In watching NASCAR we tend to learn stuff. For example, after being winless the entire season Tony Stewart taught us that one can open the Chase with two straight victories after he claimed the prize again at Loudon, New Hampshire.
[media-credit name=”CIA Stock Photo” align=”alignright” width=”247″][/media-credit]It helps when one is surrounded by those who can contribute to making such good things happen. Tony recently jettisoned some deadwood to help things along, though he did not go into detail when pressed by the press.
Stewart leads Kevin Harvick by seven points, 11 up on Sunday’s runner-up Brad Keselowski, and fourteen ahead of Carl Edwards. Everyone else is more than 20 points away, including Jimmie Johnson, who is 29 off the pace.
By the way, Deadwood is a city in South Dakota best known for being the resting place of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane. No Cup drivers hail from Deadwood.
A good day can go terribly bad, as both Hickok and Dale Earnhardt Jr can attest. Tire problems killed what had been a good day for Junior. He is 26 points behind Stewart, tied with Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch. They are three back of Jeff Gordon, and one ahead of Johnson.
Still there are a lot of miles yet to travel before this is done. It is also darn near a thousand miles between Columbus, Indiana, the hometown of Tony Stewart, and Deadwood. Deadwood is usually cooler, but not this week.
Denny Hamlin is not hot. In fact, even if Hamlin dominates and wins this weekend at Dover while the other Chasers stayed home, he would remain at least 18 points out of top spot.
A top modified driver is Jessica Zemken, a 25-year old blonde out of New York state who has stated that her favorite track is Eldora Raceway in Ohio. It is the track owned by Tony Stewart. To the best of my knowledge, she has never raced in Deadwood.
This spring, Matt Kenseth won at Dover. Kyle Busch won the year before, while Johnson has won three of the past five events run there. In fact, he has claimed six on the Monster Mile since 2002. Tony Stewart last won up in Delaware when he swept the two races in 2000.
There are people who look hot, and there are those who say things when they are hot. It was hot when we visited Deadwood in 2009, and even hotter when we were at the Custer Battlefield in Montana. As my boys did not have a real appreciation for either locale, no doubt due to having not watched Little Big Man, I’m glad Vince Welch did not stick a microphone in their faces to ask them what they thought. They might have said something inappropriate.
Deadwood is 50 miles from Mount Rushmore, but the sculpture on the minds of Cup drivers this week is the one handed out at the Monster Mile in Dover. If there was a track on which Johnson might rebound to challenge for his sixth straight title, it would be there. Failing that, the crown could be bound for one who has worn it twice before. I wonder what he would have to say about that. Enjoy the week!