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Nascar at Kansas After Chatter: Race 3 of the Chase Sees The Standings Tighten Up

In a season that has been full of drama, excitement and feel good stories, race three of the Chase brought the points closer together for the Chasers and increased the number of possible contenders for the coveted Sprint Cup trophy just seven short races away. For real Nascar fans everywhere, the news couldn’t be better.

After the season Nascar has had, it would be a real shame to see the Chase narrowed down to only three or four of the the front runners so soon in the Chase. From this fan’s view, I can think of nothing better than for the tightening of the points to continue right on down to Homestead and see six to eight contenders all in the hunt at that last race. Nothing would make me happier than to see the Champion crowned by actually winning the final race of the season rather than finishing at a certain position to lock the others out. Now, I seriously doubt that will happen, but I do think it would be great if it did.

None of this is new news and it certainly isn’t the only news, but it is good news still.

One of the other hot topics after the race had to do with the inspection of the cars of Tony Stewart’s #14 and Kurt Bush’s #2, (which is a normal procedure), and the re-inspection of the #48 and #5 cars also. It is my understanding that the Hendrick #48 and #5  cars were re-inspected at their request, (although I admit my information is here-say.)

This also lead to Jack Roush playing seeming mind games (and that’s this fan’s opinion) against the Hendrick cars saying “he had heard…” certain things about the Hendrick cars that were found too close to tolerances in last weeks inspections. He was basically trying to put added pressure on the Hendrick camp by inserting the assumption that the cars were not really legal, (hmm, that is also this fan’s opinion) and I do believe it is more to add to the competitive pressure of trying to win the Chase and hopefully cause the Hendrick teams to make mistakes that could open the door for his teams to take advantage of. It wouldn’t be the first time someone used that ploy in Nascar.)

I talked briefly about the Nascar statement in the, “Nascar at Kansas Pre-race article” before the race.) I still feel the same way that I did then. The way I understand the situation is that, in their present state, there is no margin for error left on the cars that were inspected. This leads me to conclude that Nascar is sending out a warning to all the teams that pressing the envelope so closely could lead to penalties just because the box is so tight. I think they are just trying to keep something unfortunate from happening that can absolutely be avoided. Nascar is trying to avoid future problems by making clear what they see as a looming potential problem that can be avoided by all teams.

Yeah, I know there are those of you that have a different opinion about the matter and, believe me, I respect your thoughts on this matter. I just think too much can be made of this situation and that the warning was issued to avoid potential situations with all teams. Everyone knows, (or at least should know) that engineers and crew chiefs worth their salt in racing are always going to press the envelope just as far as they can.

From this fan’s view, they are just doing what they normally do within the stated rules, and that is why the sport has a rule book and also why those rules are changed at times to hopefully make any misinterpretation of a rule less likely.

I remember a statement from the rule book for our local track that said, “Just because the rule book doesn’t say you can’t do it, doesn’t mean you can.” That’s a statement that covers a pretty broad range of possibilities and I don’t think that statement was only found in the rule book for our local track…

The way I see the standings at this point in the Chase is there are several teams that are almost completely out of contention for the Sprint Cup. I don’t think I am alone in thinking that, barring some miraculous intervention, Brian Vickers is probably out of contention for this year by being 250 points out of first. That doesn’t mean he will finish 12th but he certainly has his work cut out for himself.

I know it is still a little too soon to rule out these next guys, but they also have their work cut out for themselves. Kasey Kahne is 190 points out of first and Carl Edwards and Ryan Newman are 165 and 164 points behind. Of those three, Ryan Newman and Carl Edwards still have a chance in my thinking, but, they have to finish in the top five over the next seven races and they will also need a lot of help from those that are consistently running at the front. In other words, I think their chances are very slim although this is another one of those times that because this is Nascar the unexpected can happen, (although I seriously doubt it…)

See ya next time…
(all views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer)
© October 7, 2009 – all rights reserved
Just A Fan’s View and Rusty Norman


By Rusty Norman

Amateur writer, NASCAR Fan, musician and former local Stock Car racer.