Nascar Racing

Going For The Championship At Homestead from a NASCAR Fan’s View


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Four of the forty cars on the track this weekend will be the only ones actually running for the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Championship. As for the other thirty-six, well… let’s just simplify it and say, they’re running to win the Ford Ecoboost 400. You and I both know the emphasis will be on the ones running for the Championship and not on someone leading or winning it other than the four running for the Championship. Naturally if one of the final four wins it then what I just said becomes very unimportant. If it goes the other way though, well, prepare yourself for hardly any attention being paid to someone that might be considered “an also ran” even though they just won the final race of the 2017 season.

Another topic of conversation taking place all week long has been the “incident” between Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin last weekend at Phoenix. I have listened to many of the statements and conversations about it and just can’t move on until I put in my two cents.

In usual fashion, (and particularly in this fan’s opinion) Denny Hamlin tried to marginalize his actions by comparing what he did three weekends ago to what Chase did last weekend. To paraphrase, he basically told us Chase would do the same if the situation were reversed which means to this fan that what he did wasn’t wrong, it was just racing the way “everyone is doing it these days.” He was apologetic after the fact (and especially after the negative way the fans reacted to his move) but still tried to pass off his action as one like everyone else was doing.

Well, here’s my opinion of what happened concerning Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin over those two races…

Let me say right up front and being honest as a fan, I was not heartbroken to see Denny Hamlin not make it into the final four. In fact, if he had made it into the Championship round of four, I would not have thought he deserved to be there. As he stated himself, his intention was to make sure that Chase wouldn’t make the turn at Martinsville and that Chase would not be able to win. Denny accomplished that but when the fans turned against him then and afterward, he had to re-evaluate his move. Once again, in my opinion, rather than take the responsibility and blame on himself, he tried to lessen his responsibility for his actions by saying everyone was doing it and Chase would do the same thing given the same circumstances. Well, when something similar did happen last weekend, Hamlin was one of the first to say, “See, I told you so…”

From this fan’s view and strictly in my opinion, had Hamlin not done what he did and the way he did it, there would have been no reason for Chase to race him the way he did at Phoenix. If he would have beaten him fair and square, (and that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t race hard), this fan believes there would have been no reason for payback and the whole situation could have been avoided completely. Oh and by the way, with Denny knowing there might be the possibility of some sort of payback, he could have raced Chase in the Phoenix situation a little differently. He could have backed off when Chase was under him and dropped in behind him, avoiding the wall and wheel contact and race him for the win or at least until Matt Kenseth passed them both at the end.

We all know what happened both weekends and have our own opinions but it would have been nice to see Denny take full responsibility without including others possible actions for a change. As I stated before, in his usual fashion he took a little blame on himself but also tried to blame his action on the action of others as he has in the past, at least that’s my opinion.

Well, I guess that’s enough of that and I should get back to this weekend’s Championship race at Homestead. There isn’t a lot to say that hasn’t already been said in some fashion over the past week about the four still in the hunt for the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Championship. The only thing I can give is my thoughts and opinion of this race and it’s participants.

As I said earlier, the four competing for the Championship will garner most of the attention for the entire race. Still, there are several that could win the race although not the Championship. Some favorites are, Dale Jr., Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney and Matt Kenseth to name a few. Yes, even Denny Hamlin could win as much as I may dislike having to say it and there’s always that seven time Champion, Jimmie Johnson, and I’m sure he would like to end the year with a little redemption over the last few weeks. Even if someone other than the four wins it, it still won’t gain as much attention as which one of the four that actually wins the Championship. Sure, it will go into the books as a win for one of the. “also rans” but that will be about the extent of it.

If (in the usual hoped for fashion) one of the final four actually wins, it would be a grand victory for the one that does. Will it be Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Bush, Kevin Harvick or Brad Keselowski? Yeah, I think it very well could be one of the four but I’m not really sure which of them might pull it off. Martin Truex Jr. is the one everyone mentions as being the favorite but anything can happen in 400 miles even to a favorite. Kyle Bush and Kevin Harvick are the next many have mentioned and Brad Keselowski is most everyone’s “dark horse.”

In this fan’s opinion there are several others than can win the race but I’m not really sure which of the four can. If things go as usual and I pick one, they might be the first ones to have problems and have to leave the race. Still, though I have my doubts, I really think it is going to be between Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick. Does that mean I’ll be surprised if one of the other two wins it? No, but I’ll definitely be watching to see who does. Oh, and by the way. Dale Jr. would like nothing better than to leave his last race in regular competition in NASCAR Cup with a victory at Homestead. Hmmmm… I guess we’ll just have to wait and see, huh?

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© November 18, 2017 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, and
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All music TwoBuckThemes from Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated

By Rusty Norman

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