Top 5 Picks For Checker O'Reilly 500

Misan AkuyaCorrespondent INovember 14, 2009

AVONDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 13:  Mark Martin, driver of the #5 Kellogg's/CARQUEST Chevrolet, drives during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 13, 2009 in Avondale, AZ.  (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images

5th Place:Martin Truex Jr.  Martin Truex Jr started his 2nd to last weekend as the driver of the 1 car at Earnhardt Ganassi racing with winning the pole for Sunday's Checker O'Reilly 500 at Phoenix.  In 7 starts at Phoenix he has 0 top fives, 3 top tens, 72 laps led,and an average finish of 17th.  I predict that he will lead many of the early laps but not be able to make the proper adjustments to win the race.


4th Place:Denny Hamlin.  Denny Hamlin will roll off from the 5th spot Sunday at Phoenix and expect him to be a serious threat for the win.  In 8 starts Hamlin has 4 top fives, 5 top tens, 93 laps led, and an average finish of 10.38.  I predict that there will be a part of the race that looks like Hamlin might wiin as he will lead a good bit of laps but will fall short.


3rd Place:Kurt Busch.  Kurt Busch is riding a high after winning last Sunday at Texas the Blue Decue will roll off front in the 2nd spot.  In 13 starts the elder Busch has a win, 4 top fives, 7 top tens, 517 laps led, and an average finish of 12.46.  I predict that Kurt will hang around in the top 3 to 4 all day long and in the closing laps will be there to vie for the win.


2nd Place:Tony Stewart.  Tony Stewart is a pleased car owner over his initial season with Stewart Haas racing.  He will roll off 8th Sunday.  In 15 starts Stewart has a win, 7 top fives, 9 top tens, 331 laps led and an average finish of 10.07.  I predict that Stewart is going to go through the field in hurray, lead a bunch of laps and be there in the end contending for the win with just 1 guy in his way


1st and Winner:Mark Martin.  Mark Martin at age 50 has perhaps the best chance he has ever had at winning a cup championship.  In 25 starts Martin has earned 2 wins, 10 top fives, 16 top tens, 833 laps led, and an average finish of 9.04.  I predict Martin will make his way through the filed in hurray just like Stewart.  But Mark will lead the most laps and win the race gaining points on Jimmie Johnson who will finish just outside the top 5 in 6th and being only 28 points behind Johnson heading into Homestead.


Dark Horses:Dale Earnhardt and Jamie McMurray.

Dale Earnhardt Jr in 14 starts has 2 wins, 4 top fives, 7 top tens, 460 laps led, and an average finish of 18.07 at Phoenix.  Dale Earnhardt was 3rd in final practice and only made minor changes to his car as he will start 18th on Sunday.  This could be Jr's last shot at a win in 2009 and I predict a strong top ten run.


Jamie McMurray In 12 starts at Phoenix has 1 top fives, 1 top tens, 28 laps led, and an average finish of 20.83 at Phoenix.  What used to be one of his worst tracks has became a good track for McMurray with his last 2 finishes at Phoenix being a 3rd and a 11th.  In the final practice he was 8th and will need that kind of speed to go thru the filed as he will start 30th.  I predict that McMurray will have a strong top ten runs.