Uncle Max: Dover/Las Vegas Weekend Picks

Weekly picks from Spade Racing’s writer/webmaster/janitor Mike Mackler’s uncle.

Editor’s note—I tried to contact Uncle Max multiple times throughout the week.  Eventually, I got this response a few hours ago:

Sorry I’ve been so busy lately, but work has been crazy getting everything set up for the holidays!  I’ve barely had time to use the bathroom, much less catch up on Nascar.  But I’m still here to make my picks!

Anyways, here’s my picks for the upcoming race weekend at Dover and Las Vegas (total wins in parenthesis):

Truck Series Rhino Linings 350(k) (5 wins)—Christopher Bell—keep their heads ringing with another big win.

Xfinity Series Drive Sober 200 (6 wins)—Daniel Suarez—because there’s no Cup drivers this weekend, except for those there are.

Cup Series Apache Warrior 400:  FAVORITE (5 wins)—Jimmie Johnson—because its just too hard NOT to pick him.  NEXT FAVORITE (2 wins)—Chase Elliott—no tape necessary.  DARK HORSE*—Daniel Suarez—continuing the longtime alliance between Mexico and Delaware.

*—NOTE—during the Cup Playoffs, a Dark Horse must be a driver who is out of championship contention.

Sprints vs. Nascar: An In-Person Comparison

Lincoln Speedway from the backstretch (CLICK TO ENLARGE ANY PICTURES)
This past Saturday Night I got to cross another item off my racing-related “bucket list” by attending my first-ever sprint car race (of the wing-ed variety, 410’s) in Abbottstown, Pennsylvania.  I’ve been lucky enough to attend quite a few Nascar events across multiple national touring series at a few different tracks (although about 75% of them have been at Dover).  Here’s how sprint car racing differs from Nascar racing from an in-person fan’s perspective:

A typical sprint car, in this case the one
driven by Dave Blaney
Dale Blaney (brother of Dave)
Sprint Car Racing is Smaller—In A Good Way.  Bill France Jr. once told writer Ed Hinton that, when it came to Nascar’s impact on fans, “We need to make sure they can still touch it”.  Unless you have a connection for pit passes or attendance continues to drop to even lower levels, Nascar has approached near-untouchable levels for the past few decades.  The average fan can’t get up close and personal with a race car, and even if you can, be prepared to be treated like a leper by security detail.  Sprint cars, on the other hand, are a very personal experience.  Before the race you can get access to the pit paddock for a reasonable price, and drivers are relatively approachable and amiable.

Sprint Cars are Smaller—In a Weird Way.  Stock cars are big.  Really big.  Wide, long, and boxy.  Sprint cars, however, are tiny.  Remove the wing, and they’re about the size of a Smart car.  A team owner told me that there’s absolutely nothing in the car besides what is absolutely necessary to race—there isn’t even a starter!  If you’ve grown up a Nascar fan, be prepared for a visual shock when you see sprints up close.

Steve Post interviews a
driver for MRN Radio
Borrowing a wing?  Better break out
the duct tape.
Sprint Car Teams are Smaller—In an Old-School Way.  With the exception of the national touring drivers (the Blaneys, Ron Brown, etc.) most of the drivers there were high-level regional racers.  These teams were mostly made up of weekend warrior crews working on cars purely for the love of it.  Now granted, a big reason for the lack of paid crew members is the lack of a need for pit stops, but still, its great to see a throwback to when the “pit crew” was more than just a bunch of ex-collegiate athletes.

Sprint Cars are Tough to Figure Out.  There’s little traditional tv coverage of sprint car racing (at least on networks most people can get) and, by my own research, no good way to explain to the novice fan what the differences are between the various classes, types, and race formats of sprint car racing.  The particular race I was at used a unique all-star format in which qualifying went by how many cars you passed in a dual heat-race format.  Granted, in today’s digital-everything world, this could simply be a function of the track not having a dot-matrix or LED scoreboard with which to compare things.
It's Ka(h)ne!!!

Sprint Cars are Visceral.  I’ve said for years that if you want to convert a casual Nascar fan to a hardcore Nascar fan, simply take them to a race (…and hope that it doesn’t rain).  Well, that goes doubly for sprint car races.  The sounds, the smells, the dirt in the air are somehow even more-impactful than a Nascar race is.  Maybe it comes from everybody being closer to the action (most sprint car tracks are under a mile long and only seat a few thousand), but everything seemed to register with me and the other fans so much more.  Oh, and speaking of which, a warning:

Sprint Cars are Dirty.  Be prepared to come home with some of the track if you go to a sprint car race.  There’s dirt, dust, and mud everywhere.  You’ll have dirt on your clothes, in your shoes, on your skin, even in your teeth, and you don’t have to even touch the track to get it.  But its a small price to pay just to experience such an exciting world of racing.

Rick Allen Joins Pre-Race Coverage

Rutledge Wood: “…and they say they’ve been coming to this track since the late-80’s, so it was convenient when they started having Cup races here—“
This is not the Rick Allen I was looking for

Rick Allen: “Sorry to cut you off Rut, but we have just seen something big on the split-screen here—Austin Dillon APPEARS to have bumped into Kevin Harvick in the backstage area where the drivers wait for pre-race introductions.  Of course, the weather so hot this weekend at the track, one has to wonder if Austin simply lost his footing on the hot pavement, or is this some form of payback from what happened last year at Texas.  That incident, meanwhile, payback of sorts for what Harvick did to Austin’s brother Ty in the Truck Series race, which brought us the infamous ‘Silver Spoon’ comment that the Dillon brothers have yet to live down.  Let’s bring in the drivers here, Dale, Kyle, both of you races for years, did either of you have something like this happen to you?”

Dale Jarrett: “Uh, I mean, its pretty crowded back there in the staging area, I think it was just an accident.”

Kyle Petty: “Yeah, I don’t think Kevin even really noticed it, Rick.”

Rick Allen: “Yes, there was alleged contact there between Harvick and Dillon in the staging area, one would have to think that any injuries or distractions such as these could lead to major playoff implications for both the 4 team and the 3—the 4 working so hard this year to fight through the controversy of Danica Patrick leaving the team after this year, while the 3, of course, like so many of us dealing with the looming specter of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s coming retirement.  Speaking of which, Jeffrey Earnhardt’s about to be introduced, we go Nascar Nonstop so you don’t miss a thing.”

Uncle Max: New Hampshire/Kentucky Weekend Picks

Weekly picks from Spade Racing’s writer/webmaster/janitor Mike Mackler’s uncle.

Well, this has been quite the busy week here at work!  I can barely get a minute in edgewise to keep up with what’s going on in football, much less Nascar, with everything we’re doing here—that’s right, I’m typing this on my phone!
Like I said before, things get crazy-busy getting ready for the Christmas rush every year, and it seems like it starts earlier every year.  Thankfully we’re not the “model location” anymore—back when we were, we’d have to be the first store in the region to get the holiday stuff up every year—try explaining to customers why Christmas decorations are up in AUGUST!!!

Anyways, here’s my picks for the upcoming race weekend at New Hampshire at Kentucky (total wins in parenthesis):

Truck Series UNOH 175 (4 wins)—Christopher Bell—another big win for the young-un.

Xfinity Series VisitMyrtleBeach 300 (6 wins)—Elliott Sadler—two straight Xfinity regular winners?  What a concept!

Cup Series ISM Connect 300:  FAVORITE (5 wins)—Denny Hamlin—unencumbered, even.  NEXT FAVORITE (2 wins)—Matt Kenseth—the old man shows he’s still got something in the tank (…just not sponsorship).  DARK HORSE*—Erik Jones—feels about the right time for his first win.

*—NOTE—during the Cup Playoffs, a Dark Horse must be a driver who is out of championship contention.

My K&N Pro Series East Race Adventures

This past Saturday I got to cross something big off my bucket list—I covered the Nascar K&N Pro Series East race at New Jersey Motorsports Park as a credentialed media member.  Here’s what it was like! (CLICK TO ENLARGE ALL PICTURES)
The start-finish line for New Jersey Motorsports Park, located in Millville, NJ
A nice tribute to a legend
Mobile victory lane, located on a trailer bed

Starting lineup for the BMW club support race

Close-up of some Beamers

Track map in the media center
Driver Chase Purdy is readied for an interview
Hanna Zellers, making her Nascar debut

Harrison Burton's crew works on his car.  Starting this year, Nascar
has allowed K&N Pro Series teams to sport "Euro-style" schemes,
putting the car number on the quarter panels

Harrison Burton, one of 16 drivers
running that day

Race win decals on the 12 car--also note the "Nascar NEXT" mark

The inspection room
Further inspection while waiting to hit the track for qualifying
The winners' trophy
Drivers Meeting
Coming to the green for the restart
Driving through a dust-cloud

Richmond Ambulance Driver Joins Nascar on NBC Broadcast Team

In a controversial move that has sent shockwaves throughout the Nascar media world, NBC has announced that the ambulance driver who parked at “pit-in” for last Saturday’s Cup race will be joining their broadcast team next weekend.
“At NBC, we’re all about reaching out to the fans and giving them what they want.  And what better way to gauge what fans want then by social media activity?”, said an NBC Sports spokesman in a press release.  “More Nascar fans than ever—and even some non-fans—were talking about what happened on Saturday night, and we at NBC want to bring that excitement to the rest of the Nascar Cup Playoffs.”
Always in the thick of the action!
The driver, identified as Richmond resident and trained EMT Tony Michaels, is believed to have no media experience besides occasionally calling in to a local sports radio station.
“At NBC, we believe that we can turn anybody into an on-camera expert”, the spokesman said.  “We’ve taken Ato Bolden, a man with no motorsports experience at all, and made him ‘the voice of the novice fan’.  And in Rutledge Wood, a man who we believe had never spoken to another human being before moving into broadcasting, we have made him into ‘the voice of the slightly inebriated moron’, so we have experience doing this.”
Nascar executives were said to have been livid with the news, although quickly piping down when realizing that by angering their television overlords, they might incur their wrath.  Drivers, however, were not nearly as restrained.
“So they want to hire the guy who almost ruined my season…more-so?”, driver Matt Kenseth said online in a multi-tweet thread.  “I guess I won’t be looking towards NBC to work next year—not that I’d need to, since I’m sure those job offers will start rolling in any second now.”
It remains to be seen how Michaels, the EMT, will be integrated into the broadcasts, although some have suggested that he could drive his ambulance onto the racing surface between stages in order to report on track conditions.

Uncle Max: Chicago Weekend Picks

Weekly picks from Spade Racing’s writer/webmaster/janitor Mike Mackler’s uncle.

Ah, autumn!  Football, fresh crisp air, and free donuts on Monday mornings in the break room!  This is easily my favorite time in the year, and not just because of the overtime at work!
You see, not a lot of people know this, but most retail places like where I work start gearing up for the holiday shopping season VERY early—as early as August!  They need extra people to work later in September to get everything set up on time and correctly, and that’s where I come in.  Used to be that as an Assistant Manager I couldn’t get overtime, but thanks to an old boss who tried to make a guy work 17 days straight, we’re now given nice little bonuses for our extra work.  Of course, no bonus is quite as nice as getting on the big bosses’ “good list”!

Anyways, here’s my picks for the upcoming race weekend at Richmond (total wins in parenthesis):

Truck Series Chicago 225 (4 wins)—John Hunter Nemechek—feeling like one of those races where the top two cars wipe each other out before the finish.

Xfinity Series Chicagoland 300 (6 wins)—Bubba Wallace Jr.—beyond drama, beyond joblessness, beyond comprehension that this guy doesn’t have a full-time ride.

Cup Series Tales of the Turtles 400:  FAVORITE (4 wins)—Martin Truex Jr.—comeback Sunday for Mr. No-Luck.  NEXT FAVORITE (2 wins)—Brad Keselowski—“we did this for Joey”.  DARK HORSE*—Clint Bowyer—with the pressure off, he’s got the itch to win again.

*—NOTE—during the Cup Playoffs, a Dark Horse must be a driver who is out of championship contention.

The Spade Racing 2017 Nascar Playoffs Preview—How Nascar Will Screw Up Every Race

15 Happy Men...and Martin Truex Jr.

If this past Saturday night’s race at Richmond is any indication, Nascar knows how to do two things—create heart-pounding side-by-side on-track action, and then negate that action via idiotic miscues and calls.  With Nascar entering its first year of yet-another new post-season format, here’s how every race will play out—and how Nascar will screw each one of them up.

Chicago—Inspection Detection—Brad Keselowski’s car fails pre-race inspection numerous times and seems to be in danger of failing to make it to the starting grid on-time.  However, with the help of a longer-than-expected national anthem performance by Donatello, the blue deuce makes it there on-time and finishes runner-up to Martin Truex Jr.  Everyone fully expects the 2 to fail post-race inspection, only for it to pass with flying colors.  In-Week Debate: you need to push the “gray area” before the race to pass inspection after the race.
"But why can't they use rain tires on
ovals?"  "Because SCIENCE."
New Hampshire—Stopping Short—Kevin Harvick is involved in an early-race accordion-style wreck with Chase Elliott and AJ Allmendinger, but comes away with a drivable car that’s simply three inches shorter due to rear-end damage and a pushed-in splitter.  After winning the race several unnamed drivers (*cough* JGR guys *cough*) complain through the media that the 4 had an unfair advantage as his damaged car was easier to fit into the pit boxes.  In-Week Debate: what’s the best way to damage your car?
Dover—Rain Pains—Jimmie Johnson qualifies on the pole and dominates the early part of the race, which turns out to be the ONLY part of the race, as a sudden thunderstorm comes around lap 180.  After persistent drizzle pushed back the start of the race to around 4pm ET, daylight is fading fast.  Nascar controversially keeps the race going under yellow in order to make it to the mid-way point—only to then realize that the race NOW must go to lap 240, the final lap of stage 2.  The remaining 40 required laps are run the following morning in front of a crowd in the dozens before a light sprinkle convinces Nascar to end the race with Johnson in the lead.  In-Week Debate: removing tracks without lights from the Playoffs.
ELIMINATED DRIVERS: Chase Elliott, Jamie McMurray, Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman

Charlotte—Passing the Pace Car—A rather dull affair threatens to turn exciting once a late race tire issue by a backmarker brings out a yellow with eight laps remaining, wiping out Kyle Busch’s five-second lead.  However, there’s more embarrassment for Nascar as the pace car stalls-out shortly after picking up the field, causing it to be rear-ended by Kyle Busch.  Other cars go around the two damaged cars, leaving Nascar scoring (and the broadcasters and fans) confused as to what to do.  Eventually it is decided to restart the race from the point of the wreck under yellow, allowing Busch to win the race with his damaged car as overtime is waived.  In-Week Debate: they’re really just making this stuff up as they go, aren’t they?
Sometimes you DON'T want to follow
in Jeff Gordon's footsteps.
Talladega—Can-Can—The race is heavily-hyped as Dale Jr’s final race at Talladega, and after he qualifies on the outside pole, it looks like Nascar could get the storybook finish they crave.  However, after running near the front of the field for most of the day, Earnhardt Jr. is passed on the final lap (cleanly) by Kurt Busch, who goes on to win the race in a photo-finish over Kyle Larson (with Earnhardt Jr. finishing fourth).  On the cool-down lap, Busch’s car is pelted repeatedly by beer cans—some of them full—causing some to wonder if the car will be able to pass post-race inspection.  In-Week Debate: the connection between Dale Jr. and a place he’s never lived in.
Kansas—The Ham Scam—Denny Hamlin, essentially needing a win to advance, does so, posting an emotional victory over a hard-charging Kyle Larson.  The next day, rumors begin to spread that Hamlin’s car failed post-race inspection—again—and that by virtue of his win becoming “encumbered”, he will be removed from the upcoming round.  On Tuesday Nascar calls a press conference (conveniently in the middle of the afternoon when nobody can watch it) and officially disqualifies Hamlin from the following round, issuing a slew of penalties and suspensions—but still lets him keep the win.  In-Week Debate: Joe Gibbs suddenly doesn’t want to do interviews.
ELIMINATED DRIVERS: Denny Hamlin, Austin Dillon, Matt Kenseth, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

"Yeah, we won, but was it a GOOD win?"  "Chase--lighten up."
Martinsville—Dueling Storylines—Martin Truex Jr. and Brad Keselowski trade the lead for most of the race, and after a late wreck by Reed Sorenson, the two restart for the win in overtime.  However, Truex Jr.-- after being passed by Keselowski on the restart-- attempts to “push” the 2 out of the way on the white flag lap, instead wiping out both cars.  This allows Chase Elliott to scoot on by as the yellow flies, giving him his first Cup win.  NBC goes to a split-screen as they show Elliott’s victory lane interview, in which he laments that he is no longer in the playoffs and didn’t ‘want to win this way’, while Truex Jr. and Keselowski have a heated discussion on pit road that nearly turns into a brawl.  In-Week Debate: this is what Nascar is all about!
Texas—Blue Monday—This race is constantly pushed-back throughout the day on Sunday as overcast skies and occasional sprinkles make it nearly impossible to dry the track.  Eventually running out of drivers to interview, track owner Bruton Smith is quoted on-camera blaming Nascar for bringing rain with them.  The race is eventually held on Monday afternoon in front of a nearly-empty house, who wind up seeing Kyle Larson win in dominant fashion.  In-Week Debate—when’s the right time to “call” a race until tomorrow?
Phoenix—Brother Beware—With Larson (via his win) and Johnson (on points) the only two drivers “safe” for the next round, tensions run high in the Cup garage.  Kevin Harvick wins the pole, but is taken out early by a mechanical issue.  Brad Keselowski falls back on pit strategy, then sees a loose wheel essentially doom his chances.  Ryan Blaney, the longest shot, is never a factor.  As the laps tick down Kyle Busch is leading his brother Kurt (in 2nd) and Martin Truex Jr. (in 3rd), with only two of the three about to advance.  Truex Jr. manages to get by Kurt for 2nd with seven laps to go, only for Kurt to successfully nudge Truex Jr. out of the way.  Kurt catches his brother, but doesn’t use the “chrome horn”, settling for second and advancing to the Championship Round.  Truex Jr. complains in the race about how horrible his luck is, a hard pill for fans to swallow considering that he’s payed millions to dollars to do something most people would gladly do for free.  In-Week Debate: Is The New Kurt Busch The Old Kyle Busch, and is The New Martin Truex Jr. The Old Kurt Busch?
ELIMINATED DRIVERS: Martin Truex Jr., Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Ryan Blaney.
"Jimmie, what a historic race--what's
it like to win the final race of Dale Jr.'s

Homestead—Checkers, Then Wreckers—The storylines are set for the finale—Jimmie Johnson, going for a historic eighth championship; Kyle Larson, trying to firmly establish himself as a superstar; Kyle Busch, wanting to prove that his last championship wasn’t just a fluke, and Kurt Busch, hoping to show that he his worthy of his recently-announced contract extension with Stewart-Haas Racing.  Jimmie Johnson shows why he’s won seven of these before, dominating the race nearly from start to finish.  Upon taking the checkered-flag, Johnson delights the fans with “the burnout to end all burnouts”, as his crew chief Chad Knaus told him to do.  When interviewed about losing the race—and championship—Kyle Busch slyly implies that Johnson needed to do the burnout in order to destroy the car, making it “uninspectable”.  Johnson claims this wasn’t the case, but that he simply wanted to give the fans one last great burnout, since 2018’s new engine rules will make them few and far between.  Then, Johnson shocks the world by announcing that Chad Knaus has officially retired from competition.  Off-Season Debate—Is Jimmie the greatest ever?

2017 NASCAR CHAMPION: Jimmie Johnson

Uncle Max: Richmond Weekend Picks

Weekly picks from Spade Racing’s writer/webmaster/janitor Mike Mackler’s uncle.

Nascar’s regular season is almost over, but the NFL regular season is ready to begin!  Here’s my free to the people NFL season picks for 2017 (*—first round byes):

NFC East—Cowboys
NFC North—Packers*
NFC South—Buccaneers
NFC West—Seahawks*
NFC Wild Cards—Bears and Cardinals

AFC East—Patriots*
AFC North—Steelers
AFC South—Titans
AFC West—Chiefs*
AFC Wild Cards—Colts and Chargers

NFC Championship Game—Packers over Seahawks
AFC Championship Game—Patriots over Chiefs

Super Bowl—Patriots 35 Packers 31

Anyways, here’s my picks for the upcoming race weekend at Richmond (total wins in parenthesis):

Xfinity Series Virginia 529 College Savings 250 (6 wins)—William Byron—Trying to show he can live up to the lofty standards of the 24 Cup car set for him by Chase Elliott.

Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400:  FAVORITE (4 wins)—Joey Logano—un-en-cum-bered (CLAP CLAP CLAPCLAPCLAP!)  NEXT FAVORITE (2 wins)—Martin Truex Jr.—no flat tires THIS week.  DARK HORSE—Matt Kenseth—pulls a Jeremy Mayfield by winning on math.  That’s “MATH”, with an A.

Cody Ware: Intrepid Reporter

On Sunday night driver Cody Ware fired back at Matt DiBenedetto by saying “At least I don’t cheat on my wife”.  This comes on the heels of Ware’s suggestion three years ago that Denny Hamlin was forced to miss a race due to issues with cocaine (as opposed to the actual issue of a metal filing in his eyeball).  Obviously Cody Ware is the REAL source for Nascar news these days, scooping the likes of Jayski, Jeff Gluck, and even Adam “Dave Moody Hates Me” Stern.  Here’s some other bombshells from “The Ware House” due to drop any day now:
Courtesy reddit

—Matt Kenseth isn’t a robot, but rather a futuristic cyborg sent back in time to gather information for his reptilian overlords.

—“The Sonic Guys” control the money supply for most of the nation.

—Danica Patrick will retire from Nascar after the 2017 season to prepare her candidacy for President of Mongolia.

—Most small race teams regularly short-pay their drivers and withhold sponsorship monies as a form of extortion—except for Rick Ware Racing, which is a total paragon of virtue.

—Yes, Daniel Suarez handed out donuts to fans, but he got dropped by Subway for licking them first.

—Rick Allen snorts a line of marbles before every telecast.

—Don’t spend more than thirty seconds around Timmy Hill unless you want to hear about “all those lucky ladies (he’s) ‘plowed’ in Chuck County Maryland”.

—Nascar IS, in fact, rigged, so that a low-budget team with an untalented driver cannot finish high in the standings.

Kyle Busch on Lack of Throwback Paint Scheme—“Leave me alone”

Darlington’s Southern 500 weekend has added fun and nostalgia to the usual history and heat lately with the addition of Nascar’s first-ever “Throwback Weekend” which sees most-every race team sport a “throwback” paint scheme, honoring a historic driver, car, or sponsor.  Nascar star Kyle Busch, one of the only ones not to participate this year, explained his omission by replying “Leave me alone.”
“Look—I just didn’t want to do it, ok?”  Busch said petulantly while walking through the infield area, surrounded by fans swapping stories of races past prompted by the historic colors around them.  “Nobody cares about the past, so why should I do it?  Who cares, you jerk?”
This year featured such tributes as Jeffrey Earnhardt honoring his grandfather’s Lowes Foods scheme, two different tributes to cars campaigned by Kyle Petty, and a combination Days of Thunder and Pray for Texas look for low budget team Rick Ware Racing.  Busch, however, chose not to participate—or wasn’t asked in the first place.
“What, do you think they didn’t ask me what I wanted to do”, Busch asked in an irritated tone.  “Do you think my team’s marketing people just avoid talking to me all the time?  BECAUSE THAT’S NOT THE CASE.”
Kyle Busch is one of just five teams not participating this year—teammate Daniel Suarez is sitting out due to the lack of historic connections to his car number and sponsor, Carl Long cancelled a planned tribute to Darrell Waltrip’s Route 66 scheme due to lack of funding, BK Racing’s 83 car will instead honor old-time racing by having the driver race for free, and Kyle’s brother Kurt will run his usual look, issuing a statement that “looking back to the past, for me, brings back too many bad memories of looking over my shoulder to see if they were closing in on me.”
Representative for Joe Gibbs Racing indicated that they felt the 18 ran a throwback scheme on a regular basis, since 1992 was the last time anyone saw something as big as a car decked-out in Zubaz.

Uncle Max: Bristol/Canada Throwback Weekend Picks

Weekly picks from Spade Racing’s writer/webmaster/janitor Mike Mackler’s uncle.

In honor of Nascar’s throwback weekend, here’s my senior yearbook listing:
Maxwell Adolphus Conklin
“Max”, “Mr. Thursday Night”
Achievements: Most Improved Sophomore Mathematics Student, Most Candy Sold for Student Council (Junior Year).
Extra-Cirriculars: Football (manager) 2,3,4; Girls Basketball (co-manager) 3,4; Future Business Assistant Leaders of America 3, (co-leader) 4; Student Council alternate representative 3; Junior Handicappers Club (president) 2,3*  (*—group suspended mid-year for legal reasons)
Quote: “Sports is all I really care about—cars can wait!”

Anyways, here’s my picks for the upcoming race weekend at Darlington and Canada (total wins in parenthesis):

Truck Series Chevrolet Silverado 250 (3 Wins)—Austin Cindric—the farewell tour for BKR kicks off with a win for Eh C.

Xfinity Series VFW Sport Clips 200 (6 wins)—Elliott Sadler—two in a row for the driver with the worst throwback attempt all weekend.

Cup Series Bojangles Southern 500:  FAVORITE (4 wins)—Kyle Busch—Rowdy continues to pour it on a liiiiiiiiittle too soon?  NEXT FAVORITE (2 wins)—Jimmie Johnson—or will ol’ seven time start to pour it on at just the right time?  DARK HORSE—Erik Jones—scrapbook achievement for the guy in the scrapbook paint schemed car.