Race Weekend Central

Who Will Win NASCAR’s 2006 Chase? Frontstretch Weighs In

Now that the field is set, who will win NASCAR’s 2006 Chase for the Championship? Read below to find out who your favorite Frontstretch writer picked … and why.

Championship Picks
Expert Cami Starr Tom Bowles Kim DeHaven
1st Matt Kenseth Matt Kenseth Matt Kenseth
2nd Kevin Harvick Kevin Harvick Kevin Harvick
3rd Jimmie Johnson Kasey Kahne Mark Martin
4th Denny Hamlin Mark Martin Kasey Kahne
5th Jeff Burton Jeff Gordon Jimmie Johnson
6th Jeff Gordon Jimmie Johnson Denny Hamlin
7th Kasey Kahne Denny Hamlin Kyle Busch
8th Dale Earnhardt Jr. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jeff Gordon
9th Mark Martin Kyle Busch Jeff Burton
10th Kyle Busch Jeff Burton Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Why They Picked Their Champion Kenseth proves that he can win titles in either format. He’s always been known for consistency, and this year he’s racking up the wins, too. Having struggled in the Chase the last two years, Kenseth is determined to prove he can win in this playoff format, which was created partly because of how he won the title three years ago. With wins at every type of track in the Chase except the superspeedways, this team’s ability to adapt to any situation that comes its way will make Kenseth difficult to beat, despite some stiff challengers. Kenseth will be the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup champion. Despite all of the changes to the points system, the driver crowned champion is the most consistent one. This season, Kenseth earned 13 top-five finishes. What makes this year any different then others? He has gone victory lane four times and has amassed more bonus points then eight of his nine Chase competitors. Kenseth has the resources, ability, a great team and momentum in his favor. These things will lead him to the 2006 championship.
Championship Picks
Expert Toni Heffelfinger Dennis Michelsen Amy Henderson
1st Matt Kenseth Matt Kenseth Jimmie Johnson
2nd Kevin Harvick Kevin Harvick Matt Kenseth
3rd Jimmie Johnson Kasey Kahne Kevin Harvick
4th Kyle Busch Mark Martin Kyle Busch
5th Jeff Burton Denny Hamlin Kasey Kahne
6th Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jimmie Johnson Jeff Gordon
7th Kasey Kahne Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jeff Burton
8th Jeff Gordon Jeff Gordon Dale Earnhardt Jr.
9th Denny Hamlin Kyle Busch Denny Hamlin
10th Mark Martin Jeff Burton Mark Martin
Why They Picked Their Champion Kenseth has clearly shown the best form of anyone this season and he knows how to be consistent. Still feels he was the reason for the Chase and still determined to prove he can win a championship no matter what rules they throw at him. Kenseth and his DeWalt team have been the most consistent team this season. The news that NASCAR will be cracking down on the coil-binding setups used by other teams will help the Roush teams even more. Of the 10 tracks the championship will be decided on, Johnson’s average finish is third or better among Chase drivers at eight. The No. 48 team thrives under pressure, almost always producing an autumn to remember. Provided they get through Loudon with a decent finish and Talladega without incident, this team should ride the wave all the way to Homestead. Kenseth and Harvick will be ready to pounce on any mistakes, though, so Johnson cannot afford to get down on himself if the team has one subpar race. If Team 48 keeps the mojo, they’ll win it all.
Championship Picks
Expert Jeff Meyer Becca Gladden Mike Neff
1st Matt Kenseth Matt Kenseth Matt Kenseth
2nd Kevin Harvick Jimmie Johnson Kevin Harvick
3rd Denny Hamlin Jeff Gordon Dale Earnhardt Jr.
4th Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jeff Burton Jimmie Johnson
5th Jeff Burton Kevin Harvick Kyle Busch
6th Kasey Kahne Denny Hamlin Denny Hamlin
7th Jeff Gordon Kyle Busch Jeff Burton
8th Mark Martin Kasey Kahne Kasey Kahne
9th Jimmie Johnson Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jeff Gordon
10th Kyle Busch Mark Martin Mark Martin
Why They Picked Their Champion Kenseth is on a roll. The No. 17 team knows how to get things done and, more importantly, WHEN to get it done. Pit stops are second to none. In the end, Kenseth will eventually eclipse Gordon in championship rings, to be second only to the King and Dale Earnhardt Sr. Kenseth has consistency and momentum on his side, two key factors in winning the championship. Roush’s lead team is on a roll at the right time. Unless something disastrous happens, they will hoist the trophy in Homestead.
Championship Picks
Expert Jess Nicholas Tommy Thompson Beth Lunkenheimer
1st Matt Kenseth Matt Kenseth Kevin Harvick
2nd Kevin Harvick Jimmie Johnson Matt Kenseth
3rd Kyle Busch Mark Martin Denny Hamlin
4th Kasey Kahne Jeff Gordon Kasey Kahne
5th Jimmie Johnson Kevin Harvick Jimmie Johnson
6th Mark Martin Kyle Busch Dale Earnhardt Jr.
7th Dale Earnhardt Jr. Kasey Kahne Kyle Busch
8th Jeff Gordon Dale Earnhardt Jr. Mark Martin
9th Denny Hamlin Denny Hamlin Jeff Gordon
10th Jeff Burton Jeff Burton Jeff Burton
Why They Picked Their Champion All the talk is about Harvick, but Kenseth took over the points lead from Johnson and this team is great when it’s running in front of everyone else – which is what’s happening now. Kenseth simply has no weaknesses. His team has been a cohesive unit for a long time, able to improve on their performances with no real setbacks or distractions. Plus, Kenseth has started to peak at the right time, just prior to the beginning of the Chase. Coming off a win at Richmond, Harvick and the No. 29 team have just the right momentum to carry them to the title. Harvick has run with quiet consistency for the majority of the season; with three wins and 11 top-five finishes, Harvick is definitely looking like the car to beat.

About the author

The Frontstretch Staff is made up of a group of talented men and women spread out all over the United States and Canada. Residing in 15 states throughout the country, plus Ontario, and widely ranging in age, the staff showcases a wide variety of diverse opinions that will keep you coming back for more week in and week out.

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