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Only thirteen points separate Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. The problem with that for both them and all of those in between them is Denny is second in points and Martin is eighth. I don’t remember in recent times so many Chasers facing such uncertainty for one race in the Chase. Since this is the third race in this second round of the 2015 Chase, four of the twelve drivers presently in contention will be eliminated from moving on into the next round. Well, I guess we could say four of the eleven since Joey Logano is already locked in to moving on to round three by winning two of the races in round two.
Okay, let me get this out of the way right up front. Thanks to Joey Logano, Matt Kenseth only has one chance to move on to round three of the 2015 Chase and that is to win. I don’t think there is anyone that doesn’t know why that is the case and that includes those that watch football, too. Kenseth led the most laps last week and was leading when Logano made the decision to put him out. Some have said he just moved him out of the way but I think they are being very generous and are probably Joey Logano fans anyway. Oh and by the way, I guess you can tell, I am not but I won’t go into that here. Let’s just say I think that one move will one day come back to haunt him for several reasons, but I think I will have opportunity to talk about that someday in the future.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. is in the same boat although he just had a bad couple of finishes over the last two races rather than a run in with Logano. His only opportunity to move on into the next round is to win and that can’t make him or his fan’s very happy. It has to be disappointing for him since he was one of the favorites to be in the final round at Homestead as the Chase started.
I still say, as I did earlier in the week, if it comes down to the final lap and both he and Kenseth are in contention to win, it could make for a very interesting finish. Personally, I think both of them have a great chance to win Talladega but only one of them will move on by winning.
Ryan Newman and Kyle Bush just about have to win to make into the next round but they aren’t limited to only winning. With this being Talladega and the uncertainty everyone faces in a restrictor plate race, anything can happen and both of them could be vaulted back into contention IF the ones in second through eighth get caught up in a “Big One” or just have a bad day. Any way you look at it, both Newman and Bush have to finish up front or win to make it to round three.
Getting back to those thirteen points that separate the second in points from the eighth; anything can happen and two of them can be eliminated from the Chase for the Championship. None of them are guaranteed to be able to move on UNLESS they have decent finishes. One of the key words in that statement is, they have to “finish.” Depending on where they finish in the running order if they don’t finish the race could either allow them to move on or be eliminated.
One of the interesting things about those presently in the top eight is the tie in points for three of the bigger names. Of course those would be Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Jeff Gordon. Since they are tied in points at the moment, any one or two of them could be eliminated from moving on if they have a bad finish. (Of course, we all know having a bad finish at Talladega is hardly possible for such big names and popular drivers… NOT!) The “Big One” could take any number of the Chasers out and, at this point, only one driver would not be affected even if he finished last and that would be Joey Logano.
From this fan’s view, this could be either one of the most exciting or most boring races at Talladega depending on what happens with those trying to not be eliminated from moving on in the Chase. I prefer to think this is going to be one of the most interesting restrictor plate races simply because so much is riding on it. Unless something happens to take those still able to make it into round three out early, the final laps on Sunday afternoon could and should be some of the most intense and dramatic laps at a restrictor plate track in a long time.
At the time of this writing, eleven still have a chance to make it into round three. Unfortunately four of them won’t make it and we may not have to wait until the checkered flag drops to know which ones it will be. I’m just wondering what the talk will be like after the race if someone other than one of the Chasers wins. Whatever happens, we won’t know which ones are moving on and this one won’t be over until it’s over…
See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© October 24, 2015 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, Nascarfansview.com and Justafansview.com
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