Dover in a nutshell? Well, Jimmie won, Matt did not, and Kyle had to settle for a mere Top Five. What has not changed is that the trio remain the only relevant drivers as they head to Kansas for Sunday’s fourth round of the Chase.
Johnson made it a record eight wins at that track in just 24 starts in Delaware. By claiming his fifth of the season, and 65th of his career, the five-time former champ is just 8 points behind Kenseth, who finished 7th at Dover. Busch was fifth last Sunday and is a dozen points off the pace. Jeff Gordon and Kevin Harvick are next, 39 points away. So, until each and every one of the three leaders cough and sputter to somewhere beyond a Top Ten, at least, the rest of them remain just members of the supporting cast.
Dale Earnhardt Jr started from the pole and finished just behind Johnson. A win would have meant more to him than a great points day, as he sits 57 back in the waiting room. Most of the Chasers did well, taking all Top Ten spots, while Kasey Kahne (13th), Kurt Busch (21st after a loose wheel green flag stop), and Carl Edwards (35th after a broken wheel hub) were the outsiders.
As NASCAR no longer releases attendance figures, we are left guessing as to what those big bare patches in the grandstands meant in way of numbers. Considering Dover is a track situated within a hundred miles of Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, somebody does not give a damn. A bunch of somebodies. Maybe stellar television coverage might entice them out to take a look at the real deal.
Rating Dover – 5.5/10 – Too bad, as the visuals of this track, with the dive down the hill into the corners before swooping up on the other side, can be rather breathtaking. I did enjoy watching Race Day, but unfortunately none of the SPEED announcers would later appear on the ESPN broadcast. Good reporting from the pits, but the main crew were, well, the pits. Same old, same old.
After 31-years, ESPN fired Marty Reid for mistaking the white flag for the checkered flag, and for one second declaring Ryan Blaney the Nationwide winner at Kentucky a lap early. Considering it did not detract in the least from the broadcast, that Blaney was leading by a large margin, or considering the amateur hour that is ESPN’s Cup coverage, you would have figured he might have got a bit of slack from the clowns in the suits. Then again, they might have done him a favor. Reid’s replacement? That would be Allan Bestwick. Good grief.
Kansas Speedway is next on the schedule. Matt Kenseth won the last two run there and has been in the Top Ten in each of his past six attempts.
Kansas Speedway, where Jimmie Johnson has a pair, including the fall of 2011. Where he has six Top Fives in 14 attempts, along with 10 Top Tens, and leads all active drivers with an average finish of 7.6.
Kansas Speedway, where Kyle Busch sucks. Sorry, but two Top Tens in a dozen starts does not cut it. Seven times he has failed to crack even the Top Twenty. This is where his Chase hopes go to die, unless this is the year he avoids his Chase jinx.
Congratulations to my mother-in-law, who turns 80 years old today. She will not be part of the broadcast of this race. To be fair, Fran doesn’t know a damn thing about NASCAR, but she would be a hell of a lot more entertaining than what we will hear this Sunday. Maybe she could fill in for Marty. Enjoy the week!