Monday, September 15, 2014

Chase Expectations

                                           



















Well, hell, I so wanted Kyle Larson to win that race! Still, it was quite a show the kid put on, coming from dead last to compete for the win, even though he finished third in the end. And quite a performance from Brad too when he drove through the middle to take the lead in the final laps. 

It does seem to me that the Miller Lite team has an edge over everyone else at the moment. Whether they maintain it throughout the Chase remains to be seen. My way of choosing who I want to win or lose is simple: I'm against Anyone-Who-Is-Ahead-Unless-It's-Jimmie.

Kevin Harvick seems to be the consistently fastest car as far as plain speed is concerned but that is only part of the equation. The Two has the whole package - speed, horse power, pit stops and a brilliant crew chief paired with a smart, gutty driver. Poor Kevin, even trading pit crews with Tony Stewart's more experienced one, he had to deal with a screw up on pit road. 

Then there is the 24 who also seems to have the wind at their backs this year with a car that is always fast and a driver with a new-found drive and determination (the latter probably a consequence of the former). 

Except for Kyle Larson, I'd say the results of Chicagoland were about what I expected - Brad, Jeff, Kevin, Joey, Dale, Jr, Jimmie have always been my top six, with the 48 still a tick behind. Sucking hind tit were Biffle, Newman, Almirola, Allmendinger....about what I would have guessed as well...although disaster in the first race isn't as catastrophic as in the past so the current standings may not be definitive.

I felt the sorriest for Almirola. He was the biggest surprise to make the Chase and he had such a great run going. He was sixth, I think, when his engine let go. 

So far, the Chase grid is pretty predictable although the race itself was enjoyable and entertaining.

Unlike, the lower series. No sense re-hashing this old argument but watching Kyle Busch swarp the field in the Camping World Truck race...again.... just isn't fun to watch. And he probably would have done almost the same in Nationwide if not for a strategy call that didn't work out. It's not that I dislike Kyle himself driving but Gibbs essentially bringing his Cup team down to win the Owner's Championship (and this almost as true for Penske as well) that strikes me as greedy and unfair.

Speaking of Nationwide, I love the commercial with Chase Elliott, Dale Jr, Bill Elliott - 

This week, we discovered that Marco Ambrose will be leaving the Sprint Cup series. This wasn't a surprise. I think we've sensed for a while that Marcos was unhappy, not having the results in Cup to make up for the homesickness that comes from being thousands of miles away from family and friends in Australia. He gave it the old college try but just hasn't had the success he hoped for. 

I also think it was rather cruel for the police in New York to announce that the investigation into Tony's Stewart's tragic accident was complete but they wouldn't be announcing their findings until this week, keeping Tony on tenterhooks through another race weekend. Why not just say, "the investigation is complete and here's what we've decided"? 

I really can't believe we're down to just nine weeks left in this season. Of course, they most suspenseful nine.