Nascar Racing

Crowning the Cup Champ at Homestead from a NASCAR Fan’s View

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Rusty Norman
When all is said and done this weekend at Homestead, one thing is certain – the Sprint Cup Champion will be crowned by the end of the race. That is about the only thing that is definite for the race this afternoon. After all of the “excitement” that transpired at Phoenix, one has to think this could prove to be an interesting race, but not necessarily for the actual Championship part.

You see, this fan is not one of those that is trying to keep people interested in the actual Chase between Jimmy Johnson and Brad Keselowski like a lot of the commentators have been most of the week. Most say Brad Keselowski has the Championship all but wrapped up even before the race starts and they could be correct. Unfortunately, my imagination runs a little different path than some.

You see, there are two ways of looking at the way the #48 has been performing this weekend and even I am not sure why. It could be that they just haven’t found the speed which would be sort of normal for the Hendrick Teams at Homestead. As far as I remember, they have never won a Cup race at Homestead and that could be why they just don’t appear to have a chance at taking the victory or the Championship. Then again, it could be the #48 is just playing head games, knowing they have the speed but not wanting to show it.

Yeah, it could all be part of a master plan to blow by all of the competition this afternoon and simply walk away with the win. Of course, if that is the plan, then they must be expecting Brad Keselowski to have an extremely bad day and they just want him to get frustrated as they walk away from all of the competition, hoping he will make a mistake or two that completely puts him out of the competition for the top spot in the Championship.

Ok, I know you’re all wondering if I’ve lost my mind or if I’m living in some dream world. Hey, I told you my imagination runs wild at times and even I have to admit this all sounds really far fetched. If the honest to goodness truth be known, I’m not so sure Jimmie Johnson or Brad Keselowski is going to finish near the front today. I know both are going to be trying their absolute best to take the win and the Championship but I also know there are some Fords and Toyotas that look like they have a better chance at winning. I’m not going to make any predictions as far as that’s concerned but I do know Homestead can be a place of big surprises and I’m not expecting everything to go as expected today.

Hey, it could even happen that Dale Jr, Kasey Kahne or even Jeff Gordon have better days than the top two in the Chase for the Championship but, in the end it is going to depend on where Brad Keselowski finishes compared to Jimmie Johnson. If Brad finishes 15th or better, no matter what else happens, he will be the Sprint Cup Champ for 2012 and give Roger Penske his first Cup Championship, something everyone in all of NASCAR believes he deserves. I can’t say I disagree with that in any way.

No matter what has been said by those involved in last weekend’s “disagreement” between the Gordon and Bowyer teams or what NASCAR has handed down as “punishment”, many fans are going to be interested in seeing what might go down between Clint and Jeff if and when they are close to each other on the track.

From my view, I don’t expect any more confrontations (at least not on the track today) and I expect Jeff Gordon to give Clint all the room he needs to get by especially if Bowyer is noticeably faster. I don’t think that means Jeff will lay down and die. He is much too competitive for that, but if he has a chance to pass Clint I do expect them both to be reasonable. I do hope they don’t accidently get into each other because that will definitely come under scrutiny and we all know NASCAR will be watching for any signs of payback especially since Jeff is on probation until the end of the year. As a side note and from this fan’s view, I do think they will put this all completely behind them but only time will tell.

The reality is, Clint Bowyer wants to finish ahead of Kasey Kahne and I don’t expect him to be looking for anything other than track position when it comes down to the race today. I think he will be doing all he can to win because that’s what it’s all about anyway. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t still some hard feelings between the #15 and #24 teams but there isn’t a lot either of them can do to change what has already been done either. Both will move on and who knows – they just might end up the best of friends (or not… )

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© November 18, 2012 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
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By Rusty Norman

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