I know you’ve heard it before, but, the Chase could be all over except for awarding the trophy. Yeah, that’s the word for this weekend’s Ford 400 Nascar finale at Homestead, FL. Whether or not you choose to accept that thinking is up to you. As for me, I think there is enough possibility of something of interest happening that I wouldn’t miss this race for anything.
There’s really no reason to not expect some excitement this weekend and any that can’t be found in the actual race will definitely be pointed out by the commentators in the broadcasts either on ABC TV or Sirius Radio. Now, I’m not saying they’re going to ignore what is actually going on in the race, but I am saying they are going to look for any opportunity to point to something other than Jimmie Johnson running away with the championship by dominating the race.
What?!? Did I just say Jimmie Johnson was going to run away with the Cup Championship this weekend?
Well… yes, I guess I did… kinda…
Look at what he has to do to clinch the title as opposed to what he has to do to lose it. He only has to finish 25th or better to take the Championship. If he performs better than just finishing 25th there is no way he can lose. If he leads the most laps and just generally performs well up to the end of the race, he only has to finish 28th or better. If that doesn’t put a positive spin on his possibilities for being the first in Nascar history to win four in a row, I don’t know what will.
So, why should anyone watch the race?
Well, I’m glad you asked that question because I definitely have an opinion.
The great thing about this thing called racing, (in particular, Nascar racing), is that no matter what the facts say and no matter how definite the outcome may appear, there is always the chance that a disaster can strike at any time and change the end result to the totally unexpected. It all depends on what happens.
There is just enough of a possibility of something other than the obvious happening that it should make for an interesting race. Let’s not forget it is a 400 mile race and not just a trophy dash. Over the distance of that many miles, anything, and I do mean, a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g, can happen. It only takes something as small as a valve stem or a side wall being cut by lapping one of the slower cars. Even an unexpected flat tire at the wrong moment in a lap can end the day for anybody by causing them to careen into the wall. As the media has made more than obvious in the last couple of weeks, let’s not forget what happened on lap three in Texas as Jimmie Johnson was passing Sam Hornish and the incident ended with Jimmie hard into the wall and finishing 38th, which was the best they could do that day. Unfortunately, that is something that could happen again this weekend in the Ford 400 and it can happen to more than just Jimmie Johnson.
As a fan, I don’t think anyone wants disaster to strike the #48 team this weekend, but, I do think there have been so many “feel good” possibilities that have come along during this year that many don’t know which they would actually rather see happen.
The obvious story is Jimmie Johnson honing in on his fourth Cup Championship in a row. Next in line would be Mark Martin having a possibility of taking his first Cup Championship in all of his successful years in Nascar. Although it would take a miracle, there is the absolute slimmest of possibilities that Jeff Gordon could take his fifth Cup Title and that would mean absolute disaster would have strike the #48 and #5 teams very near the start of the race. (The chances of that actually happening is astronomical and I only mention it because it is the slimmest of possibilities.)
Now it comes down to what actually happens in the race this weekend. There are a good number of drivers that can take the victory this weekend. The obvious choices for me other than the top three in the Chase would be names like, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Bush, Juan Montoya, and Tony Stewart. It is even possible it could be someone as unexpected as Marcos Ambrose or Scott Speed and, yes there are some others. Oh, I agree, they are all long shots, but they should be considered as possible winners simply because of their qualifying times, (even though you know I don’t put much stock in those, either.)
Jimmie Johnson has won the pole and made a statement that he is serious about winning this race and not just content to run 25th or better. Although he and Chad Knaus admit there are many things that can happen they cannot control, they are putting forth their best effort to prove they are the dominate team this year and are not just wanting to slide into the Sprint Cup Championship by finishing way back in the field. I don’t know how it is going to turn out on Sunday afternoon, but I do know they are going for the win as well as for the Cup.
Will they do both? I can’t say because this is Nascar and, as I’ve said many times before, anything can happen, but I intend to be watching to see how it all turns out…
See ya next time… Rusty
(all views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer)
© November 21, 2009 – all rights reserved
Just A Fan’s View and Rusty Norman