The challenging part for any driver is doing something you are not totally accustomed to.
When drag racers elect to take part in the Prelude to the Dream, they're not always favored because of them being used to going straight. Then having someone from a motocross background make the transition to NASCAR, completely different animal, although names like Ricky Carmichael and Travis Pastrana seem to do very well.
On average, NASCAR is always about turning left, then another left. Any time they turn right, it's to correct a loose car or its a big collision in the wall.
That is until NASCAR decides to go road racing. Once again, right-hand turns are a requirement, and are in fact the norm this time around. On the schedule is Watkins Glen International, a 7-turn road course that also includes the very tight "inner loop" on the backstretch to create a very unique passing opportunity.
It's been the sight of some memorable moments in the sport, such as the major wrecks of both Jeff Gordon and David Reutimann a few years ago, as well as the infamous confrontation between Kevin Harvick and Juan Pablo Montoya.
This definitely provides a little kink in the run to the Chase, and also makes it a bit more difficult for the writers to make choices for the victory.
But they are locked in as of last night. Here's who everyone has chosen for the Finger Lakes 355 at the Glen:
Misan Akuya: Tony Stewart
His record speaks for itself. He has been consistent since the first Pocono race minus an issue at Kentucky. He is ready for a fourth championship.
James Broomhead: Marcos Ambrose
He's still my road course pick.
Kelly Crandall: Tony Stewart
Billy Fellin: Marcos Ambrose
He won there last year and I'm sure he wants a part of the wild card discussion.
Michael Hirshbein: Kyle Busch
Switching it up at the road course this time.
Christopher Leone: Marcos Ambrose
There's nobody better at the Glen (that is, who's actually running the race—sorry, Robby Gordon).
Kara Martin: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
I mean, why not?!
Ryan O'Hara: Jeff Gordon
Dont run out of gas buddy. I need another win for the Chase.
Dustin Parks: Jeff Gordon
On Monday, I was thinking of going with Ambrose because of how well he's done since last year at road courses, especially after the 2010 fiasco at Sonoma. But, while I was working my normal job, I kept seeing "24". Whether it was change for a customer, items I had to pull to the shelves, or the time I clocked out, it just kept coming up "24".
So, I'm going with possibly the most dominant driver on the road courses, Jeff Gordon. He has nine wins overall on this style track, including four here, with three coming between 1997 and 1999.
He won last week, and now has a wild card spot. There's no way he is going to give that up real easy.
Patti Rodisch: NO PICK SENT
No pick turned in by posting time.
Sal Sigala Jr: Marcos Ambrose
This one time I have to go with obvious choice since the rest of the field is a crap shot. In 4 starts his worse finish is a third including a win last year. Enough said.
Rob Tiongson: Marcos Ambrose
Why not? I could use some luck to get win #4 for the year so gotta go with our favorite Aussie! And, he kinda won here last year.
Standings following Pocono:
Sal Sigala Jr. (747) Jimmie Johnson finished 14th (2)
Billy Fellin (746) Denny Hamlin finished 29th (3)
Kelly Crandall (701) Jimmie Johnson finished 14th (3)
Christopher Leone (699) Joey Logano finished 13th (1)
Patti Rodisch (693) Denny Hamlin finished 29th (2)
Dustin Parks (683) Brad Keselowski finished 4th (1)
Ryan O'Hara (681) Jeff Gordon WON (2)
Misan Akuya (680) Denny Hamlin finished 29th (1)
Rob Tiongson (675) Jimmie Johnson finished 14th (3)
Kara Martin (658) Denny Hamlin finished 29th (1)
James Broomhead (648) NO PICK SENT (2)
Michael Hirshbein (607) Kyle Busch finished 33rd (1)
Final Thoughts: There will be many twists and turns this weekend, and there's no question the points will certainly take some changes at the end of this 90-lap marathon. The discussion of rain tires certainly will come up, but likely will never see the race track as they have been untested on these style cars.
Whatever the case may be, the green flag at the Glen will wave shortly after 1:00 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Summary of Picks:
Dale Earnhardt Jr-1