Check out Dale Earnhardt Jr. who just won his third race of the season to tie for the most in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series with Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski.
His win at Pocono Sunday gave him a season sweep there – the only two wins of his career there – which was his first sweep since winning both Talladega races in 2002. It also gave him his series-leading 10th top-5 finish on the season.
Yes, this is definitely a new Dale Jr., probably better and more consistent than we have ever seen out of him, including his days driving the No. 8 Budweiser car for DEI.
After his win Sunday the LVH Super Book dropped his odds to win the Sprint Cup Chase from 8-1 down to 6-1 showing they believe a little bit in the crazy numbers Junior is spitting out.
Remember, last season, even though he didn’t win a Chase race, he would have won the Championship under the new format that will be employed this season, which is kind of a bracket where Homestead will be the championship game for the final four drivers.
Junior has never won on a road course before and this week he’ll try and tackle the course at Watkins Glen International where his best finish was third place in 2003, one of two top-5’s he has on the course.
Between the two road courses run on each season – Sonoma being the other – Junior‘s best chance at winning on one is at The Glen just because it’s less technical and runs much faster. He’ll be at 40-to-1 odds this week, but I’m not ready to jump on board the Junior train yet. I’ll stick with the meat and potatoes.
You have to start with Marcos Ambrose who has his only two career Cup wins at Watkins Glen and has an average finish of 6.8 in six starts. He’s finished third or better in five of those starts.
Then you have Brad Keselowski who has finished second the past three seasons, twice behind Ambrose and then also last year to Kyle Busch.
Busch is a two-time winner at The Glen, Tony Stewat is a five-time winner and Jeff Gordon is a four-time winner. Stewart last won in 2009 and Gordon last won in 2001, which surprisingly is his last top-5 on the course. That’s right, Gordon, one of the best road course racers in NASCAR history has gone 12 straight races at Watkins Glen without a top-5 finish.
Carl Edwards won at Sonoma in June and should be considered a live candidate to win this week because of his 8.8 career average finish at The Glen. He was fourth last season and should get another top-5 on Sunday.
Micah Roberts is a former Las Vegas race and sports book director, one of The Linemakers on SportingNews.com , and longtime motorsports columnist and sports analyst at GamingToday. Follow Micah on Twitter @MicahRoberts7 Contact Micah at [email protected].