Richmond is the place for the last race before the Chase and it should prove to be a very interesting evening of racing tonight. It will also be the end for some and a beginning for others. Now why in the world would I say something like that…? Well… because it is, that’s why.
For some, any hope they had of making the Chase will end after tonight’s race. For some of the others, it will be the end because they just didn’t have a good night or someone’s accident or miscue will take them out and they will fall just shy of the points they need to make it in. For the others it will be a beginning because they finished well or at least “good enough” to make it in and the next part of the 2016 season begins for them. All of them will continue to compete for the rest of the season but some of them won’t be competing for the Cup Championship. That part will only be reserved for the final 16 that we will be able to name after the race tonight is over. Boy, does that sound confusing…
I am sure none of this is new news to anyone but there are around six or seven drivers that really need to have a good night but unfortunately, there will only be space for three of them especially if one of those presently in wins. There are a number of ways things could be shaken up but we don’t need to go into that here. I just know there is a lot of pressure on Ryan Newman, Jamie Mc Murray, Austin Dillon, Kasey Kahne and yes, even Chris Buescher. All of them have to make a strong run tonight and let the cards fall as they may. If one of them wins, well, that’s game over for at least one of the others.
Chris Buescher has the most to lose if he has a bad night. He has to stay in the top thirty in points and that could be a problem for him if he has trouble of some sort. He has a win so that puts him in but only if he can stay in the top 30 in points. Unfortunately he could drop out of the top 30 just about as easily as he can stay in if he gets caught up in someone else’s problem or has one of his own.
Ryan Newman has definitely been working hard to get into the top 16 since he has no win but, unless he pulls out a victory tonight, he will need a little help from his competitors. He is looking to press the envelope tonight and finish at or near the front and hope those ahead of him have problems of some sort or maybe just some really bad finishes. RCR really needs him and Austin to have a good race and nothing would make Richard Childress happier than to have both in the mix for the Chase.
Jamie McMurray also stands to lose the most with a bad finish or some sort of major failure. It could cost him any chance of being in the Chase. Well, that is unless he wins and then… well… let’s just say that puts things in a whole new perspective for him, Chip Ganassi racing and momentum going into the Chase. Since Kyle Larson won his first race a few weeks ago, he has been looking awfully strong and he and his team have been showing up with something for the other teams to look at. If both he and Jamie make the Chase that could make the other teams really take notice and could mean one of them might be in the hunt for the Championship when everyone arrives at Homestead for the final race.
All of the ones that already have one or more wins just want to get through tonight’s race and move on to the Chase. They have nothing to gain or lose from running either good or bad unless we consider the only thing that could make a difference for them is winning. If that happens, they not only pick up the winner’s check but add a victory to their accomplishments and three points added to their points at the reset for the first weekend of the Chase. Other than that, they just want to focus on the first round of the Chase and work on performance in that.
There are a lot of “ifs” and “if onlys” on the line for tonight but none of them will become realities until the race gets started and someone either wins or things get really mixed up. As for this fan’s opinion, I’m not sure how things will go but I am sure it is going to be a night filled with drama and should prove to be very interesting right down to the final lap. Well… that’s my opinion – what’s yours??
See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© September 10, 2016 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
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