OBW Experts Roundtable: Week Seven

The OBW Experts will get together the day after the Sprint Cup race to discuss the hot topics of the week.

This week we chat about Gordon’s championship odds, outside picks for the Chase and ask if Michael Waltrip is better in front of the camera than behind the wheel.

In the last six races, Jeff Gordon has finished no worse than sixth. Now that Gordon has just ended the winless drought at 47 races. I’m looking for someone to declare Gordon a lock for the championship. Any takers?

Darren Fauth: Jeff Gordon is a lock… for the Chase. Going into the 2009 season, my gut feeling was that he was gonna be the champion. The strange thing is that I am finding myself pulling for him. Stranger still is that I almost bought a Jeff Gordon hat at the track on Sunday.

Jeffrey Gutowski: There is no such thing as a lock for the championship with the Chase rules. If the Chase started today Gordon would be behind Matt Kenseth going into the first race. Every team has droughts sometime during the season and if that drought happens during the Chase, like it did to Kyle Busch last year, there will be no championship for Gordon.

Eric Brewer: Not yet. Smoke has not even got warmed up yet. It is usually in the summer when that happens. Jimmie Johnson is a closer, so his season peaks at the end during the Chase. Kyle Busch may win another six or more races, so he is not out yet. The season just started– we haven’t even seen ‘Dega yet.

Ryan Rantz: I like Jimmie Johnson for the championship. My lasting image of Jeff Gordon in 2007 — the last time he had a good start for the season — was Gordon waving the white flag in victory lane celebrating Johnson’s win at Phoenix. Fast starts don’t mean much since the “real races” start in September.

Give me one driver that is currently worse than 15th in points that could make the Chase.

Ryan Rantz: Mark Martin is a driver outside the top-15 that I think will easily make the Chase. Not only that, but have perhaps his best run at the championship in the last decade. With NASCAR moving Talledega later in the Chase, his championship hopes won’t get crushed as early this year.

Darren Fauth: Dale Earnhardt Jr. or Mark Martin. That’s two, but I figure the “The Franchise” David Reutimann will fall out, as will Kasey Kahne.

Jeffrey Gutowski: Mark Martin will make the Chase. He is just too consistent and has great equipment at Hendrick Motorsports.

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Eric Brewer: Ryan Newman. I could say Earnhardt Jr. but I’m going with Newman.

Eric McClung: I’ll go a litte deeper and say Brian Vickers. His place in the standings took a hit after poor showings at the short tracks but has been very good at the intermediate tracks– the beef of the schedule. It’s a shame Allmendinger is no longer his teammates, Red Bull has done a great job getting their Cup program off the ground in a pretty short period of time, but passing on Allmendinger could come back to haunt them.

Between battling a robot with a fire extinguisher and being a master genius at guessing auto parts, are Michael Waltrip’s commercials better than his driving?

Ryan Rantz: His commercials are hands down better than his driving ability. They have to be because many of his commercials make a joke out of his driving career.

Darren Fauth: Definitely. He needs to get out of the way on the track. He is always racing the leader when he should be pulling over.

Jeffrey Gutowski: I like Michael Waltrip’s commercials but as I’ve said before, you don’t make it to the Cup series unless you can drive. I think the real problem is that he can’t focus on his driving and running his own team at the same time.

Eric Brewer: This year seems to be different. His teams are running well and his commercials have gotten better.”