Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Ambrose Angle - 2010

Well, after my brilliant predictions last year where I said Marcos would be lucky to finish in the top 25 by the end of the season, I'm not sure exactly how accurate this will be either.

Oh well.

They say that drivers are only as good as their last that means either 35th (Homestead) or a DNF (Dubai 24 hours) for the Aussie, but that doesn't really tell the whole story. Ignoring Dubai since that has no impact on NASCAR, Ambrose qualified third at Miami and made short work of the eventual champion by passing Jimmie around lap ten. That's when, first a punctured Goodyear, and then mechanical gremlins struck the #47 Camry forcing Marcos to pootle around some 15 laps off the pace despite having one of the fastest cars in the field. But it doesn't end there either as a couple weeks before that at Texas, he was looking good for a top five but asked too much of his fuel and wound up 11th.

Marcos himself has said his goals are to win races and make the Chase in 2010, something he admits in the next sentence is a tall order. Yet his performances on tracks no one really thought he'd do a whole lot on (you don't get much more diverse than Bristol, Talladega and Pocono for the ovals) says that he could have a pretty good shot at it. Having Truex join MWR will boost JTG Daugherty as well since, despite being an exceptionally good marketing man, Michael Waltrip didn't really push Marcos to produce his best on those weekends that Reutimann struggled.

Marcos will be hoping to repeat his late-2009 pace to get off on the right foot in 2010.

But enough about his teammates, exactly what do I think will Marcos Ambrose do in 2010?

Well, it would be quite easy for me to say that he'll win since he has more seat time now and those road courses are coming up in the middle of the year...but I reckon he might win before then.

Yes, that's right. I believe that Ambrose will do what Montoya has yet to do; win on an oval (possibly as early as the Las Vegas race). I'm not quite as confident as he is to predict he'll make the Chase, however if MWR and JTG Daugherty have their reliability issues sorted (and Denny Hamlin doesn't decide to play steamroller again), he would have a good shot at it.

All in all, if he can improve upon 2009 and finish in the top 15, I'll be a very happy man.

Monday, January 18, 2010

TNQC & TNRC - Chase results

I'm sure everyone has been waiting for this with baited breath...the Chase results of both the TNQC and TNRC. I will put up the rest of the points later (someone switched the sugar for salt at work today. Never try coffee with salt, you won't like it, bleah).

Tez's NASCAR Qualifying Championship - final Chase standings:

1 - Jimmie Johnson, 127 points (4 poles)
2 - Mark Martin, 124 points (7 poles)
3 - Jeff Gordon, 96 points (1 pole)
4 - Martin Truex Jr, 86 points (3 poles)
5 - Kasey Kahne, 84 points
6 - Juan Montoya, 81 points (2 poles)
7 - Ryan Newman, 77 points (2 poles)
8 - Greg Biffle, 76 points
9 - Kurt Busch, 72 points
10 - David Reutimann, 61 points (2 poles)
11 - Kyle Busch, 58 points (1 pole)
12 - Brian Vickers, 55 points (6 poles)

So, after tieing for the most poles coming into the Chase, Vickers bombed out big time while Johnson continued on his merry way in being undefeated in the QC since I started it in 2007. Special mention must go to Truex who, after a big finish, managed to snag the best non-HMS spot as well as Martin who would have pipped Johnson had he managed to outqualify him at Homestead but it just wasn't to be.

Tez's NASCAR Race Championship - final Chase standings:

1 - Jimmie Johnson, 135 points (7 wins)
2 - Mark Martin, 102 points (5 wins)
3 - Jeff Gordon, 92 points (1 win)
4 - Denny Hamlin, 86 points (4 wins)
5 - Kurt Busch, 86 points (2 wins)
6 - Tony Stewart, 77.5 points (4 wins)
7 - Matt Kenseth, 74 points (2 wins)
8 - Juan Montoya, 72 points
9 - Kasey Kahne, 69.5 points (2 wins)
10 - Greg Biffle, 64 points
11 - Carl Edwards, 44 points
12 - Brian Vickers, 41.5 points (1 win)

Well, Johnson and Vickers bookend these standings as well while the defending champ, Edwards, will be quite disappointed he didn't finish higher. Kenseth made the most of his bumping of Newman from the real Chase by nabbing seventh due to Montoya's dismal race at Homestead while Hamlin got the nod over Busch for fourth due to winning more races.

Congratulations to Jimmie Johnson, Chad Knaus and the entire #48 crew as they swept both titles for the second time in three years.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year...less than a month until the season kicks off again! :)