I was looking for some notes in the abyss that is my hard drive when I came across a historical document of great significance. Well, not really… but it’s funny nonetheless. What’s the document of which I speak, you ask? Why, none other than my preseason picks for the 2006 NASCAR Chase for the Nextel Cup.
At the time, I thought I was being prophetic. I based my picks on past performance, on drivers, on crews, and on karma. Well, looking back, none of that worked. I was so wrong that I must have been writing in a different dimension. While I have a couple spot on, the vast majority need some sort of stain remover, from both the page and my memory. Still, I’m sharing them with you all now in hopes that you’ll be as amused as I was.
Editor’s Note: Comments in bold are Amy’s present-day comments on her Chase predictions.
2006 PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH IN THE CHASE
1. Tony Stewart. Riding a wave of momentum that peaked at the right time in ’05; if they can do that again, the No. 20 team will back it up in ’06.
2. Greg Biffle. The No. 16 team came into their own in ’05 and were consistent contenders almost every week. Don’t look for that to change – but team communication is just a half-step behind both the Nos. 20 and 48 teams at times, and could be a speed bump on the road to a title.
Speed bump?! Speed mountain, maybe.
3. Jimmie Johnson. If hunger (and the best crew chief in the garage) is enough, Johnson could eat his way straight to the head table at the Waldorf. The problem is, it hasn’t quite been enough for a team that always seems to need just a little more luck in the recipe.
Look, probability alone says I should get at least one right. This was it.
4. Carl Edwards. Hard to believe that a year ago, all this guy wanted was a sponsor. Now he wants a Cup title, and will contend for one with just a little more consistency to back up the great chemistry and luck. Which begs the question – what kind of gymnastics are in store if he wins the Cup?
Guess we’ll have to find out another time.
5. Mark Martin. You’d think that Roush Racing would throw everything but the kitchen sink at this team to give their original driver a championship in his swan-song year. But you’d have thought that last year, too, and it didn’t happen then. So, a top-five run seems more realistic for this team.
Hey, I got another one right. Did you know you can get a 200 on the SAT just for spelling your name right?
6. Jeff Gordon. This team is looking for a colossal rebound after 2005, and there is no reason to think they won’t find it in 2006.
Holy paint schemes, Batman! Two in a row, but no trophy to show for it.
7. Matt Kenseth. Quiet consistency and team stability should put Kenseth solidly within shouting distance of the Cup come Chase time.
Yeah, shouting distance, shouting smack in my ear. Is that “We are the Champions” he’s singing?
8. Jamie McMurray. Came within a hairbreadth of making the Chase for two years with a mediocre team. Now the team is on its way to being named “former champions,” and McMurray will rise to the occasion in every respect to cover.
OK, admit it, you thought it was the car, too.
9. Ryan Newman. The new No. 1 man at Penske Racing will make the Chase, but poles do not translate into championships.
This year, they don’t even translate into poles.
Hey, four outta 10 ain’t bad.
Yes, I admit I was wrong. I was also right, just not all the time. If we could pre-write history, though, it just wouldn’t be so much fun to go along for the ride. It would be boring and predictable, and that’s just not history.
About the author
Amy is an 18-year veteran NASCAR writer and a five-time National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) writing award winner, including first place awards for both columns and race coverage. As well as serving as Photo Editor, Amy writes The Big 6 (Mondays) after every NASCAR Cup Series race. She can also be found filling in from time to time on The Frontstretch 5 (Wednesdays) and her monthly commentary Holding A Pretty Wheel (Thursdays). A New Hampshire native living in North Carolina, Amy’s work credits have extended everywhere from driver Kenny Wallace’s website to Athlon Sports. She can also be heard weekly as a panelist on the Hard Left Turn podcast that can be found on AccessWDUN.com's Around the Track page.