On to Dover this Sunday, and down to a dozen championship contenders. Once again, as we enter the second round of eliminations, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick look solid. So does Martin Truex Jr. Not so for everyone else.
They thought Talladega was a wild card. Boy, something tells me that Charlotte’s Roval is going to test them like never before. This one makes the World 600 nothing more than a nice test, a rest in some ways, before the storm coming their way on Sunday.
We know some things. In these times, some folks do not seem to know anything, but we do. Brad Keselowski is advancing to the next round. After Saturday night in Richmond, it should be confirmed that Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch will be joining him. I feel pretty confident about Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano about now.
Change is coming to NASCAR. Not the kind that makes people return in droves to the grandstands, but the change that always comes through the passage of time. Martin Truex Jr. moves to a new team, as his old one folds. That means Daniel Suarez is on the move, replacing the retiring Kasey Kahne. Jamie McMurray is in search of a new ride and we await word as to what the future holds for Kurt Busch.
I had such high hopes for NASCAR, at least since July. That is when NBC came on board, and presented the long sought after broadcast crew that could keep fans glued to the track simply by the strength of their commentary. We have waited years for that to happen, and it is crucial for a sport that has yet to solve some on-track competitive issues and more than a few off it. If the racing is not spell binding, then the commentary damn well better be if you hope to have anyone watching.
Tradition. On Sunday, NASCAR returns to its traditional roots, to the track that was Daytona before Bill France replaced the beach-road course with his 2.5-mile architectural marvel. Before the Daytona 500, the marquee event was held in Darlington.
Sometimes the news can be a little over-hyped. For example, no matter what you might hear, Kyle Busch is going to claim the bonus for the most points garnered by the time they leave Indianapolis. Kevin Harvick would need to close the gap by 21 points in each of the remaining three events to change that, and that is not going to happen. It is a done deal.
Jimmie Johnson. Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch. Kevin Harvick. Martin Truex, Jr. Denny Hamlin. Brad Keselowski. Kyle Larson. Chase Elliott. These men are NASCAR. These men, a few women, and so many others made the sport. Were the sport. Are the sport. Brian France is not NASCAR. There is a reason 97 percent of all family businesses do not survive as such into the fourth generation.
If we determine who is an actual contender, versus being just a pretender race in and race out, based on an average 20th place result, our field would be reduced to 22. Add William Byron and Jamie McMurray to the bottom of our list, and that is all you need to be concerned about.
Another race, another win for one of the Big Three. Twenty races down and just seven individual drivers with a tick in the win column. That means, at most, 13 drivers could have a victory by the time they decide who makes the Chase. Something tells me we will not reach anywhere close to that number of winners.