Nascar Racing

It’s About Intensity At Kansas and Chase Race #4


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Rusty Norman

No matter how hard you try, you will be hard pressed to find someone that just wants to run around in circles on this Sunday afternoon at Kansas Speedway. No matter what they say, they want to win. It will certainly be a lot more possible for some than for others but winning is on everyone’s mind for Chase Race #4. That goes double for those just eliminated from the Chase after Dover and probably triple for the remaining 12 still in contention. For the ones just eliminated, well, they have something to prove to the others, themselves and their fans.

Of course we all know winning is important every week no matter where people race but, at Kansas this weekend, a win for one of the twelve in the contender round of the Chase means the pressure is temporarily off – they automatically move on to the next round. Two reasons quickly come to mind about winning at Kansas for them; one would be breathing room for them for the next two weeks and the other would be one word – Talladega.

The format for the Chase for 2014 has been widely accepted as a great move by NASCAR and this fan has to agree. It has done exactly what they wanted it to do and that would be add intensity to the competition on the track every week which makes it appealing to NASCAR fans both old and new. This fan thinks they have done a great job in all aspects in coming up with the “elimination format” and have added much more excitement and drama to the full ten race schedule of the Chase.

It’s almost like every week is as intense as the last week of being able to qualify for the Chase presently held at Richmond. One big difference it has made is that there is no longer an accumulation of points going on for nine weeks and possibly going into Homestead without the one to be crowned as champ having to finish very high in the finishing order at all. That’s not to say that it’s always happened that way but the possibility was always there which would and could have made the final Championship race of the season a rather humdrum experience.

Kevin Harvick won the pole again this weekend and will start from the number one position for the eigth time this season. He and his team have been facing the dreaded monster of Racing Luck and mostly coming out on the short end. Anyone familiar with the beast of racing luck knows that eventually that luck has to turn around but Harvick put it best when he said he just hopes it happens before the end of this season. From this fan’s view that could be a possibility but, if memory serves, Kyle Bush has had to fight the same beast during the Chase in past years and hasn’t faired all that well. The #4 Stewart/Haas team definitely doesn’t want to repeat that type of performance, especially with the way they’re performing this season. I guess it just depends on who you’re favorite driver is whether or not you really want to see his luck turn around before this season ends or after the next one starts.

One of the more interesting things about the NASCAR Chase and other sports championship formats for crowning the Champs is that every week all of those still competing for the Championship still have to race 42 others each and every race even though they may only be competing against 16, 12, 8 or 4 others for the actual championship depending on which segment of the Chase they are in. I know I’ve mentioned this recently but, in some ways, that really could seem to complicate things. In reality, I guess it’s just another race weekend for the racers. It does however add to the stress of the drivers involved in the Chase if for no other reason than the trouble some of the other less competitive teams could cause for one or more of them. One bad pit stop or unexpected problem can put the contenders in a situation amongst those “others” that could cost them a chance at winning the Championship.

One question that seems to come every weekend during the Chase is, “What if someone other than one of the Chasers wins the race?” From this fan’s view, that is a very interesting question and has more than one answer.

First of all, it can happen any weekend and just makes the Chase more interesting if and when it does, at least from this fan’s view. Second, with Talladega coming up as the last race in this three race segment, a non-chaser winning at Kansas means 12 Chase drivers going for a win at Charlotte to cement a spot in the next segment before having to go to Talladega where there is a high percentage possibility of either not finishing or finishing poorly. Like I said, Kansas is all about intensity in Chase race #4 and depending on who might win this one makes next week all the more intense…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© October 4, 2014 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
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By Rusty Norman

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