Thank God for Kasey Kahne. With no Kahne, the broadcast of the Dover race would have been about as exciting as watching a Soap Box Derby contest in Saskatchewan, or a downhill ski event in Saskatchewan, or an outdoor performance of the Sound of Music…in Saskatchewan. The hills might be alive, but they are nowhere to be found. Sort of like waiting for drama at Dover, except for the performance of Kasey Kahne. He came in six points in the Chase. It almost proved to be not enough.
When Kasey’s crew left him with a loose wheel after a pit stop, he needed to come in. In doing so, he went two laps down. When he needed a green lap stop later, he went down four. He just did not stay there. Pit strategy and cautions fell at the right time, his car was just that good, and in the end Kahne finished Dover in 20th. Not great, but it was enough, by two points, to continue in the Chase.
Aric Almirola was buried in 41st after Chicago, and 28th in Delaware kept him buried. A.J. Allmendinger was six to the good on Saturday, but Dover is a track he historically does not do well at. History won, as he finished 23rd, and it was Kahne who advanced.
I had thought Greg Biffle might be the man. He was, but the car was not. Usually good on this track, he was 21st when he needed a top fifteen. Kurt Busch was 18th, but after the disaster at Loudon only a top ten would have saved him. As for Denny Hamlin, he was six points out of it coming in, but a 12th place finish cured his ills and all is forgiven up to and including Talladega.
Now, the top dozen are even, 3000 points for everyone in a 12 driver tie. Jimmie Johnson has 14 Top Tens, along with a couple of wins, in sixteen tries at Kansas. That bodes well for him. Jeff Gordon, who won at Dover has three on the plains, so he should do well. Other Chasers with strong Kansas resumes include Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski, and Kevin Harvick. Oh, Kyle Larson seems to like the place, too. I am starting to think the kid is on a scouting mission for next year.
Not everyone likes Kansas, though after Dover I can not imagine it being a worse televised experience than that. Hamlin and Dale Earnhardt Jr. do not exactly burn up this venue. Same goes for Ryan Newman. However, there are two gents who have a tough time just cracking the top twenty there. It could be an interesting day for Joey Logano and Kyle Busch.
In case you missed it, Kyle Busch won another Nationwide race last weekend. I went to the bathroom last weekend, and so did you. Look at that, an entire paragraph totally unnewsworthy.
There is no question that the stats that spit out after Kansas should be interesting. We have great story lines, strong characters, but sadly I believe the NASCAR movie just does not measure up to the book.
1 – Brad Keselowski – 1 Win – 2140 Points – *
2 – Joey Logano – 1 – 2136 – *
3 – Jeff Gordon – 1 – 2117 – *
4 – Kevin Harvick – 0 – 2123 – 46 Points In
5 – Jimmie Johnson – 0 – 2121 – 44
6 – Kyle Busch – 0 – 2111 – 34
7 – Dale Earnhardt, Jr. – 0 – 2104 – 27
8 – Matt Kenseth – 0 – 2097 – 20
9 – Ryan Newman – 0 – 2091 – 14
10 – Carl Edwards – 0 – 2091 – 14
11 – Denny Hamlin – 0 – 2081 – 4
12 – Kasey Kahne – 0 – 2079 – 2
13 – A.J. Allmendinger – 0 – 2077 – 2 Points Out
14 – Kurt Busch – 0 – 2073 – -6
15 – Greg Biffle – 0 – 2072 – -7
16 – Aric Almirola – 0 – 2061 – 18