|ESPN.com: 2011||[Print without images]|
Like two boxers climbing into the ring to decide who will walk away with the championship belt, the DirecTV NASCAR Head2Head Knockout fantasy racing game pits 32 drivers against each other in a four-week battle to find out which one is still standing when the final bell rings. And if you're perfect, it could be worth $1 million!
Starting at Pocono and continuing through the three races at Watkins Glen, Michigan and Bristol, you'll have a chance to pick a winner in 29 driver matchups. In Week 1, each correct answer in the 16 matchups will be worth 20 points. In Week 2, the eight potential wins will be worth 40 points apiece. Then, the wins in Week 3 will add 80 points per to your total. In the final week, you'll rank your final four drivers according to order of finish, and if your top one comes out ahead, you'll get 160 points. That means over the four weeks, the maximum number of points you could receive is 1,120.
If you collected that many points there's a very good chance you'd be the champion, with the first prize a full-size truck valued at $45,000 from the manufacturer of the winning driver of race four.
You could also be in line for the Perfect Bracket Prize, which would be worth up to $1 million. To be "perfect" you would not only need to nail a perfect score, but also predict the correct finishing position order for each of those final four drivers in the race at Bristol.
Take a look at the matchups, gaze into your crystal ball, hold a séance calling back the ghosts of past racing greats, or find a lottery winner and rub his or her head. Get yourself some mojo and make your picks. These kinds of games are a lot of fun because you never know when an upset you never saw coming might wipe out your bracket because the favorite blew an engine, cut a tire or got a pit-road speeding penalty.
So, I guess it's time to let you know how The Guru sees all this working out.
Looking at the Turn 1 group, I see Jimmie Johnson defeating Regan Smith at Pocono, and in what would be considered a little bit of an upset, AJ Allmendinger will best Kasey Kahne. In the second bracket, I see Tony Stewart overcoming Joey Logano, and Matt Kenseth defeating hard-luck Jamie McMurray. Then at Watkins Glen, Johnson barely gets by Allmendinger and his road racing experience, while Stewart should easily dispatch Kenseth. That then brings us to Michigan and in a squeaker, Johnson moves on to the final four.
For the Turn 2 group, Carl Edwards should cruise by Casey Mears at Pocono, while David Ragan tops Mark Martin. In the other bracket, I see Denny Hamlin defeating Brian Vickers, and in the battle of the Jeffs, Gordon will come home ahead of Burton. At Watkins Glen, in a battle of Roush Fenway Fords, Edwards will beat Ragan and Gordon will roll over Hamlin. Then, at Michigan, Edwards will finish ahead of Gordon.
For Turn 3, Kevin Harvick should easily beat Dave Blaney at Pocono, and Juan Pablo Montoya should outlast Paul Menard. In the other bracket, Ryan Newman beats Brad Keselowski, and Kyle Busch overpowers David Reutimann. Moving on to Watkins Glen, Montoya's road racing expertise is too much for Harvick, while Kyle Busch beats back the challenge of Newman. Then it will be Busch knocking out Montoya at Michigan.
That brings us to Turn 4, where in Round 1 Dale Earnhardt Jr. should handily defeat David Gilliland, and Greg Biffle will squeak by Martin Truex Jr. In the second group, I can see another upset with Marcos Ambrose getting by Clint Bowyer at Pocono, while Kurt Busch should take the measure of Bobby Labonte pretty easily. That brings us once again to Watkins Glen, where I see Biffle outlasting Dale Jr. on the road course, and Ambrose defeating Kurt Busch. At Michigan, Biffle gets my nod over Ambrose.
My Final Four turns out to be Johnson for Turn 1, Edwards for Turn 2, Kyle Busch for Turn 3 and Biffle for Turn 4. And of those four, I think the order of finish at Bristol will be Busch, followed by Johnson, Edwards and Biffle.
That's how I see it and I think it's going to be fun to watch how all this plays out. Now, be sure to lock in all your picks before 1 p.m. ET on race day at Pocono. Remember, that could mean a "clean knockout" and $1 million!