Will Loudon Be Magic For the Chasers?


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Compared to the week before at Richmond, this last weekend at Chicago was relatively tame. Of course there was that five plus hour rain delay and the day race that turned into a night race and a shake up in the points for the thirteen Chase contenders.


After the way things turned out for some of the Chasers in Chicago, the talk all week has been about whether or not anyone can really have a “mulligan” (or throw away race) and still contend for the Championship. From this fan’s view, I reckon that remains to be seen. One thing about this year’s Chase though, the competition is stiff and anyone that has a bad weekend absolutely has to finish inside the top five to make up for it and hope the other Chasers ahead of them have bad finishes at the same time.


This fan finds it interesting how so many have already given the edge for taking the 2013 Championship to Matt Kenseth and we’ve only had one of the ten Chase races. I’m not one of those yet but he has had an extremely good year since switching from Roush Racing to JGR. He also has a lot of confidence and momentum going into this race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.


Well, that is until you listen to him talk about the “Magic Mile” and what he thinks of his chances. Matt admits that Loudon definitely hasn’t been all that “Magic” for him and isn’t one of his stronger tracks. This fan gets the impression he faces it with a ‘wait and see’ attitude. The #20 JGR team has been strong all year on the mile and a half tracks and we all know half of the Chase races are on tracks of that size. Judging from their performance in the first twenty six races, one would have to think they really do have an advantage for possibly winning the 2013 Cup Championship. So far, this fan thinks it is way too soon to make that call.


Why would I say that? Well that is a good question and I’m glad you asked. Although there are several reasons, two stand out in my mind in particular. (Actually, I should make that at least three.) In no particular order they would be Kyle Bush, Jeff Gordon and Kurt Bush. All three of these will definitely have something to say about whether or not Matt Kenseth continues on leading in the points battle for the Championship and they’re just the first ones that come to mind.


Kurt Bush has shown he can still drive a race car and has managed to drive the #78 team into the Chase. He has had a fast car every weekend and has performed quite well for a single car team. The biggest problem the team has faced almost every week is beating themselves in the pits for the most part. If they ever get past that, they could press Kenseth for the Championship by the time we get to Homestead.


Kyle Bush has a lot to prove simply because he has not had a good record when it comes to performance in the Chase races he has been in. Even though he has a lot of wins in all the main NASCAR series, he has struggled greatly when it comes down to the Chase (and it really doesn’t matter what year we bring up that he has been in it.) As far as how he did in the first Chase race at Chicago, he has had a good start, but as I mentioned before, that is only the first race of ten and a lot can happen over the next nine weeks to any, and all of the Chasers. It will be interesting to keep an eye on his performance in particular over the next few weeks.


Of these three I’ve mentioned, Jeff Gordon has the most to prove. First of all, he was out of the Chase and then he became the thirteenth competitor in what used to be between ten points qualifiers and two wildcard choices based on numbers of wins and being in the top twenty in points. That usually adds up to twelve Chasers but this year it’s not the case. As I mentioned in my comments after the happenings at Richmond, what a feel good story it would be if he does end up winning this Championship after first being out of the Chase, especially for Jeff Gordon fans.


So, does this fan think these three are the only ones that are going to compete with Matt Kenseth for the Championship this year? Not at all; as I have said in the past, “One race does not a Chase make.”


Well… at least not in the first few Chase races anyway. There are many others wanting to make a statement in this Chase and not all of them are even competing in the Chase itself. Some of the first to come to mind would be Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne. They all want to run good this weekend at Loudon and, to be honest, from this fan’s view they need to .


Of course, I can’t ignore Martin Truex Jr. Of all that happened at Richmond, Truex Jr. was probably affected most by doing the least to affect the outcome as far as the Chase is concerned. I’m sure he would like nothing better than to win about half the remaining races just to make his statement for 2013 and what a statement that would make…


See ya next time…

All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer

© September 21, 2013 – all rights reserved

Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com

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