Indianapolis: Gordon vs. Speed, Bowyer vs. Ambrose. Pocono: Gordon vs. Bowyer, Speed vs. Ambrose. Watkins Glen: Gordon vs. Ambrose, Bowyer vs. Speed.
Group H may be the most intriguing group in the NASCAR World Cup based on the matchups. At first it seems that Gordon and Bowyer would have cakewalks to the tournament, but Ambrose's success will dictate the group. He'll be one of the favorites at Watkins Glen and even more of a favorite over Gordon given Gordon's relative lack of success in upstate New York recently. Bowyer may be more fortunate than Gordon because he gets Ambrose at Indianapolis, a type of track where Ambrose and JTG-Daugherty have struggled this year.
Jay's Picks: Winner: Jeff Gordon — If he goes according to form, Gordon should run well in all three races without winning any, which is good enough to get him to the next level. In a head-to-head competition, Gordon could take down anybody, so look to him as a dark horse in the next round.
To Advance: Clint Bowyer — This one's going to come down to the road course, and if Bowyer has had trouble early on, he'll have trouble getting past Ambrose. But the way his season is running, I'm predicting he'll stack up good enough numbers to push on through out of group play.
Nick's Picks: Winner: Clint Bowyer — The schedule works out perfectly for Bowyer, who has a chance to go 3-0. He was better than Gordon at Pocono in June and should take care of Ambrose and Speed.
To Advance: Marcos Ambrose — Yes, this means that Jeff Gordon doesn't advance. I worked the group out on paper, and if Bowyer goes 3-0 and Ambrose simply beats Speed at Pocono, all he has to do is beat Gordon at Watkins Glen to advance.