Thursday, June 15, 2006

Preview for Michigan

In past years, the races at the two-mile flat ovals of California and Michigan have been fairly mediocre at best, but lately, with the competition as great as it is, they have become something to look forward to. Where the races were once a long string of cars parading single-file all the way around the huge ovals, now it is guaranteed that there will be wheel to wheel racing throughout the field and throughout the race. This has been an extraordinary season for racing, so far this season, and the Michigan 400 will not be a disappointment.
Greg Biffle will attempt to repeat his feat of last year, and Tony Stewart will do everything he can to avoid repeating his disappointing second place finish of last year. That alone will demonstrate some excellent racing. Both drivers are very determined and aggressive, both teams have been producing very capable cars, and the finish will be determined by skill and experience, which means Smoke will take the checkered flag. This time, I am not picking Stewart because he is my favorite driver, but because when he shows the kind of attitude he has shown since his shoulder injury, he usually wins. Knock on wood, discounting any accidents, temper tantrums, or mechanical problems, the Home Depot team will see victory Sunday.
It is almost too easy to predict the top five in this race. These guys are pretty consistant, and there should be little change at Michigan. Jimmie Johnson, Kyle "The Shrub" Busch, and the driver whose name I don't mention for fear of changing his luck (I'm really not superstitious, but I won't take any chances) will continue their performance and fill out the top five. Johnson may be a favorite to win, but we are picking Smoke, because, head to head, Stewart finesses the talented but less experienced Johnson. Shrub, however, is the kind of kid who will want to get involved in the intense race between the #16 and the #20, which we hope he doesn't get a chance to. If he does succeed in getting involved, we would more than likely see three or more, wrecked cars and Shrub crying, "I don't know that I did anything wrong!"
Gee, am I always this pesimistic? I'm not trying to be down on anybody, this is just my way of expressing my love of the sport, and my anticipation of some really good stuff on track. This is what racing is, no restrictor plates, wide, relatively flat turns, and long, wide open straightaways.
It may be a surprise to some, but Brian Vickers is auditioning. He is a capable driver, and is on a roll. Historically, though he has no wins, he does well at Michigan, and, if he doesn't over extend his talent, he should get a top ten, if not a top five. I would like to see him beat Jimmie Johnson, in a head to head race, but, in a contact situation, Johnson would prevail. Well, we don't know that for sure, it is only a matter of opinion.
Might as well pick all three of the Gibbs cars to finish in the top ten. Hamlin is almost a no-brainer--if I'm not mistaken, he had a top twelve finish at California. I don't think there is a single race fan who will deny that NASCAR's new Boy Wonder is a shoo in for a top ten at Michigan. Yeley is another story, with his tendency to wrecklessness, but he is learning, and he is also capable of getting a top ten at this kind of track. Besides, those Gibbs cars are good, darn good. If JJ Yeley can stay focused, he can turn a good starting position into at least a top ten finish.
Joe Nemechek? Why not. The #01 team has had half a season to pull its stuff together, and no one can deny that this very steady driver has the ability to do well at Michigan. If he has the determination, which he should have by now, he can get a top ten. It is only a question of the HMS power plant being able to stand up to the driver in this kind of race. Nemechek is my Cloudy Revelation Ball dark horse for a top ten at Michigan.
Of course we can't have a top ten without the man from Batesville, Arkansas.I hope this race is as good as I think it will be. Time to go racing!

1. #20 Tony Stewart
2. You Know Who
3. #16 Greg Biffle
4. #48 Jimmie Johnson
5. # 5 Kyle Busch
6. #25 Brian Vickers
7. #6 Mark Martin
8. # 11 Denny Hamlin
9. #01 Joe Nemecheck
10. #18 JJ Yeley

There is not enough room in the top ten to pick twelve drivers, but I would also like to pick Kasey Kahne, and Scott Riggs. I have a personal interest in seeing Riggs do this season. I bet on him to be one of the top drivers, when he was in the Truck Series.


michele said...

Wow you made nascar sound interesting,i'll think i
will watch it.Have a great

RevJim said...

I hope you like it. One of the reasons I have this blog is to spark interest in my favorite sport. It's not for everybody, and like any sport, it takes a lot of learning about to really get to enjoy it.

blueturtle said...

Nope ... I dunno ... it still is hard to read as writing. I will watch only on a few occassions. You know? You don't get to string out that long metaphor like in baseball. (though when you are with a losing team you really don't want to watch).

Clance' McClannahan said...

My rain dance didn't work until it was a few laps too late. Durn!