Creature vs. Creature: NASCAR Picks (Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500)

Ben BombergerSenior Writer IMarch 27, 2009

Each week, seven our our esteemed B/R NASCAR writers discuss their picks for the upcoming race. Each week, the writer receives the total number of points their selected driver gets.

At the end of the 26-race regular season, writers will receive 10 bonus points for each win they had during the season and the Chase field will be set, just as the Cup stars do it.

It was an interesting weekend at Bristol for our esteemed panel of NASCAR writers.

Of the seven picks, five writers' picks finished inside the top-15 (of course, three of those picks were Jeff Gordon), and David Phillips correctly picked Kyle Busch as the winner.

The points were shaken up as M.J. Buchanan took over the lead from S.M. Napier, who's pick of Kevin Harvick recorded the worst finish among the group. Adam Heasley jumped over yours truly (Ben Bomberger), and the bottom three stayed the same.

(Prior to this week, S.M. had chosen the top driver three times, and the second place driver the other week.)

It's short-track racing again this weekend as the boys head to Martinsville.

Here are our panel's picks:

Ben Bomberger
Ben Bomberger

Ben Bomberger

This week's pick: Tony Stewart—This week was another tough one to pick. You never know how Martinsville is going to go. One mistake in the pits or poor track position, and a top-five finish quickly becomes a 30th-place finish.

The obvious choices this weekend were Johnson, Gordon and Hamlin, but I think Stewart is going to give them a run for their money in his No. 14 Chevy and could even sneak outta Southwest Virginia with a win on Sunday.

Remember, Smoke is now driving HMS equipment, and it's no surprise that Gordon and Johnson have made Martinsville their own personal playground in recent years, so Stewart could be climbing the fence for the first time as an owner.

I wanted to also go with Brian Vickers, I really think he is going to pull off a win this year in the No. 83 Toyota, and I want to make sure I'm the one who picked him that weekend, but I just don't see it happening this weekend at the paper-clip, but I'll stick him on the list as a "longshot dark horse."

I also thought about going with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. He runs well at Martinsville, and is in Hendrick equipment. (And we all know how dominant the HMS cars have been in recent years.) But I just don't think the No. 88 team has it together right now, for whatever reason, this team is not clicking and won't be visiting Victory Lane this weekend.

Last week's pick: Brian Vickers (finished 29th).


MJ Buchanan
MJ Buchanan

Mary Jo Buchanan

This week's pick: Jeff Gordon—For my pick this week, I am going yet again with Gordon. For Hendrick Motorsports, Martinsville is all about destiny, good and bad. Rick Hendrick got his first win there with another Jeff, Geoffrey Bodine, 25 years ago this race season. 

And yet on the flip side, we wept at Martinsville with both the Hendrick team and family when they lost so many loved ones in the plane crash at that track.

Hendrick past champion Jimmie Johnson has pretty much owned Martinsville, but teammate Gordon has been ever so closely right behind him when they have run there. The difference this year is that Gordon is so close to Victory Lane that he can taste it. 

So, for all those reasons, destiny and history and just plain being so motivated to not just knock on the door but barge on through, I am going with Gordon again this week to win.

Last week's pick: Jeff Gordon (finished fourth).


LJ Burgess
LJ Burgess

L.J. Burgess

This week's pick: Jeff Gordon—This little showpiece of Americana is a Hendrick home-court lately...even Casey Mears finished sixth here last year (and has three top 10s in the last five races at Martinsville...go figure.)

Roush, Gibbs and RCR race well here also, but it's still a Hendrick lock.

The top-five:

Jeff Gordon is on a roll, no wins yet and he's due...way due. He is the master of Martinsville, and Sunday he will break his winless streak.

Jimmie Johnson will give us a replay of the '07 spring race for a while, but Gordon will prevail this time.

Denny Hamlin will surge, struggle, and curse his crew to no avail...but a top-three at his home track will do.

Jeff Burton will spend all day struggling into the top five.

Kyle Busch will lead early and a lot, but something will go wrong in the pits...again.

That's my dart board picks for this week's top five.

Jamie McMurray will take a top 10 spot, as will Harvick, Bowyer, Stewart, and Kenseth.

JP Montoya is my crazy man pick for something...a top-10 upset, anything.

There's your top 10+1 for the spring race at Martinsville.

Last week's pick: Carl Edwards (finished 15th).


Kelly Crandall
Kelly Crandall

Kelly Crandall

This week's pick: Jimmie Johnson—For Martinsville this weekend I, like probably everyone, am going to pick Mr. Martinsville. No, not Harry Gant, although if he was in the race I would pick him, but the new Mr. Martinsville: Jimmie Johnson.

In 14 starts at this track, he has 13 top-10s, two poles and five wins. (Including four of the last five!) His worst finish at the track was his rookie year, which was 35th. Since then, he hasn't finished worst than ninth. He's also led 1,345 laps.
This is Johnson's racetrack until someone else can step up. Johnson is my pick at Martinsville.

Last week's pick: Jeff Gordon (finished fourth).


Adam Heasley
Adam Heasley

Adam Heasley

This week's pick: Dale Earnhardt Jr.—I'm going to have to go out on a limb here, and it might really come back to bite me. My pick for Martinsville is none other then the driver of the No. 88.

Yes people, I'm picking Earnhardt Jr. I'm counting on Earnhardt Jr. to have a good run, and I think he will get his first top-five of the year.

There have been multiple times when Earnhardt Jr. was the dominant driver of this race, but was never able to pull it off. So Earnhardt, go get 'em buddy.

Last week's pick: Jeff Gordon (finished fourth).


SM Napier
SM Napier

S.M. Napier

This week's pick: Denny Hamlin—Going with Denny Hamlin this week. He's hungry for Victory Lane, always runs well at his home track, and I like his new attitude.

But I've always liked how he gets so excited about coming home to race and so appreciative of the local racing scene to making it to the Cup.

Also that he fills a section of the stands with family, friends, and a few of his competitors from the local short tracks that he raced against, and that's really what it's all about. The three keys for Hamlin at Martinsville are qualify well, don't beat yourself, and late in the race, save fuel. If he does all three of these things, we'll see him in Victory Lane.

Last week's pick: Kevin Harvick (finished 30th).

David Phillips
David Phillips

David Phillips

This week's pick: Kyle Busch—My pick for the paper clip is none other than my pick last week, I'm going with Rowdy Kyle Busch! I originally was going to go with Denny Hamlin, but changed my mind and went with Rowdy.

Last week's pick: Kyle Busch (won the race).




Creature Standings
MJ Buchanan
SM Napier 7681
Adam Heasley
Ben Bomberger 6730
David Phillips6261
Kelly Crandall
LJ Burgess4560








For more information about the writers making picks weekly, visit their B/R page by clicking on each writer's name.

Picks by the week: Shootout | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36