The Final Word – Does Kahne’s win at New Hampshire leave only one Chase place up for grabs?

[media-credit name=”Kirk Schroll” align=”alignright” width=”238″][/media-credit]What can we say about New Hampshire, the race track, not the state? The action was not exactly gripping, it proved a dandy cure for insomnia, it showed that Denny Hamlin is still tough, but Kasey Kahne was the one celebrating in the end.

Even though Hamlin dominated much of the event, a stop for four put him too far back to make it all the way back to the front, falling a position short. For Kahne, his second win of the season, with seven races to go before the Chase places are determined, solidifies his hopes to be in the running this fall.

Those in the top ten in the standings stayed there, as no one in the top ten finished worse than 13th. Clint Bowyer and Brad Keselowski are in the bottom two spots, but their lead over Carl Edwards means they will still be in the top ten even if they sit out the next one at the end of the month in Indianapolis. Edwards is close, but no wins leaves him behind Kahne and one-time winner Kyle Busch. Both Ryan Newman and Joey Logano have a win, but are about a dozen points behind Busch.

So, when they venture to the brickyard, Edwards needs a win, Busch needs to keep Newman and Logano behind him in the points, or one of the latter trio could certainly help their cause with a second victory. Anyone not in the top ten that I have not mentioned need wins, at least one, over the next seven. Time is running out.

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Time ran out for a NASCAR fan, but that didn’t keep him away from his seat in front of the television. A Michigan woman continued to watch the races from her home with her buddy 18 months after the elderly fellow had died. Of course, breaking up is hard to do, especially if you are cashing the guy’s benefit checks. Hey, someone had to pay for the chips.

Pop something you shouldn’t, as you may well have to pay the piper in NASCAR. A.J. Allmendinger remains suspended over a positive drug test, which some find hard to believe due to the ‘Dinger’s squeaky clean public imagine. Could there have been a mistake? Sure, but my initial feelings about Jeremy Mayfield were similar. He seemed like a nice guy who wouldn’t do anything wrong. That is what he seemed to me. However, this is not a perfect world and sometimes folks are not as they seem, or inept or worse and you even start to wonder how protected these tests are. How protected they are from tampering or a screw up of some manner? Dual tests using different labs at different locations might be something to consider. When fitness freak Carl Edwards points out “people are imperfect. Tests are imperfect,” he is right. Of course, maybe Allmendinger just screwed up. In the meantime, we all wait to see how this plays out.

Out is the U.S. Army, which made a strategic retreat from NASCAR sponsorship, but the National Guard plans to remain a sponsor of Dale Earnhardt Jr. Not being an American, they are not my tax dollars being spent, and I do not know how effective the outlay is, but I like the fit between NASCAR, its fans, and the armed forces. This relationship began more than 30 years ago, and while Americans are not perfect, none of us are, they do have every reason to be proud of who they are, what they have accomplished, and of those who guard their freedoms.

This weekend the boys have off, but they return for the Brickyard 400 at the end of July. Edwards needs a win, so does Paul Menard, while the likes of Newman and Logano need to catch Kyle Busch in points…or win again. As for Jeff Gordon, he’ll take two, please. Enjoy the next couple of weeks.

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