Last week, Miss Sprint Cup Julianna White joined John Farrell and Alex Pohlman as a guest picker for In This Corner.
This week, it was her fellow Miss Sprint Cup Madison Martin’s turn to put her prognostication skills to the test when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers take on Watkins Glen in Sunday’s Cheez-It 355 at The Glen at 2:30 p.m. (EST) on USA and MRN/SiriusXM.
Unfortunately, Julianna was unable to capture the hotly contested weekly point for the Celebrity Guest Pickers. Although her selections were strong, they didn’t pull through for her. Mother Nature might have had something to do with that.
Madison, however, is here with three solid picks to score a point for the guest pickers.
But first, let’s see how the drivers for all three pickers did last week.
Although Julianna didn’t have the best combined finishing position, she had Brad Keselowski among her three picks. Keselowski finished the rain/fog-shortened race second, and would’ve probably taken the lead if the drivers returned to racing. He led the race twice for a total of eight laps.
Her other two drivers didn’t fare as well. Chase Elliott and Martin Truex Jr. were both involved in accidents. Truex was actually in two, the second of which prematurely ended his day (even before Mother Nature ended it early) after completing only 82 laps. Truex started the race on the pole and led the first 16 laps. He then finished a disappointing 38th, while Elliott was able to return to action after a two-car wreck on Lap 106. The damage, however, had been done and he finished 33rd without leading a lap.
The three drivers’ finishes netted Julianna a combined finishing position of 73.
Alex was eager to grab her sixth point of the season and was sure she had the right mix of drivers to accomplish just that. Again, the inclement weather may have prevented this from happening.
Her highest-finishing driver was Kyle Larson who paced the field for 37 laps before finishing sixth. Ryan Blaney finished just outside the top 10 in 11th. Joey Logano, however, fell all the way back to 37th after wrecking with Elliott. He had a race-high 38 laps led.
Alex finished with a total of 54 points, good enough for second.
Heading into the Pocono race weekend, John had two consecutive wins and he wanted to continue that streak and extend his lead which now stands at John with 10 points, Celebrity Guest Pickers with six points and Alex with five.
In order to accomplish that John knew he had to have the perfect lineup of drivers. By the time the green flag dropped on Monday morning, he was pretty confident he had the right contigent in his stable.
Unlike Julianna and Alex, none of John’s drivers finished in the top six. He did, however, have Denny Hamlin and Kurt Busch, who finished seventh and 10th respectively. His third driver, Jeff Gordon, ended up 27th, but would have probably taken home a top 10 if he hadn’t had mid-race seat belt issues.
In the end, John eked out a narrow win with a combined 44 points.
This weekend, the traveling caravan known as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Long Pond, Pa., and Pocono Raceway. The green flag for Sunday’s Pennsylvania 400 drops at 1:30 p.m. EST, and can be seen on NBCSN and heard on MRN/SiriusXM.
If this is your first time reading “In This Corner,” we’ll explain how it works. The 2016 season marks the second year our “expert” prognosticators, Alex Pohlman and John Farrell, will choose who they they think will win the upcoming race. (They’re experts only in their heads.)
Each week last season, Alex and John picked one driver they thought would win that weekend’s race. Alex based her picks on guts, while John made his picks relying on stats. It was an epic showdown of guts vs. stats. The weekly winner was determined by who chose the driver who finished better in the race.
Fore every weekly win, they received a point. In the end, Alex beat John 14-10. (The competition began with the May Dover race.)
This year, In This Corner is similar, but with some new twists added to make it more challenging and entertaining. Joining Alex and John each week will be a different guest prognosticator. In addition, instead of selecting one driver, each oracle will pick the three they think have the best shot at ending up in Victory Lane.
Whoever selects the three drivers with the lowest combined finishing position will receive the point for that weekend. For example, if Alex picks the race winner and the 20th- and 30th-place finishers, but John picks the 10th-, 15th- and 20th-place winners, John would receive the point (depending on who the celebrity guest picker selects) because his drivers’ accumulated finishing position total (45) is lower that Alex’s (51).
The celebrity guest forecaster can choose whichever three drivers he or she wants regardless of who Alex or John select. However, Alex and John can only have one pick in common.
We will keep a running tally between all three. At the end of the season, the prognosticator with the most points will be crowned the victor.
Like her colleague who was the celebrity guest picker for the Pocono race, Miss Sprint Cup Madison Martin is this week’s Celebrity Guest Picke. Madison joined the Miss Sprint Cup team in 2014. Madison grew up in the small town of Cumberland, Md., with a passion for golf, a love of board games, and avid fan of Star Wars. In 2012, Madison graduated from Frostburg State (Md.) University with a degree in Mass Communications and a double minor in Journalism and Communication Studies.
Prior to becoming Miss Sprint Cup, Madison spent two summers interning for FOX News Channel, as well as spending a week in spring of 2012 as a student reporter at Richmond International Raceway. She also worked as a web producer and reporter at the number one local news station in Charlotte, N.C., covering community interest stores. When Madison isn’t hard at work, she loves going on long runs, honing her golf swing at the driving rang, cooking and practicing the violin.
1. AJ Allmendinger: He grabbed his first win for JTG at The Glen back in 2014 after a swift battle with Marcos Ambrose all race. I think it’s hard to be against AJ to take another Cheez-It trophy home.
2. Joey Logano: As last year’s sweeper at the Glen — winning both the NASCAR XFINITY Series race and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race — it is hard to go against Joey Logano as a pick for the Cheez-It 355.
3. Martin Truex Jr.: Consistency is key, and it’s hard for me to think of anyone who has a better shot than the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota.
1. AJ Allmendinger: It’s AJ and it’s a road course. Enough said.
2. Kyle Larson: Coming off a strong run at Pocono Raceway, Larson is on the move to capture his first win.
3. Carl Edwards: Carl already has clinched his spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, but another win wouldn’t hurt.
1. Kyle Busch: Kyle has won twice at Watkins Glen, the most recent coming in 2013. However, he won the 2008 race from the pole. I’m sure he’ll turn in an admirable finish.
2. Jeff Gordon: It’s Jeff’s third start of 2016 and the 800th of his career and if he hadn’t had seat belt issues at Pocono he would’ve finished a lot higher than 27th. He’ll finish a lot higher at The Glen.
3. Tony Stewart: Tony continues to prove he’s one of the best summer drivers in NASCAR, and with Watkins Glen — a track at which he’s already won five times — he’ll be strong again this weekend.
GUESTS — 6; ALEX — 5; JOHN — 10