Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Worst NASCAR Race is Better Than The Best Football Game!

Well, I gotta' say, this was, over all, a pretty boring weekend of racing what with Kyle Busch leading all the laps in the Nationwide race and Brad Keselowski leading almost all the laps in the Cup race. Maybe my expectations were too high. The media had billed Richmond as a fight to the death - the last race to try to get into the Chase. Mild-mannered drivers like Jamie McMurray promised to wreck anyone that got in their way. It was going to be intense as drivers who'd won gouged for the extra points that came with another win and drivers who were desperate for those last two Chase spots went at it no holds barred. Restarts, they said, were going to be crazy.

So what we got was Brad in the lead through lots of green flag racing. Brad getting away on every restart of which there weren't many and those were for a) a competition caution, b) a fan climbing the fence and c) a couple of debris cautions. If there was any bumping and grinding, I didn't see it. I'm not saying the drivers who had the most of lose by not making the Chase didn't drive hard but often there was no where to drive to when everyone got strung out and just held serve. In the end, the same 16 drivers who started the race in Chase positions still held those position when it was over.

Maybe part of it was the hot, humid weather. Jimmie collapsed from dehydration after the race and I expect several of the others probably felt nearly as bad.

Anyway, onward and upward to the Chase now that we know who the 16 teams will be.

I have to admit that for those of us whose favorite drivers locked themselves into the Chase early on, it has been rather pleasant to watches the races without stress. Not that we didn't want our guys to do well in every race, on the other hand, we were sort of "ho hum, not to worry, our team is safely in."

Now anxiety will again be a constant companion during every race and this year, it will be clear to the very end if our driver gets that far.

It seems to me that at this point, the strongest teams going into the championship run are the two Penske teams, Jeff Gordon and Kevin Harvick. (Remember when Brad said he thought Penske was a year behind Hendrick? ha!ha!) Behind them, Junior is a possibility. Far be it from me to doubt the six-time champion but Team 48 seems just a little off. Their last few races have been a big improvement over that dismal stretch they had a few weeks ago but their finishes have only been so-so, not outstanding, so we'll see if they can once again pull a rabbit out of a hat. JGR seems too inconsistent (although this format could suit a streaky driver like Kyle Busch). Same goes for Kasey. Roush? It would take a miracle. Almirola and Allmendinger? No way.

So, yes, this weekend was rather humdrum but at least it wasn't football!