Picks for this weekend:
Ben Bomberger—Brian Vickers
Vickers pulled off his fifth pole of the 2009 season, and I'm hoping this could be the weekend he actually does something with a solid starting position.
In his four starts at Chicagoland, Vickers has yet to finish worse than 14th. He has one top-five (2005 with Hendrick Motorsports) and two top-10 finishes (one of which came in the No. 83 Toyota last year when he finished eighth.
Vickers has an average finish of 9.3 and an Average Running Position of 8.6 (sixth-best).
Team Red Bull continues to knock on the door of its first victory in the Sprint Cup Series, and Chicagoland could just be the place it finally happens.
James Broomhead—Carl Edwards
We're back on the cookie-cutter tracks, so we're back on Roush's home territory, and we're still waiting for the first Cup back flip of the season. Hint. Hint.
M.J. Buchanan—Juan Pablo Montoya
For this week in Chicagoland I'm going to pick Juan Pablo Montoya. He just has been steadily working his way up into the Chase points and has been having good, solid finishes.
It's been a tumultuous week for his team owner, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, with the announcement about Martin Truex. But in spite of it all, I look for JPM to break out and get his name into the victory column this week.
Kelly Crandall—Jimmie Johnson
Mason Dunn—Brian Vickers
I've been avoiding this driver but after my risky pick paid off last week with Elliott Sadler I feel a whole heck of a lot more confident going with Brian Vickers this week at Chicago. Vickers has four starts at Chicago and much like Hamlin at New Hampshire he has nothing but good finishes with a worst finish of 14th coming in the 2004 race.
He has completed 100 percent of the laps of the four races that he has run with a best finish of fourth place and after winning the pole late Thursday night for the fifth time this season look for the veteran driver of the Red Bull stable to bring home another quality top five finish to help his campaign for a spot in the 2009 edition of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Adam Heasley—Mark Martin
No comments sent
Danielle Henderson—Denny Hamlin
He's been on the move for a while now and I think we all saw that at Daytona. My prediction is Denny will be up front all day and then take the checkered flag.
Kara Martin—Tony Stewart
I thought about going with Kyle Busch this week because I felt that he would have something to prove and would be out for blood after last week's melee in Daytona. But, I changed my mind at the last minute, let's see if I've gone with the right guy.
This week I'm going with Tony Stewart. Despite a poor qualifying effort Stewart is the one to beat this week. In my opinion there is no better driver on the track today.
He is one of two drivers, the other being Kevin Harvick to win twice at Chicagoland. In addition to his victories Stewart has six top five and six top ten finishes in Chicago.
Stewart's Crayola covered back to school Office Depot paint scheme will bring a colorful element to the scene this weekend. Let's just hope that he stays within the lines!
S.M. Napier—Tony Stewart
As much as I want to pick Happy this race, it all came down to statistics and going with Smoke. He gets my pick by winning a pole, one more top five then happy and led 113 more laps. So going with Smoke for the win and guess my dark horse will be Happy.
Kyle Ocker—Matt Kenseth
Matt Kenseth will be the winner of the LifeLock.com 400 this Saturday at Chicagoland Speedway. He has the best driver rating of 120.4 in the last four races.
Also in the last four races, he has led 296 laps. It pays to be the fastest, which has earned him a field-most 156 fastest laps. He also spends 91.1 percent of his time in top-15.
Keep an eye on Kyle Busch. He almost came away with the "W" but had a little incident at the finish.
David Phillips—Scott Speed
Jen Preston—Kevin Harvick
In a continuing effort to avoid "Knausing", I'm picking my man Happy this weekend. He's got two wins at Chicagoland, holds the
track record for fastest race, has the most wins and most top tens of any driver, and has the best average finish (7.4). That, and I really want Harvick to get back in Victory Lane!
Rob Tiongson—Tony Stewart
It's time for yet another cookie cutter type of race...I wished it was a race enjoyed with some chocolate chip bites from Famous Amos or Boston Chipyard, but instead, we'll have to settle with the Chicagoland Speedway.
I seem to have been snake bitten as of late with my picks, with Newman running out of gas at NHMS and Shrub getting Kyle'd by Smoke at Daytona. So I'll play it safe with this Saturday night's race, choosing Tony Stewart.
It's summer, it's hot, and if any driver is looking to have the streak of victories in 2009, it's Smoke himself. He may have not liked how he won last Saturday night, but this time around, he'll relish his victory at CS.
Here is a look at each writers' pick from Daytona last weekend, where they finished, and the updated point standings (wins are in parenthesis):
Ben Bomberger, (2614) Tony Stewart won. (1)
Kelly Crandall, (2464) Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 39th. (1)
M.J. Buchanan, (2459) Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 39th. (0)
Adam Heasley, (2433) Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 39th. (2)
S.M. Napier, (2360) Kevin Harvick finished 26th. (2)
David Phillips, (2005) Ryan Newman finished 20th. (1)
James Broomhead, (1051) Tony Stewart won. (1)
Kara Martin, (963) Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 39th. (1)
Mason Dunn, (917) Elliot Sadler finished 10th. (0)
Rob Tiongson, (888) Kyle Busch finished 14th. (1)
Danielle Henderson, (831) Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 39th. (0)
Kyle Ocker, (748) Ryan Newman finished 20th. (0)
Jen Preston, (718) Clint Bowyer finished 33rd. (0)
Remember, during the regular season, our writers are trying to collect as many wins as possible.
After Richmond, points will be reset with each writer receiving 10 points for correctly picking a winner during the season.
For the final 10 races, the points will matter, and a Creature vs. Creature Champion will be crowned following the season finale in Homestead.
Check back on Monday for this weekend's results.