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Nascar At Charlotte After Thoughts: Non-Chaser McMurray Wins and Several Chasers Are Sufferin’

Jamie McMurray became the first non-Chaser to win in the 2010 Chase and what a year he has had. The only thing missing for him is, he isn’t in the Chase… Still, this year he has won the Daytona 500, the Brickyard 400 and now, the Bank of America 500 at CMS. Not too shabby of a year for the man that didn’t really know what he was going to be doing this season. Fortunately, Chip Ganassi offered him the job of driving the #1 Bass Pro Shops Chevy and the rest is history.

Although it was a great night for the non-Chase EGR #1 team, several Chasers had some really bad racing luck and, unless the top three in the Chase have something happen to them in the same ways, it looks to this fan as though it is coming down to a three or four team run for the Sprint Cup. I’m not ruling anybody out just yet, but the points do continue to separate between the top three and the rest. (Yeah, I know there’s still 5 races left, but still yet, there comes a time when the odds just begin to make catching up and passing those ahead of you very difficult.)

Many around NASCAR Nation say you can’t really rule anybody in or out until Talladega, and I do understand what they’re saying, but my view is those top three teams keep on pressing on, or, they have problems and the race tightens up. (Gee, that sounded kinda obvious, didn’t it…)

Like I said, I really don’t know what’s going to happen in the next couple of races, but I do know the same can happen to those top three as happened to Jeff Gordon with his alternator going bad. Up until that part failure, Jeff had been running right up near the front for almost two thirds of the race. It was bad enough he lost the ability to charge his batteries, but he also was caught going too fast entering the pits after that and had to do a drive though penalty just like last week which put him a lap down for the second time on Saturday night. That only made an already bad situation even worse. It’s true, he lost no positions in the Chase but he did fall another 71 points further away from leader Jimmie Johnson. (That puts him 156 points behind the leader going to Martinsville.)

As all of you already know, (if you watched the race), Kurt Bush also had another bad night finishing 30th and losing more points and places in the Chase. His hope for being the first to sweep the Charlotte track for the year just didn’t quite go according to plan. (Six others have failed to do so in the past and he became the seventh.)

Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards struggled the whole night. Stewart finished a very disappointing 21st and never really got going after being caught up in his team-mate, Ryan Newman’s second lap spin and dropped to 177 points behind Jimmie Johnson. (That’s not quite what he was hoping for after winning last week.) Carl Edwards did manage to finish 12th but needed a much better performance (like winning) to make up any ground to the leaders.

Kyle Bush finished a disappointing (at least to him) second behind Jamie McMurray and gained back four of the five spots he lost last week in the points. He led the most laps and looked to have the field covered, but just didn’t have enough for the #1 McMurray EGR team at the end. (He did manage to stay one spot ahead of Jimmie Johnson though.)

At this point, it is interesting to this fan how the top twelve Chasers have faired during the last couple of weeks. Many have had a good week followed by a bad week (and vice-versa) and have obviously had the “Mo” taken out of their “Big Mo.” They’ll have to go to the next races either hoping disaster doesn’t strike again, or if it does, it strikes those at the top instead.

Whatever happens, it just doesn’t make sense to take anything for granted. This year has been competitive (to say the least) and full of surprises. If anyone thinks the drama is over just because Jimmie Johnson is 41 points ahead of Denny Hamlin better not assume too much. Judging from the last couple of races, anything can (and probably will) happen. The way it’s been going, I just don’t think the racing or the disasters are over for everyone just yet. Yeah, the points are only close for the top three at the moment, but after Martinsville, it could be totally different… (or not…)

See ya next time… Rusty

All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer

© October 18, 2010 – all rights reserved

Rusty Norman and

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By Rusty Norman

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