A Manufacturer’s Best Hope – Texas I

What a great race at Martinsville! Yes, it was dominated by the three guys everyone expected- Johnson, Gordon, and Hamlin. The three combined to lead 485 of the 500 laps, and also as expected, it came down to a closing lap bump to determine the winner. But there was also great racing throughout the field and it was nice to see continued strong runs from Allmendinger, McMurray, Montoya, and Reutimann.

Denny Hamlin has vocalized his belief that to be this far in his career, he should have far more checks in the win column. I agree. He’s had quite a few wins that appeared to be in the bag get away from him. This 2nd place finish at Martinsville comes right on the heels a 2nd place finish at Bristol. Mad props go to Denny for the way he handled the loss after the bump by Johnson.

My Martinsville Prediction Results:

  • Chevrolet = Jimmie Johnson.
    Jimmie finished 1st and led a total of 42 laps.
  • Dodge = Kasey Kahne.
    Kasey finished 19th. He was the 4th best finishing Dodge, one spot behind Kurt Busch.
  • Ford = Jamie McMurray.
    Jamie finished 10th and was the best finishing Ford.
  • Toyota = Denny Hamlin.
    Denny led the most laps (296) and finished 2nd. He was the best finishing Toyota.
  • My Winner = Jeff Gordon. Jeff led 147 laps and finished 4th.

My Texas Predictions for each Manufacturer:

chevrolet logoLoop Data Stats give Jimmie Johnson the highest driver rating of the field. However, I think Jeff Gordon is still Chevy’s best hope for a win in Texas. Toss out Jeff’s “pitiful” 13th place finish at Daytona this year and he has a 3.6 average finish this season.

dodge logoDodge’s best hope for a win is… well, pretty slim. Neither Kahne nor Allmendinger light up the stats sheets at Texas. Kurt Busch does has 4 top tens at Texas since the Spring race of 2005, so Dodge can rest their hope on his shoulders. There was a lot of tension and frustration between both Kurt and car owner Roger Penske (and the crew chief) last week. Is there more too it than just short track racing?

ford logoLook for Matt Kenseth to step back up as Ford’s best hope for a win this weekend. While the last few races have dropped Kenseth off the radar, Texas is a place where Matt performs very well. Six of his last seven Cup races here were top tens, with the 7th race being a 12th place finish. He normally spends over 96% of his laps running in the top 15.kyle busch and kurt busch at martinsville 2009

toyota logoA 37th place finish in the Spring of 2007 interrupts what could have been 5 consecutive finishes of 6th or better at Texas for Kyle Busch. He won the last two Nationwide Series races here, and finished 2nd in the last two Camping World Truck Series races at Texas. Kyle will not only be Toyota’s best hope for a win this weekend, he will also be carrying a special paint scheme to honor Bobby Labonte. There’s bound to be some good Mo-Jo there!

My Pick To Win?

For my pick to win I’m actually going to step away from the stats sheets and what I suspect will be the most common favorites (Johnson, Gordon, Kenseth, Edwards). From out of nowhere I’m going to go with Tony Stewart. In part because from out of nowhere is how Tony’s team been performing thus far this season. Tony won here in 2006 and he has 5 finishes of 11th or better in the last seven races.

Besides that, every time I tried to go with another driver my gut just told me to go with Tony. Be sure to track my progress (or failure as it may become) over on the OneBadWheel.com Experts Picks” page.