In This Corner: Quaker State 400 Presented by Advance Auto Parts Preview (w/ Celebrity Guest Picker Kyle Petty)

If we’re being completely honest, last Saturday night was not a good night for any of the three “In This Corner” pickers.

Let’s hope there’s a better outcome this Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway.

When all three pickers had more than 60 points, was there really a winner? Although it was an ugly win, John Farrell was pleased to receive the point for the weekend. He finished with a combined finishing position of 60, while celebrity guest picker Junior Johnson and In This Corner mainstay Alex Pohlman gathered 75 and 77 points, respectively.

With the point, John broke a tie with the celebrity guest pickers to go up 7 to 6, while Alex is a little further back, but still within striking distance with 4 points.

The three drivers John had picked were Kyle Busch (second), Kurt Busch (23rd) and Jimmie Johnson (35th). Junior’s stable of drivers included Joey Logano (fourth), Chase Elliott (32nd) and Kevin Harvick (39th). Alex had Denny Hamlin (17th), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (21st) and Harvick (39th).

For the second weekend in a row, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers will be competing on a Saturday night; however, this time it’s at Kentucky Speedway. The Quaker State 400 Presented by Advance Auto Parts will take the green flag around 7:30 p.m. on NBCSN and can be heard on PRN and 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.

This week’s Celebrity Guest Picker is none other Kyle Petty. Kyle comes from an iconic racing family and is a champion of philanthropy and one of the most popular personalities in NASCAR. The son of NASCAR champion Richard Petty and grandson of NASCAR pioneer Lee Petty — Kyle followed in their footsteps, starting his 30-year NASCAR career as a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver in 1979 at age 19, before becoming an owner and media commentator.

Recognized throughout the motorsports community for his philanthropic spirit, Kyle has dedicated much of his time to helping others. For more than 22 years, Kyle has hosted hundreds of NASCAR fans, drivers and motorcycle enthusiasts on his annual Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America. The Ride travels cross-country each spring to raise funds and awareness for Victory Junction. To date, the Ride has raised $16 million for children with chronic illnesses.

In 2004, Kyle co-founded Victory Junction — a camp created to enrich the lives of children with chronic or life-threatening illness — in honor of his late son, Adam Petty.

Additionally, Kyle is a featured analyst on NBCSN’s daily show, NASCAR America and on pre- and post-race NASCAR Sprint Cup shows on NBC and NBCSN. He also co-hosts the weekly radion show, “Fast Talk” on the Performance Racing Network.

KYLE’S PICKS

NUP_168252_0389.jpg1. Kyle Busch: The downforce package and the new pavement will create issues that drivers will have to adapt to, not many adapt to rule and track changes better than Kyle.

2. Joey Logano: This time last year, Joey and his team got hot — I believe Kentucky is where their championship year begins.

3. Tony Stewart: After thinking Tony stood “a snowball’s chance” of winning a race this year, he wins at Sonoma. I’m a believer — Tony can still win anywhere, anytime.

 

ALEX’S PICKS

InThisCorner-Alex1. Kyle Busch: Kyle is on a roll and he is known to be dominating at Kentucky.

2. Brad Keselowski: Coming off a win last weekend in Daytona, Brad is keeping his run for a second championship alive and will be up front Saturday night.

3. Chase Elliott: Chase has been knocking on the door for a win for quite a few races now and I think he get his first win this weekend.

 

JOHN’S PICKS

InThisCorner-John1. Kyle Busch: Kyle has won 40% of the NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Kentucky, which makes him a frontrunner in my mind.

2. Jimmie Johnson: Jimmie has finished in the top 10 in all five of the races he’s started here and win shouldn’t be far behind.

3. Matt Kenseth: Like Jimmie, Matt has top-10 finishes in all five starts at Kentucky, but unlike Jimmie, Matt also has a win there.

GUESTS — 6; ALEX — 4; JOHN — 7

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