MLE

 

Wild Card Race Is On
6/21/2006

As the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Circuit comes down to its final qualifiers in Philly, New Jersey, Atlanta and New York, the wild card race is heating up.

Earlier in the season, the entire world was shaken by Chestnut’s astounding 50 Nathan’s Famous hot dogs and buns at the Las Vegas qualifier, and from there the numbers have been up across the board. Simpson’s 38 in Minnesota and Sonya’s 36.5 in Philly underscore the fact that the 2006 Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest will feature its most talented field ever. Along with Kobayashi, Chestnut, Simpson and Sonya, qualified eaters include Conti, Chestnut, Janus, R. LeFevre, Shoudt, and Subich.

As always, Nathan’s Famous will award a wild card spot to the best eater not to win a qualifier. In order to be eligible for the wild card, eaters must have competed in three regional qualifiers and the eater with the highest overall average from his or her three events will be awarded the 2006 Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest Wild Card.

Here’s an overview of the heated 2006 wild card race, and the five gurgitators in play.

HALL HUNT
Total qualifiers: 2
Average hot dogs consumed: 19.19
Next qualifying event: Atlanta, GA (June 24)

Hall can clinch July 4th berth with win in Atlanta OR any of the following scenarios: Philbin win in Cranberry AND averages more than Denmark, Lerman and Goldstein

This will be Hunt’s first regional event since his second place finish to Brian Subich in Norfolk. With only one chance left to qualify for Coney Island, it will be interesting to see how Hunt responds to the adversity.

PATRICK PHILBIN
Total qualifiers: 2
Average hot dogs consumed: 24.5
Next event: Cranbury, NJ (6/23)

Pat can clinch July 4th berth with win in Cranbury OR any of the following scenarios: Loses Cranbury regional, but maintains higher overall average than Hunt, Denmark, Lerman and Goldstein

Philbin enters the Cranbury regional a heavy favorite. However, critics have questioned whether “Pat from Moonachie” will be able to handle the pressure of capturing a regional championship in front of his adoring New Jersey fans.

ERIK DENMARK
Total qualifiers: 2
Average hot dogs consumed: 16.25
Next event: San Francisco (6/24)

Erik can clinch July 4th berth with win in San Francisco OR any of the following scenarios: Loses San Francisco, but surpasses overall average of Hunt, Philbin, Lerman and Goldstein

Denmark impressed competitive eating fans by showing majore improvement in his second qualifier. Jed Donahue is favored in the California qualifier, but “Erik the Red” could steal this with a strong performance.

DON LERMAN
Total qualifiers competed in: 1
Average hot dogs consumed: 0
Next event(s): Cranbury, NJ, Islip, NY (6/24)

Don can clinch July 4th berth with win in Cranbury or Islip OR any of the following scenarios: Loses Cranberry and Islip, but surpasses overall average of Hunt, Philbin, Denmark and Goldstein

Lerman was disqualified from the New England regional for a reversal of fortune giving him a total of 0 hot dogs consumed so far. He’s all but out of Wild Card contention and many feel he needs a straight-up victory.

ALLEN GOLDSTEIN
Total qualifiers competed in: 0
Average hot dogs consumed: 0
Next event(s): Cranbury, NJ,Islip, NY, New York (6/27)

Allen can clinch July 4th berth with win in Cranberry, Islip or New York OR any of the following scenarios: Loses Cranbury and Islip, but surpasses overall average of Hunt, Philbin, Denmark and Lerman

Goldstein’s strategy was to wait until the final three qualifiers, assuming the big numbers would come earlier in the circuit. He was right.

The Wild Card Spot will be announced on Tuesday, June 27th unless the math allows for a determination at an earlier date. The promising Skinny Boy Lane competed gallantly in three events, registering a high of score of 12 HDBs at Mall of America.