th (2)
Ryan O'Hara (2077) Brad Keselowski finished 6th (2)
Misan Akuya (2073) Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 13th (1)
Billy Fellin (2069) Denny Hamlin WON (5)
Michael Hirshbein (2058) Kyle Busch finished 28th (1)
Final Thoughts: As you can see, it's overwhelming who the favorite is this weekend, but anything can happen once the green flag waves. The one guarantee is that "Miles the Monster" is extremely hungry, and his dinner time is approaching.
A full-course meal is awaiting the Monster, and at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN, the time to feast will begin.
Summary of Picks: