Gaming Today Las Vegas
Every race down the stretch has been meaningful making this one of the greatest seasons in NASCAR history. We have three drivers separated by 46 points, the equivalent of a driver winning a race and finishing eighth, with one race to go. The drama played out by the three drivers last week at Phoenix was gripping television that you don’t see too much out NASCAR. This week, the stakes are even greater.
Denny Hamlin has small 15 point lead over defending four time NASCAR Champion Jimmie Johnson and a 46 point lead over Kevin Harvick. Each of these drivers are capable of winning the race which adds more to the excitement. In each of the years Johnson won, he just coasted around Miami points racing with hopes of not wrecking and staying out of trouble. This week, all three will be going hard for the win.
The Las Vegas Hilton Super Book has updated their odds to win the title with Hamlin a 5/9 favorite, followed by Johnson at 8/5 and Harvick at 10/1. Beginning in 1975, since the current point system has been in place, only two drivers have won the title while coming into the final race trailing. Richard Petty did it in 1979 and Alan Kulwicki did it in 1992, probably the only year that could compare with this season’s Chase.
The only problem I see with Hamlin is the mounting pressure that his crew chief Mike Ford put on their team. Following their Texas win that elevated Hamlin to the lead in points, Ford made a lot of comments about Johnson’s team and how they psyched out his crew and how they basically threw their season away.
Are you kidding Mike Ford? Do you really believe the four-time champ, the coolest, calmest driver in NASCAR who has anti-freeze running through his veins is going to be psyched out? If anything, all Ford did was motivate the No. 48 team, giving them bulletin board material. That kind of stuff usually doesn’t work out so well in other sports and if Johnson wins Sunday, it’s going to be a facial served like never seen before in NASCAR.
What’s surprising is that the statements made came from a Joe Gibbs employee who was always adamant about keeping Redskins players mouth’s shut before big games.
Because Johnson has never had to race too hard at Miami, it adds to the whole drama of what will happen. In last years race, while Johnson finished fifth in cruise control, Harvick finished third.
While the three drivers will battling for position and going for the win, there will be several others who are equal to them and won’t budge an inch for them beginning with the Roush drivers. Carl Edwards got his first win in two years last week at Phoenix. His last win before Sunday came at Miami in 2008. In fact prior to Hamlin winning last year, a Roush driver had won the previous five Miami races and six of seven.
Jeff Gordon is mired in a 64 race winless streak and Miami is the only place he has never won at. Another driver who has been racing very well lately is Hamlin’s teammate, Joey Logano, who has five consecutive top-10 finishes and three straight top fives coming into this week.
The role of teammates will be seen in new regards similar to what we see in Formula one racing. Positions are everything this week. Enjoy the race!
Early Top Top 5 Finish Prediction:
1) #16 Greg Biffle (10/1)
2) #99 Carl Edwards (10/1)
3) #48 Jimmie Johnson (8/1)
4) #24 Jeff Gordon (12/1)
5) #17 Matt Kenseth (15/1)