After 26 races, the field is now set and the next 12 events promise to be exciting with this year’s field more bunched together than in the past.
It’s always important for drivers to get out of the gate quickly, but at the same time they also have to think points since they really only get one bad finish during the chase. The thinking has always been that you get one mulligan during the chase, so drivers are less inclined to take any big chances early on. So don't look for much excitement from the top drivers in the standings in the first few races.
Jimmie Johnson 7/1
Jimmie Johnson won the last three titles because he stayed consistent throughout a 10-race stretch and Loudon is the type of track that Johnson has always done well at. Since switching to the COT car, Johnson has been very consistent and has never finished outside of the top 10, although he surprisingly has yet to win in the COT car at Loudon. We think this will be the year that Johnson starts off the chase with a win.
Denny Hamlin 6/1
Denny Hamlin has really turned it on down the stretch and with last week’s win, it could be the start that he and his team needs to see him capture his first championship. Hamlin has always been a master on flat tracks like Loudon and is one of only four drivers in the chase to win here. Look for Hamlin to keep his hot streak alive and contend for the win again this week.
Kurt Busch 12/1
Kurt Busch has always done well on most short tracks and Loudon is no exception. Busch won last year in the COT car at this track and has fared well the last three races with no finish worse than sixth. He has struggled lately, but we think you should see the real Kurt Busch this week.
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