Fantasy NASCAR: Some declining drivers are still worth picking
By Steve T. Gorches 648-3141 or email@example.com March 7, 2013 11:09PM
Steve T. Gorches picks
PHOENIX: Danica Patrick, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano. Total points: 143;
LAS VEGAS: Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon
Top 10 readers
Bob Tolley 202
Kelsie Rearick 197
Janice Garvey 195
Sam Conley 193
Dave Turnipseed 193
Lew Wise 192
Jerry Shafer 191
Albert Gonzalez 190
Al Hamstra 189
Melinda Skura 189
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: April 9, 2013 12:08PM
When a driver goes almost two years without winning a race in the Sprint Cup Series, he kind of falls off the grid in our Fantasy NASCAR contest.
Take Carl Edwards as an example. He’s been one of the more popular drivers among our Post-Tribune contest entrants over the last five years. I could almost tell you from memory the readers who regularly picked him because, I’m assuming, they like him and his trademark back flip after winning.
All of a sudden, in the first two weeks of this season, there weren’t many Edwards picks.
Guess what? You should have picked him, because for the second straight week the scores weren’t very high in our contest — only one reader topped the 200-point mark, and he didn’t even pick Edwards.
It’s become a trend in the last year or so with drivers ending long winless streaks — Dale Earnhardt Jr. had the most famous streak-ending win last season because, well, he’s Junior. Everybody loves him even if he was one of the worst drivers performance-wise for a couple years. Jeff Gordon had a long winless streak heading into last season, too.
It’s understandable that Edwards wasn’t a popular pick these last couple weeks — only nine entries out of more than 100 had him this week — after having a horrendous season last year. But give the guy the benefit of the doubt.
Yeah, that’s easy for me to say, considering I didn’t pick him. But then again, he’s not really on my radar when making picks. I did choose him a couple times last year to appease a friend of mine. I think I’ll return to picking him.
Speaking of drivers who don’t get picked as much, Jimmie Johnson was second in Phoenix. Now granted, Johnson is on many more entries than Edwards, but there’s been a consensus that he’s been on the decline since he hasn’t won the Sprint Cup title in two years. Never mind those five straight titles he won, and the fact that he’s been right there on the cusp of winning the Chase the last two seasons.
And don’t forget that Chad Knaus is still his crew chief, and that’s always an advantage (fill in cheater joke here).
Johnson won Daytona and finished second in Phoenix. Do you need any more of a hint that he’s just as good as he was in those five championship seasons?
So who was able to do well in our contest in Week 2? How about a first-year entrant. Bob Tolley of Whiting just started getting into the Post-Tribune’s Fantasy NASCAR contest. Lo and behold, he’s a winner and qualifies for our July drawing for Brickyard 400 tickets. He had 202 points without picking Edwards (Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, Earnhardt Jr. and Brad Keselowski). Those five all finished in the top 10 and were enough to beat out Kelsie Rearick, who had 197 points for second. She also qualifies for our drawing.
Apologies go out to readers who called our new number (314-3797) for entries, and my voice mail was full. I’m getting used to the new entry destination, too. It shouldn’t happen again, but if it does and you aren’t able to text to the same number, the backup number is 331-5600, or you can email to email@example.com.