“Cheater, cheater, you don’t have Peter.”
So go around the garage this weekend, as the biggest story of Nextel Cup week had very little to do with the first Chase race at Loudon last weekend, and much more to do with the Accusations that Richard Childress Racing, and specifically Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton, are performing so well because they are cheating.
Supposedly, there is a possibility that both Harvick’s # 29 team and Burton’s # 31 team manipulated their tire pressure in New Hampshire, inflating their wheels with less air than NASCAR allows. To be even more specific: The SPEED Channel report claimed that RCR teams equipped their wheels with “bleed valves,” which has nothing to do with what happens when Kyle Busch shaves, but rather a change in the tires. Goodyear that would allow teams to give themselves “optimal pressure performance.” Cars run faster with less air in their tires, but they are also more prone to tire blowouts, so for safety reasons, NASCAR requires minimal tire pressures.
For their part, NASCAR officials say the charges against RCR are impossible. First of all, the wheels are randomly distributed before the race and are actually placed by Goodyear. Second, Nextel Cup officials conduct intensive inspections on the wheels that get on and off the cars during the race. And third, DeLana Harvick is hot and they have a hard time concentrating on standing upright when they are around her, so the investigation is immediate.
As the Smokeless Set heads to Dover, Monster Mile’s one-mile concrete track with extremely difficult turn outs, one imagines all of this from RCR will go two ways. Or # 29 and # 31 will be completely pissed off and post unbelievably good results on a track where Harvick finished third and Burton finished fourth just a couple of months ago. Otherwise, there will be distractions, because people remember that Harvick crew chief Todd Berrier was suspended for multiple races in 2005 due to illegal alterations he made to # 29. If that’s the case, I suppose it’s possible that All of these rumors were the work of a rival, say, a certain team, two of whose members had an extremely difficult time in New Hampshire, and are currently in ninth and tenth place in the Chase. How about you, Jimmie Johnson?
Last week: Harvick may be a cheater, but the money he’s making us is pretty real. Suh-weet. For two weeks in a row, we have won with Harvick in both straight and head-to-head bets (in which, I admit, he was the favorite) against Tony Stewart. At Loudon, Happy’s odds were actually a bit more favorable for our cause, so we got 1.51 positive units (on bets totaling 1.5 units). Not bad to double our money a bit, if I say so myself. That’s our sixth consecutive winning week and it puts us at 19.27 net positive units for the season. We have made money in 19 out of 26 weeks, which is not that bad.
Note: I’ll make a head-to-head selection on Saturday night or Sunday morning, depending on whether the online books publish their match-up list. Please check again.
Take Matt Kenseth (6-1), 1/6 unit. Kenseth is my prohibitive favorite this weekend. He won here in June, and if we win on Sunday he will become the fourth driver in the last seven years to sweep Dover. In other words, good setups tend to hold up between June and September Dover events. And when I look at Dover, I also like to consider Bristol and the remodeled Homestead, all of which are high-cant tracks that don’t stick to the cookie cutter format (in fact, Dover is typically referred to in Nextel Cup parlance as a “great Bristol board”). Considering Kenseth has a first and third at Bristol this year, a first at Dover and finished third at Homestead in the final race of 2005, and considering he started and qualified third after training in 28th, Kenseth is going to be very difficult. beat this weekend.
Take Jimmie Johnson (8-1), 1/6 unit. Instead of selecting Kevin Harvick (7-1) to win his third race in a row, I’m going with JJ, who won at Dover three different times, including this exact race last fall. Johnson was 10th at Bristol a few weeks ago and 6th here at Dover in June. He is also usually a very good Homestead driver (his 40th place last year was the result of mechanical problems; he posted a second and third in the previous two Homestead events). Most of all, the guy needs it. If he can’t come back at least one top-five finish, his quest for the Cup could be over before it really began, thanks to his terrible 39th place last weekend.
Let’s take Greg Biffle (12-1), 1/6 unit. There are arguments in favor of Kyle Busch (8-1), who finished second twice at Dover last year and fifth here in June, Jeff Gordon (10-1), who won pole Friday afternoon and has three victories. in his career at this track, Jeff Burton (13-1), who won pole here this summer and led many laps before finishing fourth, and Ryan Newman (28-1), who is incredible value on this table for a guy who won here. three times and fourth classified. But I’m going to give Biffle one last chance, who was the undisputed king of high-bank shorties last season, and who has posted top-10 finishes at both Bristol and Dover so far this year. He’s also the back-to-back defending champion at Homestead, by the way. I still think that the theory that non-Chase drivers will “go for it” at some of these events and sneak in victories while Chase participants try to play consistently is a good one, and it doesn’t hurt. Let Biffle be Kenseth’s teammate. , and hopefully you’ve learned some of the # 17 setup. One more time, Biff. One more time.