Nascar Racing

It’s One and Done at Richmond


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If anyone has been holding anything back for whatever reason, there is no more time for those still having a chance to make the Chase. When it comes to making the Chase, it is definitely “One and Done” at Richmond tonight. Depending on where those in the seventh to the fifteenth points positions finish tonight, the field for the Chase will be set when this one is over.

From this fan’s view, it looks as though Kurt Bush and Jeff Gordon put it all out there, especially during qualifying, and they both ended up on the front row for the start tonight. As usual, starting out front doesn’t mean they’ll finish out front but it is a good place for both of them to be.

From my view, I’d say both of them have made a statement for how they intend to attack the race tonight. I don’t think they will take “unnecessary” chances but I do expect them to put it all out there. Even if neither one of them wins and it comes down to points to make the tenth spot, you can bet they’ll be doing everything they can on the track to finish at or near the front tonight. There will also be added pressure on the crew chiefs to have the right strategy and the pit crews to make no mistakes during every pit stop. This must be as close to an error free night as either of these two teams have faced this season.

Of course, this fan can’t overlook the fact that Brad Keselowski is starting third and has his eyes on possibly pulling off the miraculous tonight.

A few drivers that are in the top ten in points can still miss the Chase by having a disastrous, or at least a bad, race tonight. I’m sure you already know which ones I’m talking about but for the sake of convenience I’ll list them here. Dale Jr. is in the least precarious position and only has to finish 32nd or better. Joey Logano needs a finish of 11th or better and Greg Biffle needs a finish of 9th or better.

If all of these drivers have bad nights and fall out of the top ten in points it will definitely shake up the points situation completely and that is just one of the things that could make tonight’s race one of the most dramatic since NASCAR came up with the Chase format. From my view, Jeff Gordon not only needs to finish a couple of places ahead of Kurt Bush to possibly qualify in the top ten but winning would make his chances better. As it stands, Kurt Bush needs to finish 2nd or better to qualify in the top ten in points.

Looking at those already in the 12th to 15th positions, we see several with wins this season. Of all of them, Kasey Kahne probably has the biggest advantage since he already has two wins. Barring absolute disaster, Kasey is a fairly confident choice for making the Chase at least by the Wild Card.

Martin Truex, Jr. and Ryan Newman on the other hand only have one win each and their fate for the Chase is mostly dependent on what happens to those ahead of them in points and wins. I expect to see both of them charging hard throughout the night to take the win and possibly even move into the top ten in points. They may be long shots I know but, with the way things are setup for tonight’s race, anything can and probably will happen. (This is another reason why tonight’s race could be one of the most dramatic since the Chase format began.)

I can’t think of a better way to end the race for the Chase than having it be a Saturday night race under the lights. Although Richmond is only a ¾ mile track, it is a track that is fast and exciting. From what the drivers say, the racing surface is wide and they can run either high or low. That could make for interesting and tight racing and very interesting re-starts when the inevitable cautions come out.

I don’t think anyone knows how tonight’s race will end, but I do expect it to be a typical Saturday night short track event with fast cars and short tempers with a lot on the line. I don’t expect anyone, especially those with a chance of making the Chase in one way or another, to hold anything back. This fan thinks it is going to be flat out hard racing and, in all honesty, none of them has anything to lose and everything to gain. (Well… in actuality, some of them have a lot to lose but they also can’t afford to hold back hoping someone else will make a mistake and take themselves out of contention.

As fans, we already know the top six are locked in to the Chase and even if one of those top six are leading the race tonight, most of the attention is going to be focused on the drivers trying to make it into the Chase in one way or another. From this fan’s view, this is one race that no one will care if Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards or Kyle Bush is running out front or wins the race. On the other hand, if Jeff Gordon or Kurt Bush are running first and second, especially when it comes down to the final laps, that’s where the interest will be…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© September 07, 2013 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
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By Rusty Norman

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