Dale Earnhardt Jr. win boosts Fantasy NASCAR scores
By Steve T. Gorches 648-3141 or firstname.lastname@example.org June 21, 2012 11:29PM
Dale Earnhardt Jr. celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 auto race at Michigan International Speedway, Sunday, June 17, 2012, in Brooklyn, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Joe Torres 213
Joe Slamka 213
Edwin Holst 208
Shelley Ganzeveld 206
Kurt Reagan 205
Kyle Cicillian 205
Rickey Cross 205
Cheri Rearick 203
Kyle Hamstra 201
Leann Watt 194
Chris Shmagranoff 194
Steve T. Gorches’ picks
Michigan: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin. Total points: 176
Sonoma: Marcos Ambrose, Jeff Gordon, Juan Pablo Montoya, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth
Updated: June 22, 2012 5:26PM
Dale Earnhardt Jr. finally won a race, and I just knew the excitement would be almost universal across NASCAR nation since the majority of fans love Junior.
One of the commentators took the hyperbole to another level at the end of the race as Junior crossed the finish line when he said, “Finally, all will be right in the world ... Dale Earnhardt Jr. has won.”
Really? The last time he won — oh yeah, it was on Father’s Day in 2008, just like this week’s win — one of the worst economic downturns in this country’s history occurred soon afterward. So does Junior winning really make everything right in the world? Will him winning now will make the economy better?
What it has done is make plenty of readers happy, like Erik Watland of Crown Point, who put after his Dale Jr. pick, “Today is his day ... Let’s go Jr. Nation fans.” Or Robin Cox of Lake Station, who made a point of calling me at 11:20 p.m. on Sunday night to leave a message. Instead, I was here to answer her celebratory call touting Junior finally winning.
I guess 143 races was too long for the most popular driver in the universe. Maybe he can follow it up with a Sprint Cup championship since the win puts him just four points out of first in the standings and virtually locks him into the Chase, especially with the how consistent he’s been.
Not only was I on the bandwagon in picking Junior, but the majority of our reader entries had him in there. So it’s no surprise that we had the highest scores of the season in our sixth annual Fantasy NASCAR contest — two readers tied for the top spot with 213 points, which is one off a perfect mark in the NASCAR point system.
Both Joe Torres of East Chicago and Joe Slamka of Chesterton both chose the top five point totals — both had the top four of Junior, Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle, with Torres choosing Jimmie Johnson as his fifth and Slamka picking Jeff Gordon. Both of them had 39 points since Johnson never led a lap.
This week: Finally, we get to one of my favorite races — Sonoma. Road races are just more entertaining to a fan like myself who also enjoys a good open wheel road race.
So here’s my annual plea to readers to think about your entries. There are drivers who only do well in these races and other guys who also do well on road tracks as well as ovals.
Two of the latter types are Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon, while Marcos Ambrose and Juan Pablo Montoya will always contend.