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My prediction: Juan Pablo Montoya will win the Coke Zero 400

By admin | July 2, 2010

By Richard Allen

There have been two restrictor plate races so far in 2010 and the two winners have had one thing in common. Both were driving cars powered by Earnhardt Childress Racing engines. Jamie McMurray won the Daytona 500 while Kevin Harvick scored a win in Talladega using the power plants.

Last week, I picked Denny Hamlin to win in New Hampshire because I reasoned that it seemed too logical to pick anyone else based on his success in 2010 and his previous record on that type of track. Well, that pick blew up in my face.

This week, picking Jamie McMurray seems too obvious. He has won this race. He has won two of the last three plate races, including the last time in Daytona. And, he was only yards away from winning in Talladega. Picking him just seems too easy.

So, based on last week’s choice of the too easy pick, I am going to go in a different direction. If for no other reason, I am staying away from the obvious choice because picking these plate races is always somewhat of a crap shoot.

Juan Pablo Montoya also uses the ECR engine in his Chevrolets. He finished 10th in this year’s Daytona 500 and was 3rd in Talladega. He has taken to plate racing better than many of his fellow open wheel converts.

For those reasons, I am picking Juan Pablo Montoya to win this weekend in Daytona.

Montoya will be joined in the top-5 by Clint Bowyer, Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch, and Jamie McMurray.

Look for David Ragan to serve as a dark horse in this race.

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Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and The Knoxville Journal.

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