Fantasy NASCAR: Denny Hamlin’s injury stirs things up
April 4, 2013 11:06PM
Jeffrey D. Nicholls/Post-Tribune Post-Tribune sports writer Steve Gorches
Steve T. Gorches picks — FONTANA — Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon. Total points: 163; MARTINSVILLE — Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne.
Top 10 readers this week
Andy Govert 195
Albert Gonzalez 193
Wayne Cates 193
Susan Zart 190
Bob Curtis 190
Melinda Skura 188
Tony Veneziano 187
Bill Zart 187
Joe Slamka 186
Jim Rearick 184
Tim Wagner 184
Billy Coran 184
The annual Post-Tribune Fantasy NASCAR contest has returned for a sixth season. Each week readers pick five drivers and points are based on the same system NASCAR uses in its standings. Lineup entries can be submitted via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (219-314-3797). Entries can also be texted to that cell number. No faxes, please. With your entries, please include your name, hometown and a contact number. First and second place each week will be entered into a drawing in July for tickets to the Brickyard 400.
Updated: May 6, 2013 6:36AM
Now that was the way NASCAR racing is supposed to be — worthy of Darrell Waltrip’s annoying “Boogity, boogity, boogity” to start every race.
Two drivers went into Turn 3 of the last lap refusing to lose on March 24 at Fontana, and it turns out both Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin did lose as they bumped and rubbed and jockeyed for position, but forgot about Kyle Busch, who zoomed by them on the outside to win.
The tough part about watching the end came in the aftermath when we learn Hamlin suffered a compression fracture when he hit the wall hard, and couldn’t breathe for a period of time. It brought back bad memories of a certain crash in 2001.
Luckily this time, the protective devices worked enough to save Hamlin’s life. But he won’t be racing for at least three weeks, though it’s more likely he’ll miss six weeks. Mark Martin will sub for Hamlin in his car this week, while Brian Vickers will sub for Hamlin starting next week in Texas.
So those of you who choose to submit one lineup for several weeks without changing it — which isn’t a bad strategy — and you have Hamlin in it, time to email, text or call in a different lineup for at least a month.
And the streak continues — five weeks and five different winners. Will the pattern stick this week? Speaking of patterns, I also have yet to pick the race winner. Post-Tribune Fantasy NASCAR contest regulars know this isn’t news since I’ve been known to go through slumps a couple months at a time. But for some reason, I’m very confident that one of my five driver picks will win in Martinsville.
Another pattern that continued at Fontana was having low reader scores. For the third time in five races, no one topped the 200-point mark. And remember, the two weeks when that did happen, the high score was only 202.
I thought it would happen this time with both Busch brothers, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Carl Edwards in the top five. Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne were also in the top 10. But Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson were 11th and 12th, while Tony Stewart and Brad Keselowski struggled. So it all equals some ugly lineups.
So which readers did manage to get Busch’s win at Fontana correct, as well as put together four other driver picks good enough to survive?
Andy Govert of Crown Point had Kyle Busch, Kenseth, Junior, Kahne and Johnson for 195 points, just enough to edge Albert Gonzalez and Wayne Cates, who both had 193 points. All three earn spots in our July drawing for Brickyard 400 tickets.
Reader quote of the week: It comes from Rick Garvey of Chesterton, whose wife, Janice, finished second last week to earn a spot in our drawing.
“Either I created a monster or you created a monster because my wife’s a nut,” Rick said in his voice mail contest entry. “She thinks she knows something about NASCAR now. It’s fun; she won’t let me see her drivers until the race starts — she’s cocky.”
The only problem I have is the “or you created a monster” referring to me. Don’t know how I would have created any monster, unless he’s referring to starting our Fantasy NASCAR contest six years ago. If that’s true, then many husbands feel the same way about their wives doing well in the contest — like Chuck Green Sr. of Wheatfield, Joe Slamka of Chesterton, Lew Wise of Hammond and others.