[media-credit name=”Tyler Barrick/Getty Images” align=”alignright” width=”299″][/media-credit]Now, that was a race worth watching. The lead changed, some cars got bopped. It did not look a thing like Formula One where every one goes real fast in a single line train, where one lap looks just like any other. Kansas provided every argument as to why we watch NASCAR.
Sure, we had new pavement and tires that when pop a little too soon. The cautions threw a new wrinkle into the action, as well as a few entries. Nothing was etched in stone as cars did their own etching on the fence. Leaders came to the front, faded to the back, and while Matt Kenseth returned to win it all, some were not so lucky.
Aric Almirola, looking like a young pre-mustache Richard Petty, took his #43 car for a good ride up front for a time. That was before he eventually touched the wall a couple of times to end his day early. Jimmie Johnson rode up front, put his back end to the wall, and saw his crew work some real magic to keep him running to come home with a rather miraculous Top Ten performance.
Payback is a bitch. Just ask Landon Cassill. Getting upset with a fellow competitor is understandable. Trying to wreck the SOB is not out of the ordinary. However, when attempting a PIT manoeuver on the track, it is best to retain control of one’s own vehicle so it is the other guy parked in the garage. Danica Patrick is still learning.
In Charlotte, Kurt Busch finished 21st while the guy who he replaced, Regan Smith, wound up 38th after the engine blew on Dale Earnhardt Jr’s usual ride. In Kansas, Smith took his Juniormobile to 7th, while Kurt wound up in 25th. Maybe what is keeping Furniture Row from running with the big boys has nothing to do with their driver. With Earnhardt returning this weekend, Smith is out but I think he more than helped his cause for a full-time ride somewhere for next season.
The Chase is down to no more than five drivers contending for the title, unless bad things happen to Brad and Jimmie over the final four events. Keselowski retained a seven point lead over Johnson, with Denny Hamlin (20 points back), Clint Bowyer (25), and Kasey Kahne (30) in the rearview. Not bad, but the change in the points system has provided evidence that maybe the Chase is not only an artificial way of providing late season excitement, but an unnecessary one. After Kansas, the non-Chase standings would show…
1 Jimmie Johnson – 1114 pts
2 Brad Keselowski – 1109 -5
3 Greg Biffle ——- 1096 -18
4 Matt Kenseth —- 1089 -25
5 Clint Bowyer —– 1077 -37
Just as having the fastest 36 cars qualifying make the race, with the rest filled in by being amongst the best on the season just having a bad day, again making sense, so does having a champion declared by their season-long performance. Sometimes change is a good thing, but not always. It would appear that NASCAR really should have changed the points system first, instead of instituting the Chase.
This Sunday the boys (and girl) head to Martinsville. It is a place where Jeff Gordon has won seven times, Johnson has six, with Hamlin having collected the checkered flag four times. In five attempts, Keselowski has finished between 9th and 19th. Sunday could turn out to be a very good day for one of our top three. What do you think?