The view from Richmond cleared up and revealed the twelve finalists into NASCAR's convoluted Chase/playoff format. Regular readers know that I'm no fan of the Chase, and that still hasn't changed. Where else could a driver with ONE top five finish make the playoffs, but another driver with FOUR wins doesn't?
I know, I know, they all play by the same rules, NASCAR rewards consistency, yada, yada, yada. I might be impressed if the championship goes down to the wire; not the race for 12th place. If the driver who wins the title this year is the same guy that most of us think will, can we just rename it 'The Chase for Second Place'?
CHECKERED FLAG............Local boy, Denny Hamlin won at his home track, finally. He's been running strong as we go into the Chase. JGR only having one car in the Chase should help him get better equipment, but don't look for him to win the title this year.
GREEN FLAGS........Kurt Busch (2), Jeff Gordon (3), and Mark Martin (4) all had strong runs and solidified their Chase dreams. Brian Vickers (7) kept Kyle Busch (5) in his sights all night and raced into the Chase. Sam Hornish finished 7th after spinning through the infield. I bet Sam leads the league in top-10 finishes after bringing out at least one caution during a race.
YELLOW FLAGS.........Matt Kenseth was the only driver to fall out of the top 12 in points, and thus miss the Chase, at Richmond. Tony Stewart finished 17th. He has had bad runs in 3 of his last four races. Not the way to enter the Chase for the points leader. Carl Edwards had problems all night after winning the NNS race the previous night.
BLACK FLAG.......ABC/ESPN.......Matt Kenseth was the driver who was in, then fell out of the Chase. So, who is the very first driver's face that they stick a microphone in? No, not Matt. Maybe Hamlin, the winner? No, not him. ABC thought they would get a good sound bite, or maybe even a tirade, at the very least a little tantrum by rushing Kyle Busch as he climbed from his car. Congrats to Kyle for not coming through for them.
RED FLAG.........Stop it Kyle. Please don't turn into Robo/Corporate/Driver. We already have 42 of them out there.
P.S. Poll results to make the Chase:
Kyle Busch 80%
Matt Kenseth 10%
Brian Vickers 10%
One person voted for Vickers. You know who you are.