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There is no one that doubts Kansas lived up to every ounce of the expected drama and intensity. Although it may be a bit too early to say it, the Chase just may be over for a couple of those that haven’t fared well in round two. One of those would be Matt Kenseth but, I’ll talk more about that shortly. However you look at the way the Chase is set up, you have to admit it is anything but business as usual when all is said and done. The intensity, the drama – all of it – is off the charts as far as keeping the fans interested throughout the Chase.
With Talladega looming this weekend, there are two things that are definite. One is that there is hardly any way (in fact many would say, “no way”) to predict which driver will win. It could be the one that desperately needs to win to be able to move on to the next round or it could be someone absolutely unexpected, maybe even someone that gets their first win in Sprint Cup. It is almost impossible to call or predict the winner. Unfortunately, that’s just the nature of restrictor plate racing. The second thing is that Talladega is a race that four drivers will be eliminated from moving on to the third round of the 2015 Chase. As we have all heard many times already, Joey Logano is the only one that has absolutely no worries to face no matter where he finishes.
The four considered to be “on the bubble” after the race at Kansas are, Kyle Bush, Ryan Newman, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Matt Kenseth. Only having one way to move on to the third round is Matt Kenseth. Points-wise that’s his only chance – he has to win Talladega. Dale Jr. is in the same boat; he has to win or he is eliminated and that presents a dilemma between the two right off the bat. The only way either of them can move on is to win and only one of them can. Tell me that won’t add to the intensity of every lap, especially when it comes close to dropping the checkered flag and the two of them are in position to win. Wow! That could be very interesting.
The other two on the bubble are Ryan Newman and Kyle Bush but their situation is quite a bit different. Either of them could win and move on or they could finish in the top three or so and just about guarantee they’d move on. Of course that depends on how seven of the eight ahead of them finish and it would mean that a couple of someones in the top eight would have to have terrible days or, at least reasonably terrible.
With only six to eight points separating the two of them from Martin Truex Jr. in eighth place, they have to finish up front and let the cards fall where they may. And don’t forget, there is a three way tie for fifth, sixth and seventh between Kevin Harvick, Jeff Gordon and Brad Keselowski. From this fan’s view, that makes eight in very precarious situations and I imagine they are having a few stressful moments as they prepare for this weekend.
I just can’t close this one out without giving this fan’s view of the situation between Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth. I have heard and read the views of many since Sunday’s race in Kansas and they are pretty much all over the map.
I have never changed my opinion since my own days of short track racing at my local tracks. We’ve all heard the cliché statements like “rubbing is racing” and that is supposed to be one of the cover all statement for moving someone out of the way. Another would be “using the chrome horn” which is another way of saying “putting the bumper” to someone slower than another.
My opinion is that “rubbing is racing” and that there is a big difference between putting the bumper to someone to win and spinning someone out to win. When you use the “chrome horn” you usually move someone out of the way but they don’t generally end up spinning out or into the wall. You’re just letting them know you’re there and you usually give them more than one warning before you do. In this case, I think a lot of it has to do with the maturity level (or the lack of it) of Joey Logano. He is still young and is a talented driver but his attitude is one of win at any cost and, it is my opinion, it will come back to haunt him in the days and seasons ahead. I have no problem with him being really competitive and it will serve him in the near future but, if it continues, he won’t win much respect from those he drives with and he won’t make too many friends.
All of these drivers know how to win and win cleanly but they also know how to take someone out. It is a choice they make to either race someone or just run over them. Many of them choose to not run over but they are not above moving them when they need to.
My hat is off to Matt Kenseth for the maturity and restraint he showed during and after the race at Kansas. It is my opinion he showed what makes him a champion and he showed what his character is. He may not win this coming weekend at Talladega but he also knows his time will come in two ways. First, he will likely win another Sprint Cup Championship and, second, a time for a little payback to Joey Logano will come and he will “choose” to take advantage of it or let it go. Personally, I think he’ll take the opportunity to educate Joey Logano about another old adage… “What goes around, comes around,” which is just another way of saying, “You reap what you sow…”
See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© October 20, 2015 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
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