The Final Word – After New Hampshire, we are down to three contenders heading to Dover

No one wishes Matt Kenseth any bad fortune, but if something should happen, like a 35th place at Dover next weekend, I am sure a dozen other fellows would not be terribly upset.

Things have gone so right for the 2003 Cup champion since moving from the Roush to the Gibbs racing stable. For the first time, he has won seven races in a single season, and for the first time in 28 starts he is a winner in New Hampshire. All this in his 500th career start, where only Richard Petty was victorious on the day he reached the same milestone.

Come to think of it, bad things for both Kenseth and team mate Kyle Busch probably would not tear up the opposition terribly much. Rowdy has ran second in both Chase events, and trails Matt by 14 points in the chase for the title. Let us sum up. Over the past five events, Carl Edwards won a race, Kyle won another, and Kenseth has claimed three. So much for sharing.

American Muscle

Jimmie Johnson remains in the hunt, and as of right now he is the only other invitee to this party. A fourth place result, following a fifth at Chicago, has him 18 points in the rearview. That is just half the distance the fourth ranked team of Edwards is sitting, with seven of the 13 contenders now 40 or more points back. They need to see smoke, bad tires, bad handling, loose lug nuts, a broken jack, a meeting with a wall, an alien abduction of a certain somebody, something to get them all back into contention.

Rating New Hampshire – 6/10 – I believe I have seen more exciting soccer games. It was not an entertaining broadcast by any measure, not visually and certainly not from the announcers, unless you were cheering for Kenseth or Shrub. If so, give it a 9. With ESPN departing after next season, do not expect things to improve anytime soon. Well, not until February.

Expect Johnson to do well at Dover on Sunday, where he has won 7 in 23 attempts, compiling 16 Top Tens. Mind you, nine Chasers have wins there, with Kenseth having a couple himself. Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, and Kasey Kahne have not yet tasted victory on the Monster Mile. In nine races, Logano has led just one lap, but considering what went down at Loudon he just might win the damn thing. Well, maybe if he still drove for Joe Gibbs.

But that honor belongs to Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch, with Jimmie Johnson a Hendrick co-star in this production as they move to Delaware. As long as that trio continues to run well, this Chase is over for the other ten. Enjoy the week.

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