Less than three months to Christmas! If that does not come as good news, then hopefully you are all aquiver over the fact that there are eight races remaining in the NASCAR season. If that does not spark your excitement, enjoy the baseball playoffs and the football season, provided they have not yet ticked you off to the point that you want to boycott them all. Maybe you might like to tune into a few food-related programs. Isn’t Guy Fieri still stopping by those diners, drive-ins, and dives?
I guess you could say that sometimes you do not get exactly what you hoped for in life, especially in these times. If you did not want Kyle Busch to advance to the next round of the Chase, New Hampshire was not for you. If you did, then you are happy that he joins Martin Truex Jr. as locked into the dozen drivers who will advance. They are not alone, as points already assure that Kyle Larson, Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, and Matt Kenseth will be joining them. Ten others are not out of the woods, and four of them will stay in the forest after Dover. As to how we got to where we are, let us see how things went last Sunday in Loudon. It began as it ended, with Busch the Alpha and the Omega on this day as he started from the pole and led the opening lap.
Mind you, it was not all Busch all the time. Truex decided to go to his favorite place, while Larson took over second during the opening segment. Nine Chasers, along with Erik Jones, were up front to this point. All were still on the lead lap, though Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was not among the Top Twenty. Clipping the wall seven laps in saw his four-point deficit in the standings to make the cutoff increasing as they went.
Truex appeared to have the next stage in hand, at least before Austin Dillon sent Kevin Harvick for a spin. Happy sent up billows of tire smoke trying to keep from going around, but when he came to rest in the middle of the track no one could see. Kurt Busch did not when he ran into him. Behind them, Truex and Dale Earnhardt Jr. made contact trying to avoid the roadblock. Then they backed up into each other in trying to get their cars turned around to face in the right direction. Even Hamlin was involved as they waved the red flag to sort out the mess.
When it came time begin the final run, one Busch was back in front, while the other joined Harvick in the garage. In fact, other than three laps under caution led by Truex, it was all Rowdy from that point. Kasey Kahne picked up a flat, intentionally caused a caution, got penalized, but his problems turned out to be more than deflated rubber. Kahne finished 35th, Harvick 36th, and Brother Kurt 37th, while Rowdy picked up his 41st career victory and third of the season.
Heading to Dover next Sunday, the Top Ten are fine. That includes Harvick, who has enough in the bank to go into the next event 25 points to the good. Jamie McMurray is nine up, leaving Stenhouse and Dillon tied for the final cutoff spot, one ahead of Ryan Newman. Unless those final three all wreck early next week, it will be all about winning for Kurt and Kahne if they want to keep their hopes alive for the 2017 title.
Truex and Kyle smile after finishing the Magic Mile. The other Kyle, Brad, Denny, and Matt are sound to advance to the next round. Among the other 10, for six the Chase will not end. For four it will all be over by the time they complete the race at Dover.
Come to think of it, my poetry is something like having Christmas just three months away. Some like it; others, not so much. If it upsets your sensitivities, you can always take a knee in protest.