Nascar Racing

Crowning the 2013 Sprint Cup Champ at Homestead


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There’s no doubt the 2013 Sprint Cup Champion will be crowned when the Ford EcoBoost 400 is in the books on Sunday evening. The big question on most everyone’s mind is whether or not Jimmie Johnson will make it a snoozer or if the competition for the Championship will go down to the drop of the checkered flag. As it stands right now, some are wondering if Matt Kenseth or Kevin Harvick will be able to take advantage of possible bad luck for JJ and the #48 team or, maybe better stated, they are hoping he will have some really bad luck they will be able to take advantage of.

Whether we like it or not, the championship is still up in the air between three people. Of course we all know that’s Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick. Jimmie Johnson has a very good lead in points considering they’re going into the final race of the Chase but, he does not have the championship locked up. He is 28 points ahead of Matt Kenseth who is only slightly ahead of Kevin Harvick. The fact that those two are still within striking distance means Jimmie Johnson cannot afford to have a bad day, or night depending on how you look at it. If anything out of the ordinary happens to him causing him to exit the race early and finish deep in the field, that would definitely open the door for one of the other two drivers to walk away with the 2013 championship.

As unlikely as it may seem, there really is more going on than just those three drivers competing for the 2013 championship. Depending on what happens to the teams behind those three means there could be a major shakeup in the final standings of the top 13 in the Chase. There are still a lot of possibilities as to how the rest of them will finish but not too many are really interested in anything other than who ends up winning the Sprint Cup. You see, there are a lot of fans supporting those other drivers beyond the top three and all of them are definitely interested in seeing how high in the standings their driver can finish.

There are those that think the Jimmie Johnson is a little more vulnerable than usual in this chase for the Championship. From this fan’s view I have to admit that he has sounded a little more cautious than he has in previous times. To some that sounds as though he’s doubting himself but I don’t think that’s the case. It is this fan’s opinion it’s just another one of Jimmie Johnson’s mind games and he’s just pretending to be concerned about how things will go Sunday afternoon and evening. Honestly, I do have to admit that the Championship is definitely there is to lose and they cannot afford to have anything really drastically go wrong.

Having said these things, it is possible that he is more concerned with having to be on the defensive as opposed to being on the offensive and going all out. Unfortunately, he didn’t qualify as well as he had hoped and Matt Kenseth actually struck the first blow for the weekend and sits on the pole. Whether or not that will give Kenseth any advantage I have no idea but I will say this; starting from the front and finishing in the front can be very important in the end result.

Of the top three in this battle for the Championship, Kevin Harvick probably is sitting in the best seat. He has absolutely nothing to lose by pressing the envelope and going all out to win the race and, depending on what happens to Johnson and Kenseth, possibly walk away with the Championship. From my view he has the least amount of pressure on him simply because he really has nothing to lose other than a few spots. Should it work out that both Johnson and Kenseth have major difficulties and finish deep in the field he will win the Championship from third place.

Although it goes without saying that most of the attention is focused on the top three, there is no guarantee that any one of them will come close to winning the race. In fact, there are several that have a good opportunity to win the race whether or not they are near the middle or top in points. It doesn’t really matter if anyone else wins the race if the championship battle is not affected by it. Just like Jeff Gordon’s victory at Homestead last year in the finale gained very little attention, the same could be true if anyone other than the top three wins tonight. It will certainly be noted that they won but hardly anyone will remember the win simply because the championship is the focus.

I agree with many that have made it known what they would really like to see in this final race of the 2013 season. What we all want to see is good hard racing and a little bit of drama (or maybe even a lot of drama) to end this season. As I stated earlier, no one wants to sit through a snoozer as Jimmie Johnson and the 48 team dominate the night. Of course we know it is possible for the race to end that way but the hope is there will be some ups and downs, a mistake or two by the drivers and crews – anything to add a little drama to what has been a very interesting year and Chase.

Hey, I’m not saying Jimmie Johnson doesn’t deserve to win his sixth championship but it would certainly be nice if the outcome of the championship is in question until the checkered flag drops…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© November 16, 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.