Kobalt Tools 500 Picks
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads west this Sunday for the Kobalt Tools 500 from Phoenix International Raceway.
Last week’s win gave Denny Hamlin a 33 point lead over Jimmie Johnson with Kevin Harvick just 59 points behind the leader. This is the closest that the points have ever been entering the last two races in the Championship. All three contenders run well here with Johnson being the best of the three, but with all the turmoil surrounding his team we will look elsewhere again this week.
Denny Hamlin 9/2
Hamlin might be the best driver in NASCAR on flat tracks like Phoenix and Martinsville, where he swept this year’s races. Though he has yet to win at Phoenix, he has led a ton of laps only to be done in by bad racing luck. In 10 starts at Phoenix, Hamlin has five top fives, six top 10s and his two bad finishes were due to mechanical issues. For the last few weeks, Hamlin has been on a roll and with a win this week he can just about clinch his first championship.
Mark Martin 15/1
Mark Martin has come alive the last few weeks after a disappointing season. So much was expected from this team this year but lots of bad luck and mechanical problems plagued them all season. But now they have seemed to put things together and are running like most thought they would. In 27 starts at Phoenix, Martin has been a model of consistency with 12 top fives and 18 top 10s to go with an 8.7 average finish, which is phenomenal. Most drivers packed it in weeks ago, but Martin is too proud of a driver not to give his best each and every race and we wouldn't be shocked to see him win another race here.