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NASCAR: Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 preview and predictions

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The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Hampton, Georgia for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500. Originally this race was slated to be run in March as the teams were all set to go at the racetrack but it was discovered that a track attendant had tested positive for coronavirus and the race was cancelled. While there was a plan in place to complete the race without fans and without practice and qualifying, those were quickly scrapped and the race was cancelled. It will be good to see the race finally get made up as NASCAR returns slightly to normal. In this race it will be expected that we see a lot of cars that are spread out all around the track, similarly to what we saw at Charlotte. With this track having a much rougher surface though, there will definitely be a more difficult path to victory lane.

Last week, Brad Keselowski captured his thirty-second career victory after getting around the crashing cars of Joey Logano and Chase Elliott in turns three and four with three laps to go. He was able to fend off Clint Bowyer for his second win of the season. After the race, Elliott and Logano were involved in a somewhat heated discussion. When it was all settled, Logano was none too pleased with Elliott and his reluctance to own up to the incident, which he didn't. It was fairly odd seeing the most popular driver in the sport in Chase Elliott make not only the mistake of wrecking Logano, but to not own up to it and apologize. Especially considering how many times he has been run over during the course of his four-year career. It will be interesting to see if this escalates going forward.

Needless to say, Brad Keselowski was more than likely one of the few drivers out there that was happy with the way things ended as he once again found himself in the right place at the right time for the second time in 2020 as he went on to capture another victory. Even though it was sort of a slow start for the Michigander, Brad has really come alive in these last few weeks. While the circumstances might have seemed lucky, he has been almost flawless ever since the return from break. Aside from a thirteenth place finish at Darlington, Brad has yet to finish outside of the top ten. He is beginning to establish himself as a real threat for the title. I look for Brad to be one to watch on Sunday as well considering he has won two of the last three races here.

The big headline this week was the announcement that NASCAR will be returning to Nashville Superspeedway next season. This came as a surprise considering the hype surrounding neighboring track the Nashville Fairgrounds. There was talk that the sport would return to the legendary short-track and it is still entirely possible as NASCAR hopes that ticket sales for the race at the Superspeedway can help fund the renovations needed to bring the sport to the short-track. Over the course of its history, Nashville Superspeedway has only held races for the truck and Xfinity series and will now host cup races for the first time.

While the people of Nashville will certainly be happy to see a race back in their area, it comes at a price as Dover International Raceway will lose one of its dates. This could become common practice for a lot of tracks that have two dates as more than likely Nashville won't be the only new track on the schedule next season. Overall, I am extremely surprised that this track is getting the call up to the Cup Series considering there hasn't been a race there since 2011. But it will be good to see NASCAR get back to one of it's most popular markets and hopefully in the future we can potentially see a double header with the short-track. I look forward to seeing what the new tracks will be in July when NASCAR makes the announcement.

The driver I have winning this week is Clint Bowyer. Over the last few weeks, Bowyer has been extremely fast but something has happened that has ruined his day. After last week's second place finish at Bristol, I think that Clint Bowyer is due for a victory. As we all know, there is a lot of speculation going around about Clint's future in the sport, many already have him transitioning to the booth next season at Fox with Jeff Gordon and Mike Joy. I believe there is still some wins on the table for this veteran and this track would make the most sense for one. Over the last two races there, Bowyer has an average finish of fourth place, so we know he can run up front. Another thing to look out for is where Bowyer will be starting come Sunday as he rolls off fifth. At a place like Atlanta, track position is key, and he will have that working to his advantage. I look for Bowyer to take the #14 Rush Trucking Mustang back to victory lane and finally ending his winless streak.

All stats and information used in this article are brought to you by the good folks at driveraverages.com and Racing-Reference.com the best websites for all NASCAR stats)

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In recent reports, there have been multiple rumors that the 76ers could make a push for James Harden if they can sign Mike D' Antoni as their head coach. As the 76ers fired Brett Brown in August, they are now looking for a culture change. So, it won't come as a surprise if the 76ers try to trade Joel Embiid for Harden. Hopefully, Daryl Morey recognizes the talent of Harden and rejects the idea of trading him.

Harden is easily the second greatest Rocket of in franchise history, including being second in scoring. In Harden's eight-year tenure with the Rockets, he has become an NBA MVP, made the All-NBA team seven times, three-time scoring champ, and an eight-time All-Star. Harden's resume with the Rockets is impressive, including going to Western Conference Finals twice. Ever since Harden came to Houston in 2012, he revamped the Rockets' franchise with eight consecutive playoff runs. Before Harden came to the Rockets, this franchise had missed the playoffs three times in a row.

Harden also attracted huge free agents like Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, and Russell Westbrook, which helped him succeed in his Rockets tenure. He has made the Rockets an attractive team to play on since being in Houston for eight years.

Even though Harden has been great with the Rockets, he has not reached the Finals yet. That has been the huge question mark on Harden's resume while playing for the Rockets. Honestly, there are certain moments when Harden has disappeared in big games. In 2015 versus the Clippers in Game 6 of the Western Semifinals, Harden shot 5 of 20 from the field, and was benched in the 4th quarter by Kevin McHale, as the Rockets were led by Josh Smith to force a Game 7 in Houston. Also, during the Spurs-Rockets Western Semifinals of 2017, Harden had another disappearance in Game 6. Harden shot 2 of 11 from the field with only 10 points as the Rockets lost to the Spurs 114-75 without Kawhi Leonard.

Despite those two horrible examples, Harden was extremely close in 2018 versus the Warriors but an injury to Paul's hamstring stopped the Rockets' momentum, as they lost in game 7 by missing 22 straight three-pointers. The following year, the Rockets lost to the Warriors again without Kevin Durant because Paul and Harden were not on the same page in the Western Semifinals. Things were not different this year, as the Rockets were overpowered by the Lakers 4-1.

Trading the 32-year-old Harden could be tempting because of the recent playoff failures, but he is a generational player. In the last 5 years, Harden has dominated the NBA with his elite scoring. Harden has averaged over 30 plus points per game in the last three seasons. He is also classified as one of the greatest scorers of all-time behind Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, and Wilt Chamberlin.

Stephen A. Smith lays out why he thinks Harden is the greatest scorer currently in the NBA in the video below.

James Harden is 'the greatest scorer in the NBA' - Stephen A. | First Take youtu.be

After all the things Harden has accomplished in Houston, is he still untouchable? Honestly, if Harden is traded, the culture for the Rockets will drastically change, especially with new players coming to Houston. In my opinion, Harden and Morey are very close but Morey is blinded by his own decisions because of Harden. Morey built this team around James and does anything to please him. He wanted to keep D'Antoni around because of Harden, which is not helpful for the Rockets. If the Rockets are going to win big, Morey has to be stronger with his own judgement of the team, and not Harden's.

If the Rockets decided to trade James Harden to the 76ers, they could receive Embiid and Josh Richardson, which is still good. The Rockets would get a big man, who is a superstar, and a great wing defender, which gave Harden problems two years when he played for the Heat. This would not be bad decision if the Rockets decided to move on from Harden.

Before Morey decides to pull the trigger, he needs to digest Harden's accolades, including his shortcomings. Hopefully, the right decision is made for the Rockets' organization.

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