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Fantasy NASCAR: Junior winning leads to high scores

Jeffrey D. Nicholls/Post-Tribune  

Post-Tribune sports writer Steve Gorches

Jeffrey D. Nicholls/Post-Tribune Post-Tribune sports writer Steve Gorches

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FANTASY NASCAR

Top 5 readers this week

Allen Curtis 211

Maria Jimenez 210

Al Hamstra 208

Bob Curtis 207

Kenneth Moldovan 205

Bill Snow 205

Steve T. Gorches picks — DAYTONA 500: Austin Dillon, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Danica Patrick, Carl Edwards. Total points: 118

The Post-Tribune Fantasy NASCAR contest has returned for a seventh season. Each week readers pick five drivers. Points are based on the system NASCAR uses in its standings. Lineup entries can be submitted via email (fantasy@post-trib.com) or by calling or texting 219-314-3797. 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 1, 2014 10:20AM



Another NASCAR season, another entertaining Daytona 500.

There were a couple big crashes, one that included Danica Patrick. I know, big surprise, but she actually was running well, lurking behind the drafts like she did last year when she finished eighth at Daytona, and was just caught up in a crash.

And in the end, the most popular driver in NASCAR won his second Daytona 500 almost 10 years to the day after winning his first.

When Dale Earnhardt Jr. wins, it’s a rarity (his last victory came in the middle of the 2012 season and he has three victories in seven-plus years) and a celebration for most NASCAR fans. I can imagine regular Post-Tribune Fantasy NASCAR entrant Robin Cox of Lake Station was jumping up and down in her living room Sunday night after Junior won the rain-delayed season-opener. She, of course, had Junior in her lineup, but his Hendrick teammate Kasey Kahne ruined her chances of finishing in the top 10.

Besides Earnhardt winning — and virtually guaranteeing a spot in the Chase under the new flawed format — it was also rare to have some of the more well-known drivers survive the crashes and finish in the top 10 at Daytona.

In our seventh season of the P-T fantasy contest, it’s a given that restrictor plate races produce unusual drivers near the front. Remember Trevor Bayne winning the Daytona 500 or David Ragan winning a restrictor event in recent years? How about Michael Waltrip’s propensity for top 5 finishes at Daytona and Talladega?

But this time, seven of the first eight places went to household names — Earnhardt, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle, with only Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in seventh an outside-the-box pick. Even ninth-place Austin Dillon was a common pick this week after earning the pole.

Don’t count on that happening all year. There’s a slew of good, young drivers in this year’s Sprint Cup Series. Besides Dillon, look for Alex Bowman, Brian Scott and Kyle Larson to make some noise this season.

As for which readers made the most noise in Week 1, veteran entrant Allen Curtis of DeMotte was barely the best with 211 points. He was nearly perfect in choosing Earnhardt, Hamlin, Keselowski, Gordon (top four in order) and Kenseth (sixth). Curtis was one point better than Maria Jimenez of Lake Station, who had 210 points with the only difference being Biffle instead of Kenseth.

Both Curtis and Jimenez earn spots in our July drawing, which has given the winner two tickets to the Brickyard 400 the last six years. We hope to have the same prize this year.

Contest reminders: Our first week garnered the same 100-or-so entries it has in past years, meaning the popularity hasn’t waned. There were even some new entries, which means some tidbits need to be reiterated.

There were a couple entries with only four drivers. Please pick five drivers or you will be short in points, even if your four picks finish first through fourth.

Please include your last name (that means you, Fred from Lake Station), hometown (that means you David Gaines from wherever) and phone number if you are submitting an email entry.



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