I was hot and cold with my Charlotte picks last week:
- Jimmie Johnson: My #1 pick was indeed strong, but a brush with the wall led to full-blown crash later on that gave the 48 a terrible finish.
- Kasey Kahne: The 9 wasn’t nearly as fast as I thought he’d be. He was off during the sunny portion of the race, and seemed to improve only a little in the twilight and dark portions.
- Kurt Busch: Much like the All Star race, Busch’s car came alive as the track cooled, and he powered away for the win.
- Denny Hamlin: Hamlin seemed fairly strong, but his car suffered some damage in a collision with the 48 and he wasn’t much of a threat after that.
- Clint Bowyer: The 33 was very strong, running up front most of the race.
- Martin Truex Jr.: Like Kahne, I thought Truex would be faster than he was. He didn’t show much during any portion of the race.
The big surprise: Jamie McMurray. I did not foresee the 1 running so well. His car was faster than Busch’s on long runs, and he likely would’ve won if he’d had a few more laps to work with.