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Hardly anyone talks about anybody but the top two in the Chase anymore. That is, unless you consider the honorable mentions Clint Bowyer (and sometimes Kasey Kahne) get as a side note in just about any conversation about the Chase. Since Bowyer is 36 points behind the top two and Kahne 58, it probably is down to the two (at least from this fan’s view.)
Much like last year with Stewart and Edwards, the drama is pretty thick for the competition between Johnson and Keselowski but this weekend at Phoenix could prove to make things a little more interesting. Jimmie Johnson will be starting 24th and Keselowski 14th and, though it isn’t likely, either one or both of them could have a bad race and it could actually tighten up the standings and put both Kahne and Bowyer back in the hunt for the finale at Homestead next weekend.
In all honesty (at least from this fan’s view) it would take both of the two points leaders having not just a bad day, but a terrible day. The chances of both of them having that kind of day is about zero and none but, one of them could and make next week all the more uneventful. Let’s just say one of them (and I really don’t care which one you insert at this point) has an unexpected failure and finishes somewhere around 35th or so. The outlook for the race at Homestead would be more about who finishes second and third instead of all the focus being on which one might be number one. Do you think that would put a crimp in the excitement and attendance? Unfortunately, this fan thinks it would…
Sure I know the chances of it happening that way probably don’t even enter into the realm of possibility in most people’s minds and there are good reasons for that. I can’t even say I think it is that possible but, I do understand there is at least the slightest chance of either Jimmie Johnson or Brad Keselowski having an unusually bad race.
You see, I like to think about the most outrageous possibilities happening simply because I know they can. Not because they’re likely, but because they’re unlikely. Besides, we’ve all seen some very interesting things happen during runs for Championships and last year is a prime example. I mean who would have thought last years battel would come down to a tie-breaker?
Yeah I know this sounds a little far-fetched but I also know this could be the weekend in the Chase that neither Johnson or Keselowski wins the race. In fact, Kyle Bush looks to be the most likely but I’m not ready to hand it to him on the platter yet. With the way his luck has been running this year, it is quite possible he could drop to the back like a rock after the green flag drops. Now, I don’t think Kyle thinks too much about what might happen (since everything that could go wrong probably has this year) but he probably isn’t quite thinking he’ll be pulling into Victory Lane just yet either. All he knows for sure is that he is sitting on the pole with a new track record and had the fastest speeds during the practice sessions, too. After that, even Kyle will admit anything could happen to his chances of winning (although they do look very good for him at the moment.)
As I’ve mentioned more than once this year, there’s something to be said for “racing luck” and he’s had his share of it this year (along with several others.) Of course you know I’m talking about “bad” racing luck as opposed to that other kind, don’t you? He and several others have certainly had a lot of it in 2012. (Don’t worry… I’m not going to go through that list again – I’m sure you all have it memorized by now.)
The way I see it (and maybe I should add, at least from my view) is there are two or three ways this race is going to go down. The first is that a non-Chaser is going to win (and I’m not assuming it will be Kyle Bush.) Aric Almirola, Kurt Bush, Paul Menard and Regan Smith have all had their moments this weekend and, depending on how things pan out at the end of the day any one of them could end up in Victory Lane.
A second possibility is that someone other than the top two in the Chase will win and there are several to choose from. Unfortunately, it is not easy to pick just one over the others. Clint Bowyer, Matt Kenseth, Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon and Denny Hamlin are all possible winners and I really can’t rule out Martin Truex Jr or Tony Stewart either. In fact, any of the twelve Chasers have a chance even though I don’t expect it.
I do expect the race this afternoon to be a fuel mileage race even though I’m expecting more than a few cautions. It has been pretty obvious during the practice sessions that staying in the black worked much better that drifting into the grey. (Of course you all know I talking about staying in the groove, right? … Right.)
Oh… and that third possibility? That’s easy. Brad Keselowski finishes ahead of Jimmie Johnson, makes up all the necessary points and we go to Homestead with them in a tie or only separated by a couple of points…
See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© November 11, 2012 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
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