Indianapolis: Burton vs. Truex, Newman vs. Labonte. Pocono: Burton vs. Newman, Truex vs. Labonte. Watkins Glen: Burton vs. Labonte, Newman vs. Truex
This group is one of the most wide open groups in the NASCAR World Cup, as it's conceivable that any two of the top three could advance in any order and it wouldn't be very much of a surprise. No Bobby Labonte, you're not included in that top three. Jeff Burton could be a contender to win the whole thing, but like Juan Pablo Montoya, it wouldn't be surprising if Burton went 0-3 in the group given his luck at the end of races this season. Truex is a great sleeper pick, especially given the way that Newman has struggled lately.
Jay's Picks: Winner: Jeff Burton -- Man, this is a tough group, and it all hinges on Truex. If he races to his ability and doesn't get caught up in wreckage, he could potentially win this. But since I think Truex still isn't there yet, I'm going to go with Burton to win. Consistency is the key in group play, and Burton's as low-key consistent as they come.
To Advance: Ryan Newman -- Staying out of the race-killing wreck is a must if you're going to roll in NASCAR World Cup, and the farther ahead you are in the pack, the better off you are. Since Talladega isn't on the slate, I'm going with Newman to stay ahead of Truex and the messes...which will surely involve Robby Gordon.
Nick's Picks: Winner: Jeff Burton -- I don't think that you can pick against Burton in this group, especially given how close he is to getting a win. I wouldn't be surprised to see Burton win Sunday at Indianapolis, which would be a great boost to not only his season, but to his NASCAR World Cup chances.
To Advance: Martin Truex Jr. -- Truex is running better than Newman is, so this is strictly a recency pick. If Burton has another run in with Kyle Busch somewhere, Truex could win the group.
- Jeff Burton
- Ryan Newman