Monday, October 20, 2014

Four Down, Seven To Go


1 Joey Logano 4000 ---
2 Kevin Harvick 4000 ---
3 Brad Keselowski 4000 ---
4 Matt Kenseth 4000 ---
5 Jeff Gordon 4000 ---
6 Ryan Newman 4000 ---
7 Carl Edwards 4000 ---
8 Denny Hamlin 4000 ---

I don't join any fantasy NASCAR games on the internet but I always make a grid for myself just for fun. I have a pretty good record for predicting finalists. I might not get the entire list but I usually have the few most likely to be at the top toward the end. I would expect most people who predict with their heads and not their hearts could do the same. Because, the fact is, the best of the season are usually pretty obvious by the time we get down to the last six or so races. The same drivers who excelled all year will most likely keep right on excelling clear through to the end with some rare exceptions.

But not this year. The elimination system throws all those predictions into a cocked hat. You may as well pick your names out of that hat. Were the four who were knocked out, the four who deserved to be knocked out? I guess we all have to decide for ourselves but I'd say no. Should one bad race have determined that Kyle Busch, who was up near the top in points prior to Talladega, got cut in favor some of the others? Again, I don't think so. 

If performance determines outcome, the last four standing in the last round should be Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Jeff Gordon, barring someone going on a hot streak, but we'll see how it comes out in the end. I'll go on a limb and guess the ultimate winner will be Keselowski because he and Paul Wolfe are the most clutch players in NASCAR right now and this win at Talladega will empower them even more. 

I think this race would have been less heartbreaking for me, personally, if Jimmie had had a mediocre race but, to lead the most laps and then get shuffled back at the end, well, that hurt. And, of course, as always, I was rooting for Danica and she was doing so well for a was almost as if the racing gods designed this as a teaser race for me. No, honestly, I don't really take myself that seriously!

I have always disliked team sports and I dislike the team aspect of restrictor plate racing. It was pretty obvious at the last restart when I heard Chad tell Jimmie he had no one who was willing to help him while Brad had a teammate who said, "he'd stick to his bumper like glue" what was likely to happen and sure enough.....

So, Hendrick lost three of their four bullets at one fell swoop. Penske still has both their drivers in. Gibbs has two. SHR has one and RCR has one while Ford/Roush will be counting on Carl. That's a fairly even match in terms of teams and every manufacturer and every major team still has a shot. I expect NASCAR is glad about that. 

Other than that, qualifying was sort of a mess with everyone waiting for someone else to go first and some of them waiting too long. 

I knew NASCAR's penalties for last weekend's fights and fusses and feuds wouldn't be anything that impacted the Chase and I don't think this week's penalty for Newman's failure to pass inspection will either.

I'll continue to watch the races, of course. I think people who say they're going to drop out because their driver isn't in the Chase aren't true fans. After all, their driver is still there, still trying to win and I want to be there to root my guy on whether he's going to be the champion or not. 

Okay, that's all. I have to go make the black wreath to hang on my door now.