The Final Word – Kansas was a demonstration as to why we watch NASCAR

[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.

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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

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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?

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of


  1. For the most part I would say Kansas was the best Dull D race of the year…Lets see there was some risky passing (yeah thats spose’d to be there) ..A Few tempers (sometimes it happens) Odd pit issues (entertainment) esp Tony (& did you notice the guy who first pulled out the wrench hadn’t even done the adjustment yet) & Some tires blew (shouldn’t happen) & the darn fuel thing (Oh well guess that strategy) ….Best Kansas race I’ve seen cause they’ve been very dull …& By the way big fan since the 70’s & also like F1 & Indy (oddly F1 is today getting more entertaining (passing) while Nascar is becoming a parade

  2. I would love an explanation about why you think Landon Cassill of all people is an SOB and why it is ordinary for drivers to want to wreck him? I can’t recall any other run-ins he has had in the Sprint Cup Series these past couple of years so please enlighten me. Maybe they just don’t get publicity like this one because they’re not with Danica. And even in this case I don’t Cassill was is in the wrong, just hard racing.

    The only other thing I can think of is when Tony Stewart and Cassill made contact at Dover and wiped out all the start-and-parks behind them. Then in Cassill’s interview he said how Tony was such a quality and patient driver. He took the blame himself and complimented the guy who just wrecked him. That’s why I don’t understand the whole “Trying to wreck the SOB is not out of the ordinary.”

    • NF#1: SOB was meant generically to anyone anybody else thought deserved wrecking for whatever reason, real or perceived. As for the comment regarding payback being a bitch…I simply could not resist. Cheers.

  3. Kansas was definitely NOT why I watch NASCAR. A multitude of crashes and cautions is tedious and draws out a race that is already too long.

    I don’t want to see any crashes at all. I want to see professional drivers driving professionally. I don’t want to see athletes acting like 8 year olds and doling out paybacks to who ever hurt their feelings. I don’t want the majority of passing to occur in pit lane. I want to see talented drivers passing better cars with worse drivers.

    I’m guessing that you’re one of those that picked up on NASCAR in the Nineties when it was the trendy thing to do. This is not what racing is supposed to be. Watch Indycar to see how it’s supposed to work.

    • Actually, I picked up on NASCAR as a kid somewhere in the 1960’s whenever it appeared for short segments on Wide World of Sports. I watch it for the entertainment value, and I thought Kansas was a balance of changes up front, passing, wrecks, and the human aspect of the sport. I made me watch and not wander off. Most races, I find, do not…but we each come to the sport for various reasons. These are mine.


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