The SuperSpeedway Power Rankings – September

It’s a playoff edition of the rankings!

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1 Martin Truex Jr. (LM 1)

There’s been one driver and one driver alone who deserves this spot for the majority of the season. That’s the highest praise you can give Martin Truex Jr. His team is the best out there week in and week out.

2 Kyle Busch (LM 2)

Three drivers have separated themselves this season. Kyle’s number two…

3 Kyle Larson (LM 3)

…and number 3! Larson is still my pick to win the title. He’s not given me a reason to waiver.

4 Brad Keselowski (LM 9)

This is where the rankings get difficult. Brad spent most of the season hanging around my 10th spot. But he’s really coming on strong when it matters. That’s enough for me to give him the big jump to 4th.

5 Denny Hamlin (LM 5)

Hanging around, hanging around, hanging around. I feel like Denny isn’t that far off but he’s not known for hot streaks.

6 Chase Elliott (LM 7)

Chase is still in the show me something point of his career. Being the best performing car at Hendrick used to mean something but man, what a struggle it’s been.

7 Matt Kenseth (LM NR)

Introducing, for the first time this season, the driver of the number 20 (but not for much longer), Matty Ice!

8 Kevin Harvick (LM 4)

If one guy is going to sneak into the final four at Homestead, I think it’s this dude right here. The New Hampshire accident hurt but he’s got enough cushion to push through.

9 Jimmie Johnson (LM 6)

What a strange season. I’ve never seen Jimmie struggle like this and yet he’s still a top 10 driver in the series. We have 8 races to go and he only has 3 top-fives and 9 top-tens! Can we count him out yet? I’ll answer that… NO!

10 Ryan Blaney (LM NR)

He gets this spot by default only because he’s 8th in points. Honestly, I have no idea what to do here.

Also considered

Jamie McMurray and… I don’t know… pick a number.

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SuperSpeedway Fantasy League Week 3

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Fantasy League Standings after New Hampshire

After week two of the Playoffs, Eric’s team has taken a commanding 532-430 lead. This week can be summed up pretty easily. Eric’s team featured all three stage winners, Kyle Busch (race winner) and Martin Truex Jr. His team also featured a three headed Toyota monster of Busch, Truex and Matt Kenseth.

While Eric had three drivers over 47 points, James had three drivers score two points or less. Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch and Kasey Kahne.

Eric came into this week three points behind and is now leading by 102 points as we head to Dover.

Rules

  • Eric and James each picked 8 playoff drivers, draft style.
  • The total points earned by a driver throughout the playoffs will contribute to the team’s total.
  • Most points earned wins.

Eric’s Team (532 Total Points/283 for the Race)

47 Martin Truex Jr.
58 Kyle Busch
30 Denny Hamlin
36 Ryan Blaney
24 Ryan Newman
18 Austin Dillon
48 Matt Kenseth
22 Jamie McMurray

James’ Team (430 Total Points/178 Race Total)

50 Kyle Larson
45 Brad Keselowski
30 Jimmie Johnson
2 Kevin Harvick
22 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
26 Chase Elliott
1 Kurt Busch
2 Kasey Kahne

Bracket Challenge

Eric and James each filled out a bracket for all 10 races. We are also joined by our follower/friend of the podcast, Todd Henry.

Rules

  • Each correct pick is worth 10 points per round for the first three rounds.
  • Each correct Homestead Pick is worth 15 points.
  • Pick the Champion and you get 20 points.
  • Most points win.

Eric’s Championship Four

Martin Truex Jr
Kyle Larson
Kyle Busch
Jimmie Johnson

James’ Championship Four

Martin Truex Jr.
Kyle Larson
Kyle Busch
Kevin Harvick

Todd’s Championship Four

Martin Truex Jr.
Kyle Larson
Kyle Busch
Kevin Harvick

Points will begin to accumulate at the end of round one.

The SuperSpeedway Fantasy League Week 2

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UPDATE: Chase Elliott’s penalty has been added. The 24 team received a 15 point penalty following Chicagoland.

Fantasy League Standings after Chicagoland

After week one of the Playoffs, James leads Eric 267-249. Stage points played a huge role in the driver’s totals at Chicagoland. Eric had race winner Martin Truex Jr. but early struggles cost him total points. Also, Kyle Busch’s issues plagued him the whole race after a dominating first stage.

James was able to take advantage of two 50+ point drivers Chase Elliott and Kevin Harvick. Kyle Larson and Brad Keselowski also had strong days helping his cause.

Rules

  • Eric and James each picked 8 playoff drivers, draft style.
  • The total points earned by a driver throughout the playoffs will contribute to the team’s total.
  • Most points earned wins.

Eric’s Team (249 Total Points)

49 Martin Truex Jr.
32 Kyle Busch
45 Denny Hamlin
26 Ryan Blaney
14 Ryan Newman
21 Austin Dillon
34 Matt Kenseth
28 Jamie McMurray

James’ Team (252 Total Points)

42 Kyle Larson
42 Brad Keselowski
29 Jimmie Johnson
52 Kevin Harvick
12 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
53 Chase Elliott (-15 points for penalty. New Total 38 Points)
21 Kurt Busch
16 Kasey Kahne

Bracket Challenge

Eric and James each filled out a bracket for all 10 races. We are also joined by our follower/friend of the podcast, Todd Henry.

Rules

  • Each correct pick is worth 10 points per round for the first three rounds.
  • Each correct Homestead Pick is worth 15 points.
  • Pick the Champion and you get 20 points.
  • Most points win.

Eric’s Championship Four

Martin Truex Jr
Kyle Larson
Kyle Busch
Jimmie Johnson

James’ Championship Four

Martin Truex Jr.
Kyle Larson
Kyle Busch
Kevin Harvick

Todd’s Championship Four

Martin Truex Jr.
Kyle Larson
Kyle Busch
Kevin Harvick

Points will begin to accumulate at the end of round one.

SuperSpeedway Fantasy League Week 1

Here we go! It’s Eric vs James in the SuperSpeadway Fantasy League. We have two games setup for this year’s Playoffs. The fist our Fantasy League, the second is our Bracket Challenge. Remember that you can join the fun! Just submit your picks on our Facebook page and compete alongside us “experts.”

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Fantasy League

Eric and James each picked 8 playoff drivers, draft style.

The total points earned by a driver throughout the playoffs will contribute to the team’s total.

Most points earned wins.

Eric’s Team

Martin Truex Jr.
Kyle Busch
Denny Hamlin
Ryan Blaney
Ryan Newman
Austin Dillon
Matt Kenseth
Jamie McMurray

James’ Team

Kyle Larson
Brad Keselowski
Jimmie Johnson
Kevin Harvick
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Chase Elliott
Kurt Busch
Kasey Kahne

Bracket Challenge

Eric and James each filled out a bracket for all 10 races.

Each correct pick is worth 10 points per round for the first three rounds.

Each correct Homestead Pick is worth 15 points.

Pick the Champion and you get 20 points.

Most points win.

Bracket Challenge Standings

Eric’s Championship Four

Truex
Larson
Kyle Busch
Jimmie Johnson

James’ Championship Four

Truex
Larson
Kyle Busch
Kevin Harvick

Points will begin to accumulate at the end of round one.

The SuperSpeedway Power Rankings – August

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We’re entering the home stretch of the 2017 season! This is our last rankings before the Playoffs begin. Let’s take a look at who’s on top before we head to Darlington.

1 Martin Truex Jr. (LM 1)

Lock it up! The one seed in the Playoffs is going to be one of the last four standings.

2 Kyle Busch (LM 4)

Last month I asked KB to “Just. Win. Kyle.” He’s done that and is now the top Kyle in the rankings. His average finish is just as good as Martin Truex’s. The big difference between the two is Playoff Points. 

3 Kyle Larson (LM 2)

In July I said this guy was still dangerous even though the team was slumping. Michigan proved that his talent, when put in the right position, will get the job done. If he can make Homestead, he’s got just as good of a shot as anyone.

4 Kevin Harvick (LM 5)

In 2017 we have not seen the Happy we’re used to. However, the dude is still really consistent. It’s impressive considering everything SHR has had to change going into the beginning of the year. 

5 Denny Hamlin (LM 6)

He’s the third best Toyota driver. That’s enough for a top 5 spot for me. 

6 Jimmie Johnson (LM 3)

The most impressive thing he’s done in the last two months is his 107 mile bike ride in Michigan. I still won’t count him out. 

7 Chase Elliott (LM 7)

Just hang in there. Don’t let the bubble burst on you.

8 Jamie McMurray (LM 8)

Same with Jamie. Just hang on!

9 Brad Keselowski (LM 10)

I’ll be honest, I don’t know what to do with 7-10 in the rankings. It’s a weird paradox! Brad should have won Michigan. The second half of that race was pure Toyota power. Sandbagging? 

10 Erik Jones (LM NR)

I’m not going to defend putting Erik here. He’s on fire! A win is coming but will it be before the Playoffs? I think so.

Also considered

Ryan Blaney, Trevor Bayne, and The Darlington Stripe.

The great thing about racing

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Note: As Eric and I prepare to cover a NASCAR Cup Series race for the first time ever, I wanted to share what NASCAR and Michigan International Speedway mean to me. This post was originally penned in 2010 but its meaning remains the same. A lot has changed in my life since I wrote this post all those years ago. The one thing that remains the same, racing is in my blood. Happy MIS week!

“It’s nothing but a bunch of cars running around in circles.”

“I drive a car every day, I could do that.”

“They aren’t athletes.”

Those are the quotes that I hear the most when I talk about racing. That all may be true, but I disagree.

Racing is more than just a Sunday drive. For me, it’s a passion, and obsession.

On Sunday, I took my annual pilgrimage to the Michigan International Speedway, and guess what? I had a blast.

Watching 43 drivers race at 200 mph is almost as much of a thrill for me as it is for them.

Someone can never get the full experience of NASCAR racing until they see it in person.

Baseball fans will tell you there is nothing like the sights, sounds and smells of being at the ball field. The same applies for me when I think about racing.

It all starts when I wake up at 4 a.m. to get ready to meet my family and friends. I feel like a kid on Christmas morning as I fill my cooler with sandwiches and bottles of frozen water. After a couple of hours of travel we make the final turn. There is no better sight than making that turn toward the track. There are thousands of campers flying flags of their favorite drivers, and heroes. They fill the Irish Hills of Brooklyn, surrounding the 2-mile oval.

Then there are the smells. The campfire, the charcoal of tailgaters grilling hot dogs at 8 a.m. Even the sunscreen, as I apply it to my shoulders that are sure to burn regardless of how much I cake on, has a different aroma on race day. And the best of all is the smell of the fuel and burning rubber as the cars take to the track. I am home.

As the cars scream down the front straightaway there is definitely a strain on my ears, but I don’t care. I am focusing on where Tony Stewart is, and how his team will strategize to get him to the front of the pack.

The great thing about MIS is the side-by-side dueling that drivers do all over the track. Every lap there is a pass. One driver will shoot to the top of the track inches from the wall, another will dive to the bottom, and as you think one will pass the other, the door slams and they take their battle to the next turn.

As the race comes to a close, and the grandstands are covered in smoke from the winner’s burnout, we rush back to the car for a race of our own, trying to beat everyone else who wants to get home.

And as I ride home, my head continues to spin about all that I have taken in that day. The excitement, the drama, and the fun with friends and family, it all leads to a giant grin on my face.

As my day comes to an end and I rest my head, I know that I lived my life to the fullest, being around the things I love.

Some people will never agree, or feel the same way I do about racing but that’s OK. I’m sure we all have something we enjoy just as much.

Falling Up

Is Paul Menard’s deal with the Wood Brothers good for NASCAR?

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I have a problem with Paul Menard. Not Paul Menard the man, Paul Menard the race car driver.

This week’s announcement that Menard would be taking over the legendary 21, Wood Brothers Ford, when Ryan Blaney moves to his home base at Team Penske in 2018, really rubbed me the wrong way. The reason? I believe this is a bad look for NASCAR as a sport. But before you get too upset with me, let me list the reasons why I feel this way.

Continue reading

The SuperSpeedway Power Rankings – July

The SuperSpeedway Power Rankings are moving to a monthly format. Here’s July’s rankings for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

1 Martin Truex Jr. (LM 1)

It’s going to take a lot to move Martin off the top spot. He’s bad fast week in and week out and now leads the regular season standings. He’s almost a lock to make the final in Miami.

2 Kyle Larson (LM 2)

The penalties have hurt. But the 42 team is still just a dangerous as ever. It’s going to be a two-horse race the rest of the way. 

3 Jimmie Johnson (LM 3)

Jimmie has not been overly impressive other than his wins. Those wins lock him into the third spot by default. This next month will tell us all we need to know about how legit the 48 team is. 

4 Kyle Busch (LM 4)

Just. Win. Kyle. It’s time to get it done. The 18 team is far too good to be win less. 

5 Kevin Harvick (LM 5)

Happy got his win at Sonoma! That was a huge boost for the 4 team and SHR. They are still not where they need to be but they are on the edge. 

6 Denny Hamlin (LM 10)

New Hampshire was a big deal. JGR need Denny’s win in a bad way. Are the floodgates officially opened?

7 Chase Elliott (LM 6)

MIS is coming. MIS is coming.

8 Jamie McMurray (LM 7)

I think this guy is going to be right there competing for the win in Indy. Good not great.  

9 Ryan Blaney (LW 9)

My pick to win Indy! Silly Season note: I really wish he would stay in the 21 car. 

10 Brad Keselowski (LM8)

I don’t even know what to say about Brad anymore. Check back next month to see if he’s still on the list. He’s hanging on by a thread.

Also considered
Kurt Busch, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Alex Bowman

The SuperSpeedway Power Rankings – Toyota/Save Mart 350

1 Martin Truex Jr. (LW 1)

I said last week he would be fast… Not much of a leap. He won the first two stages at MIS but once again, did not seal the deal. He has a win at Sonoma in 2013.

2 Kyle Larson (LW 3)

It’s so cool to see this guy get better every week. He’s on a roll if you include his sprint car wins! I was so close to making him number one but Truex is still the top dog. 

3 Jimmie Johnson (LW 2)

His one road course win came at Sonoma in 2011. He’s coming off a top 10 at MIS and a wicked argument with Chad. 

4 Kyle Busch (LW 5)

His 2015 win in Sonoma catapulted him to a championship run. He could really use that type of bump again this season. 

5 Kevin Harvick (LW 4)

Kyle finally got past Harv in the rankings! I still feel like both of them can win any week now. Well maybe not this week for Happy. Although, he has been better at Sonoma since joining SHR. 

6 Chase Elliott (LW 7)

Mark it down! He wins MIS in August. 

7 Jamie McMurray (LW 8)

He’s running great! But you have to wonder when Larson’s success bleeds over and the 1 car wins a race. 

8 Brad Keselowski (LW 6)

Since I started these rankings, no one has fallen further. It’s time to be concerned.

9 Ryan Blaney (LW 9)

Follows up a win with a wreck. Still one heck of a year he’s got going.

10 Denny Hamlin (LW 10)

He had a shot at it on Sunday and got the job done Saturday. Even if the win was encumbered his battle with William Byron got me off the couch.

Also considered

Kurt Busch, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Erik Jones, Ernie Irvan

The SuperSpeedway Power Rankings – FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan

Note: My apologies for not posting a Power Rankings before Pocono! As a working, new dad, sometimes things get in the way of my hobbies. For the record, after Dover, Jimmie Johnson would have been number one as promised. However! We’re headed to my home track this week, leaving Pocono in the rear-view. Here are your updated Power Rankings.

1 Martin Truex Jr. (LW 1)

Two solid weeks back-to-back. Martin holds down the first spot again. I have a feeling he’s going to be fast at MIS… Just a hunch.

2 Jimmie Johnson (LW 5)

I don’t care that Jimmie crashed at Pocono. I’m glad he’s OK! His win in Dover was so reminiscent of Homested in 2016 that it’s giving me nightmares. 

3 Kyle Larson (LW 3)

Am I starting to expect too much out of Larson? Yes. Do I expect him to win Michigan? Yes. Do I expect him to win every week? Well, yeah!

4 Kevin Harvick (LW 4)

Kyle Busch has been better. But Harv is stringing together results! Getting closer. 

5 Kyle Busch (LW 6)

Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Side note. Can you imagine if someone blocked him like he blocked Blaney? Tears would be shed. 

6 Brad Keselowski (LW 2)

Great interview by Brad and Blaney after Pocono. Again, I rather see the results and less TV.

7 Chase Elliott (LW 8)

Signs of life the last two weeks. His daddy was really good at MIS. Just FYI.

8 Jamie McMurray (LW 7)

Ouch.

9 Ryan Blaney (LW NR)

I’m so happy for this kid. He’s got a bright future. What a win!

10 Denny Hamlin (LW 10)

Blaney winning means that Denny might have this spot locked down for a little bit.

Also considered

Kurt Busch, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Roger Curtis