On the road…can’t wait to get on the road again…
The Cup boys are at The Glen this weekend for the final road race of the season. I am not a big fan of the road courses, but they are fun to watch at times. This also signals that time in the season where The Chase is growing bigger and bigger in some drivers’ windows and for some they may find themselves on the outside looking in.
If you look at the points standings as they now sit, I would say the first 4 spots, maybe even the top 5 spots are in the Chase. However from 6 to about 14 are pretty much a toss up. There is only 166 points separateing 6th place and 12th place. One bad race and you may be out of it. As of right now Matt Kenseth is sitting in 13th spot, however he is only 11 points out of the #12 spot which is currently held by Clint Bowyer. You can’t count out David Ragan either for making the Chase. He is 46 points back of Clint. Ryan Newman is sitting in the 15th position 173 points back of 12th place, but I don’t know if Newman will be able to make that push towards over the remaining races. At one time I really thought Brian Vickers was going to have a decent shot at making the Chase, but he is now 203 points out of 12th. But as we have seen anything can happen over the next weeks. I mean remember Jeremy Mayfield went into Richmond in 2004 out of the Chase. He had to win the race and lead the most laps…and he did just that.
Just like with anything in sports, it can sometimes be about momentum and who gets hot and goes cold and I think that is what it is going to take for a couple of the drivers to get themselves in position to make the Chase. I think Matt Kenseth will be there after Richmond. If anyone can make that push it is Matt. He has earned 751 points over the last 6 races which is 7th best and he even finished 38th at Indy. Even though Matt has an average finish at The Glen of 16.8 and only 3 top tens, I think he will have a decent points day on Sunday. Keeping it under the radar is Matt Kenseth’s mode of operation. David Ragan may be only 46 points from 12th, this will only be his second visit to the Glen with his Cup car. He finished last year in 32nd. He too will need to keep his focus on the big picture. He will need to drive his race and remember sometimes it isn’t all about winning.
As a Tony Stewart fan, I am hoping he walks away with the trophy this weekend. I really hope that I haven’t dwelled on his lack of victories since last year. I didn’t want to overload the circuits here in The Park. It’s barely running on electricity as it is. Tony is returning to the track where he last saw victory lane in the #20 Home Depot car. Tony has four wins at The Glen, 5 Top 5s and 7 Top 10s with an average finish of 6. Tony will be one of the favorites to cross the finish line in first and for this Tony fan I would love to see him come away with a victory for JGR. Tony isn’t the only driver this year who has yet to see victory lane. I as mentioned earlier in the week, if you had told me Jeff Gordon wouldn’t have a win by now I would think you had been inhaling too many gas fumes. But folks, he has seen victory lane either. It’s not as if Tony and Jeff haven’t been contending for the wins it’s just one of those things where the little things become big things and well there you go. Like Tony, Jeff has been very successful at The Glen. He too has 4 wins. He also has had 6 Top 5s and 8 Top 10s. He has an average finish of 12.4. He finished 9th in last year’s race. So he will definitely be there challenging for the win this weekend.
Like with any road race, we will see our fair share of road race specialists. I am still on the fence about teams bringing in the specialists for these racers. I understand the whole top 35th thing etc, however how can those who are less experienced at road racing learn to road race? I guess it is just one of those things.
And finally…in case you have been living in a cave with no electricity, no television, no radio, no internet, Brett Favre is no longer a Green Bay Packer. He is now a New York Jet. But the drama surrounding the Favre situation is over, but I hope (fingers crossed) the media will back off a little.