So many mixed emotions once the last race of the season is in the books. On one hand I am so glad that it is over. On the other hand I can't wait for next year. Next year, when everything will be different (again). Jimmie Johnson won't win the title next year (again). Kyle Busch will cash in his potential chips (finally). The happiest, yet saddest words, the least believable, but most believable words to a sports fan, "Wait til Next Year!"
In less than three months the multi-hued, buzzing, packs of cars will be circling the asphalt cliffs of Daytona International Speedway. Everyone's personal favorite driver will still have a shot at the championship. The big surprises, and disappointments, of the season will have yet to reveal themselves, and every fan's hopes will be as high as a Dale Jr fan's are.
CHAMPIONSHIP FLAGS......Jimmie Johnson made history by winning his fourth straight NASCAR Cup Championship. Johnson has proven himself to be one of the best drivers of all time during this amazing streak. Perhaps, his crew chief, Chad Knaus is getting too much of the credit? After all JJ still has to drive the car, no matter how good it is. Kyle Busch won the Nationwide Series title, and the race, Saturday in Miami. Ron Hornaday won his fourth Camping World Truck Series title this year.
CHECKERED FLAG......Denny Hamlin closed stongly this year with the win in the season finale on Sunday at Miami. Hamlin wound up fifth in points. Hamlin won four races, a personal best, this year.
GREEN FLAGS.......Jeff Burton (2) and RCR teammate Kevin Harvick (3) continued their late season turnarounds. Kurt Busch was 4th in the race, and also 4th in the final point standidngs. Jeff Gordon (6) and his HMS teammate, Mark Martin (12) finished third and second, respectively, in the points to give owner, Rick Hendrick, another NASCAR first by having the top three for the year.
YELLOW FLAGS......Juan Pablo Montoya received a two lap penalty and caught most of the grief for he and Tony Stewart's on-track scuffle. It appeared that JPM had a tremendous run on Stewart coming off a turn. Stewart then pulled in front of Montoya. Instead of hitting the brakes, JPM hit Smoke. Tony, not accustomed to having his judgement questioned, then tried to push Montoya off the track, cutting Montoya's tire in the process. JPM, after repairs, returned to the fray and spun Stewart around.
RED FLAG.........The undramatic, last race of the season is NOT the Super Bowl, ABC! The actual race took 3 hours, 8 minutes to complete. How long was ABC on the air with their pre and post race coverage? Another six hours?
BLACK FLAG.......NASCAR Czar, Brian France. His press conference from Miami on Friday was an eye opener. His personal appearance was suspect, too. Unkempt, glassy eyed, puffy, and red faced. I've seen that look before (in the mirror), not good! He actually said that Johnson going for five in a row will be the most compelling story in NASCAR next year. I don't know if he believes it, but he said it.
BF, check out the souvineer sales. JJ is nowhere near the top, and he's your top story? He has no following. Even the Little E fans, who are quick to jump on a bandwagon nowadays, won't go near him, and he's a teammate!
We need rivalries, not milk-moustached robo-drivers!