Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
Welcome to the Beat The Experts contest hosted by Beyond The Flag. Each week like we have done all season our staff will predict who they think is going to win that weekends Sprint Cup race. The main difference now is that each week we will be selecting a reader to pick along with us. If at the end of the season the readers team has more points than our staff, the readers will win some cool prizes courtesy of BeyondTheFlag.com. If you would like to have the chance to be selected to participate, simply follow us on Twitter AND/OR “Like” us on Facebook. If you decide to do both you will double you chances of being selected.
Here are the picks for Week One:
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Breakdown of picks:
"For those of you that are not aware today is Jeff Gordon Day in Indiana. How in the world is it not destiny for Gordon to win his fifth Brickyard 400 on his very own day? Aside from that Gordon has run well all season and should end up with another win before the chase. Indy has always been a great track for him and I think he will pick up his second win of the season today.As far as Danica Patrick goes, I think she might be the definition of a dark horse selection. That is not a knock on Patrick, it is just factual that although she has been better in 2014 she has yet to contend for a win. That being said, of the remaining tracks before the chase this is the one where I think she has the best shot. She has run here before in other series and knows the track and she had good speed in practice."
"It’s going to be Tony Stewart for the win. Two previous wins, temperatures in the upper 80’s, a slick track plus the extra desire that he always brings with him to Indy will equal Stewart and the No. 14 team kissing the bricks when it is all said and done.My dark horse for today is going to be Paul Menard. Menard has a previous win here at the Brickyard in 2011 and we all know what this track means to the entire Menard family."
"Brad Keselowski is my favorite to win the Brickyard mainly because he is flat-out the hottest driver in NASCAR right now. Keselowski has that championship swagger again and although this finishes at Indy aren’t anything to shout about, he has led laps in this event in each of the last three years.Watch out for the Penske Racing boys because my dark horse selection is none other than Joey Logano. While not doing so well as of late – though most not of his own doing – Logano has been up front all year. Last year he also led laps at this event and I expect him to do so again today."
"My pick to win is Kevin Harvick based on what I saw yesterday in practice and qualifying. He has been the class of the field when it comes to speed for most of the season and will now sit on the pole for the race today. He run this even from the pole back in 2003 and will do so again here in 2014.My dark horse for Indy is Juan Pablo Montoya. JPM qualified in the top-10 and has been fast all weekend. In addition to that this is one of those tracks where other drivers believe that Montoya can win. Earlier this week Jimmie Johnson came out and said that he thinks JPM will be a contender, if it’s good enough for Johnson it’s good enough for me."
"My pick to win is Ryan Newman. Newman won this event last year and will still have that momentum with him. Remember he hadn’t exactly torn up trees to that point but then stormed the race. RCR never lacks outright power which is always important at the Brickyard. The operation will continue their success from yesterday when Ty Dillon win at Indy in the Nationwide race.My dark horse pick is Trevor Bayne. A left field pick you might think – a guy who only runs part-time in an average car, right? The Woods Brothers focus a lot of their program on big speedway/plate tracks so they never lack outright speed and power. Bayne as we all know is a talented young driver who will look to build on his strong Nationwide finish."
"Jimmie Johnson is going to win the Brickyard 400 from Indy. Johnson’s history at the track combined with how fast he has looked this weekend is going to be a recipe for victory. Johnson is going to rebound from what has happened the last couple of weeks and he is going to take the checkered flag later on today and end his afternoon with kissing the bricks."
Do you agree with our experts or our reader this week? Be sure to sound off below and let us know what you think. Also, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and “Like” us on Facebook so that you have a chance to be selected to make picks next week. Remember, each person is awarded the same number of points that the driver that they picked to win the race receives. Even if your winning pick doesn’t win, you still want them to do well.