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Texas was big for the Chasers and, unless something really goes wrong for the top two drivers in points in the coming two weeks, this fan thinks we are down to a two man race. Tony Stewart did exactly what he needed to do and he now trails Carl Edwards by only three points as the NASCAR teams head for Phoenix this coming weekend.
Okay, okay… I admit it is still just a tad early to be counting out anyone in the top six of the Chase standings, but if the only thing you’re hoping for is mathematical elimination to make being out a reality, then you’re obviously an optimist. I’m sure there are some that still hold on to the hope that Brad Keselowski or Jimmie Johnson can still be a force in the final race at Homestead, but the likelihood of them picking up the amount of points they need over the next two races would mean the four ahead of them would have to have absolute disasters and finish in the last spots for both weeks.
You say, “Well, it could happen…” and I say, “Ain’t likely… and your a bigger dreamer than anyone I know.”
Now you may not know this if you do feel those two do have a chance, but the chances of the top four finishing as far back as possible and spots five and six finishing at the front two weeks in a row are astronomical. I still say emphatically, “It ain’t gonna happen!!” and there are more than just a few that agree with me.
So what are the chances of Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick pulling ahead of Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart? Well, better than the other two but still, it would mean Carl and Tony would have to have extremely bad races in Phoenix and Homestead. That is about the only chance I see for Harvick and Kenseth but they only have to make up 33 and 38 points to pass the leaders over the next two races. That’s not impossible but it isn’t easy either.
Of the two top Chaser’s, this fan thinks if anyone is due for a bad week it is Carl Edwards, but not both him and Stewart on the same weekends. As it stands right now, this Chase is Carl Edwards to lose and this fan thinks Tony Stewart is going to do everything he can to take advantage of any mistakes the #99 team makes and, also from my view, Stewart is the hot shoe at the present.
Kasey Kahne had the best finish of the non-Chasers and has had an exceptional Chase (even though he isn’t in it.) The Red Bull team is making a strong showing even though they’re losing the driver and probably won’t be involved next season. It is a good thing for Kasey and for his team though, because even with the adversities they’re facing, they have shown what they are made of and it could be a plus for all involved no matter what happens for them next year.
I know I mentioned in the pre-race article that I had noticed kind of a trend that dealt with most multiple win drivers appearing to be three and done. Because of that trend, I didn’t think “Smoke” would win at Texas (or possibly any place else this year.) Well, I reckon I might have to adjust that statement a bit and, to be honest, I’m not sure that he won’t win at least one of the two final races. He has that old glint in his eye that says to this fan and his competitors, “Look out, you may have thought I didn’t have a chance, but I intend to win this Championship and it’s up to you to stop me.”
Honestly, from this fan’s view, it is good to see the fire back in Stewart’s eyes even if it was only missing for a few weeks before the Chase started.
A quick look at the Texas finishing order tells an interesting story about the possibilities for the race coming up in Phoenix. Of the top twelve finishers at Texas, six were non-Chasers and it could be the same happens this week. I’m not saying I really expect Edwards or Stewart to have bad finishes, but I am saying they may have to race a non-Chaser for the lead this coming weekend.
One thing the Texas race showed us was Tony Stewart is quite capable of doing exactly what needs to be done in his quest to win his third Cup Championship. Tony not only won the race but got all the points he could get in one race. Another thing is he looks as confident as I have seen him look in several years and that could spell trouble for Edwards and his team. Carl has readily admitted they have been lucky in more than one race in the Chase and, personally, I think he hopes they don’t have to be lucky again this year. It is my opinion the #99 team would rather have at least one dominating performance out of the next two and have a comfortable lead over Stewart and his team.
Will that happen? Well, only time will tell and ‘by the time they get to Phoenix’, the picture may be a bit clearer but I wouldn’t count on it. Now after they leave Phoenix, well…. that’s a whole different story…
See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© November 10, 2011 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman and Nascarfansview.com
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