Trek Mountain Bikes - Riding a Tour

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Does Carl Edwards Have A Shot

That takes care of Greg Biffle.At the beginning of the 2005 NASCAR season, I certainly didn't expect to pick Biffle 21 times (in straight-up and head-to-head wagers combined), more than any other driver on the Smokeless Set. Heck, I'd have been better off picking Marisa Tomei to win an Oscar, right? But Biffle has been the surprise of the year and the newest rising star at Roush Racing, and has earned his place among the most feared drivers in the sport.

But his cursed run at Texas last week put the final nail in his coffin, and he most assuredly isn't going to win the 2005 Nextel Cup championship. (This doesn't mean I won't pick him again this year, however.).In Biffle's place as the third throne contender is his teammate, Carl Edwards, who's won the last two Nextel Cup events, and finds himself 77 points behind Tony Stewart with two races left. Can Edwards catch Smoke and Jimmie Johnson (who is himself only 38 points back)? In a word: maybe. It's not impossible, especially considering the fact that the last time the G.

O.B.'s came to Phoenix (the site of this week's Checker Auto Parts 500), Stewart and Johnson got into a heated confrontation on the track which led to Stewart wrecking out of the race and finishing 33rd, and Johnson limping home 15th. If those two renew hostilities on Sunday afternoon, the toothy Edwards---who isn't exactly a flat-track maven---could head to Homestead within shouting distance of the leaders.Seventy-seven standings points equates to about 15-to-20 places in the finishing order of a single race, or 7-to-10 places in the finishing order of the next two events.

The optimal scenario for Edwards would be to have Stewart and Johnson wreck each other again this week, and have him post a solid top-10. Given that Smoke and JJ aren't complete idiots, that's not likely to happen. But if just one of them has problems in Phoenix this week, and then the other has difficulties in Homestead the following week? Well, it's not likely, but it could happen.

Don't rule him completely out.However, for all its dominance this year, the most likely championship scenarios this year don't have Roush Racing winning its third straight Cup title. Stewart and Johnson are likely to drive smart and safe this week, notch solid top-10 finishes, and head to Homestead with the title riding on a single race.

Edwards probably won't be eliminated after Phoenix, but I think he'll only have an outside shot going into the season's final race. For all these reasons, I'm staying away from all of these guys this week. There's really no reason for any of them to try and win the event, despite the fact that both Stewart and Johnson are two of the best flat-track drivers on the circuit. No, instead, I'm going to be looking at the rest of the field, the guys who won't win the title, but who have excelled on the flat tracks of New Hampshire, Martinsville, Phoenix and (to an extent) Richmond this year and in years previous.

In my opinion, your winner will come from that group.Last Week: This is getting borderline silly. For the fourth straight event, I picked both the race winner and a head-to-head winner; for the second straight event, that meant I had Carl Edwards as my double-stud. He netted me a 12-1 straight-up win for the second week in a row at the similarly configured Atlanta and Texas speedways, and last week trounced Kasey Kahne to win for me in the head-to-head. If you're betting a dime per unit along with me, that means you netted $5,761.

90 for the week, and if you've been betting along with me all year, you've netted $55,401.20. Pretty good stuff.

For the record, I'm still riding a streak of 15 straight races where I've correctly picked a head-to-head wager, and thus 15 straight weeks where I've made you money. In that time, I've picked seven race winners (and a total of 16 race winners all year). I'm in the black in 29 out of 35 weeks so far this year.Chris Harris covers Nascar for Brian Gabrielle Sports.


Christopher Harris is a featured writer for the Professional Handicappers League. Read all of his articles at

By: Christopher Harris

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