Crowning the 2014 Cup Champ at Homestead

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Rusty Norman

And so the season comes down to this… four teams will contend for the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship in a heads up race at Homestead. One race, all four start with the same number of points and one of the four will be crowned the 2014 NASCAR Cup Champion. All any of the four needs to do is finish ahead of the other three and that one becomes the champ. None of the four has to win, none of the four has to run up front and none of the four gets any extra points for anything so, as long as one of them finishes ahead of the other three, that ONE will be the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champ.

So… does that mean we’re in for an uneventful afternoon and evening at Homestead? Well… could be… but probably not. Considering the way the Chase has gone so far, this could be another one of those races that anything could happen (uh, and probably will.)

This will probably aggravate a few people, but it is this fan’s opinion that only one of the four “finalists’ deserves to be there. Well okay, I guess as much I hate to admit it, there are really two.

What I am about to say next “almost” explains what I mean when I say only one of the four “deserves” to be contending in the finale for the Sprint Cup Championship. Kevin Harvick has been the most consistent performer of the four “finalists” for the whole season and could probably have had six or seven wins himself except for some “challenges” he and his team faced throughout the 2014 season. Still he and the #4 team showed up almost every week with the fastest car and often was the car to beat until the “situations” or “challenges” turned their “luck” to the bad side of the equation. In my opinion (and at this point in the Chase) he is the only one of the final four that really deserves to be there.

So I guess you’re probably wondering what in the world I am talking about. Well, in actuality, the rest of the final four are there (at least in this fan’s opinion) because of good racing luck. That has more to do with where they are than any other words so many have liked throwing around, throughout this Chase in particular. Words like consistency, determination and even that ugly word hardly any racer likes to talk about – patience. They all had far less to do with their being where they are at Homestead rather than the ugly beast of “racing luck.” At this point I would also like to add the phrase, “overcoming adversity.” That seems to be another set of words many people have liked to attribute to these other three, also.

Now, don’t misunderstand what I am saying because, having been a fan and a racer and understanding that “racing luck” is something that all racers contend with every time they get in race car, it can either can help you or go against you at any time. This is not something new but it is something that has been made very evident this season and, in particular, during this 2014 Chase.

Take for example Joey Logano. It’s true he has been one of the most consistent and a top performer during the first nine races of the Chase this season but it is also true, had certain circumstances turned out differently in a race or two during the Chase, he would not even be contending for the Cup Championship at this point. Denny Hamlin is another this fan thinks is in the finale because of good racing luck and both of them only have to look back as far as last weekend to see the benefit of it being in their favor and turning their bad day into a good one. Both of them were on the verge of being eliminated from advancing because of certain situations that arose during the race and, as “luck” would have it, the yellows came out at the right time and they were able to get back into contention and end up advancing.

Although slightly different, Ryan Newman is in pretty much the same place as the other two, at least in this fan’s view. He has had a very consistent year and Chase but has no wins this season and wasn’t in a place to advance to the finale with only several laps remaining last week. Once again, as “luck” would have it, a caution came out at just the right time for him and put him right back into contention. Even he admitted he “had to do something (he) wasn’t all that proud of but… you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.” So he forced his way into the Chase by slamming into Kyle Larson, putting him into the wall and gaining the one spot he needed to make it into the Chase.

Although I know there won’t be many that agree with me on these points and there will be those that just might say I’m not happy with the final four racing for the Sprint Cup Championship at Homestead, I do think “racing luck” had a lot to do with at least three of the four finalists making it to this point.

After the race last weekend, I tweeted ( @podcastnorm ) that I thought Kevin Harvick was going to be the 2014 Sprint Cup Champion. Well… now I’ve had a week to think about that tweet and here is what I would like to add…

Jeff Gordon is going to win the race Sunday afternoon at Homestead and Kevin Harvick will be the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion. (Hey, look at it this way… just like twelve of the sixteen Chasers for 2014, I’ve got nothing to lose but, if it happens the way I say, well… as “luck” would have it… I was right… )

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© November 15, 2014 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
All audio productions by and PodCastNorm Productions

Published by Rusty Norman

Rusty Norman is a writer, Big NASCAR Fan, Jesus believer, musician and former local Stock Car racer. singer, songwriter, author and blogger. He was born in Southern Illinois and moved to Florida with his parents in 1962. His first story was published in the 1968 school literary magazine when he was a junior at Cypress Lake High School in Fort Myers, FL. Although he didn't venture into writing immedately, he did begin writing regularly over twenty-five years ago. He has also been a sound technician over the last 40 plus years and produces, almost weekly blogcasts during the racing season on his Nascar websites as well as being involved in the media ministry at First Assembly of God in Fort Myers, FL. He maintains several websites, each with a different focus, and continues writing songs, poetry and short stories along with articles like those found in his "Living Life Notes" series. He has just released the first of three planned books in the Living Life Notes series. The second is expected to be released in the middle to late September of this year and the third is planned to be released sometime in 2015. He also has several other books and stories in the works as well,