The Final Word – All the World’s a Stage, as we Close the Curtain on Michigan

A curmudgeon. An old fart who sits in the wings like a Muppet and mocks those upon the stage. In this case, for me that includes the three in the booth and the three on the desk offered up by ESPN. I am sure even a certain green talking frog would not have been safe from my sarcasm. My use of the mute button had nothing to do with escaping the droning that passes for professional race description and analysis. No, I am merely previewing what the future might be should NASCAR turn to electric cars.

Jeff Gordon was electric at Michigan on Sunday. Only one driver led more laps, and on that final restart Gordon managed to do what he often fails to do. Four Time came out strong, took the lead from Joey Logano, then stretched it out in the end to claim his 91st career victory. The win even moved him ahead by three points over Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the standings, as the pair are joined by Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski with three wins apiece.

That latter pair had their adventures, yet finished well enough. Keselowski lost a right front and put the wall grinder to the fender, but managed to finish eighth. Six Time did not text while driving, but trying to apply a set of vice grips to replace his shifter lever as he left the pits probably was not the best idea either. It also proved unsuccessful, but his boys eventually provided a better fix, and an eventual ninth place result.


American Muscle

Even Danica Patrick had a Top Twenty, though her spin early ensured that the collected Martin Truex Jr. and Matt Kenseth did not. Kyle Busch lost a tire five laps in, pounded the wall, and he was all but done for the day. Kyle Larson thought he found trouble when he and Junior locked fenders on pit road. That was nothing compared to when he hit the wall and went up in flames to finish dead last. Oh, and after the race 11th place finisher Ryan Newman was seen jawing with Johnson over some on-track bone of contention. Maybe Ryan is becoming an old curmudgeon, too.

If he was upset at Michigan, the odds are good he will not be happy Saturday night at Bristol. Everybody but the winner seems to get a bit torqued after spending time on the half-mile and change oval in Tennessee. With just three to go before the Chase cutoff, just about every full-timer who has ever won there already has a win this year. Matt Kenseth has not, but he remains nearly sixty points to the good. Kasey Kahne has not, and sits nine points behind Greg Biffle for the final berth. The only other former Bristol winner still seeking a win for 2014 is locked in the Top 30, but would need a victory in one of the three upcoming events to make the Chase.

We await word if, when the curtain rises at Bristol, Tony Stewart is yet ready to take to the stage.
SWEET SIXTEEN
1 – Jeff Gordon – 3 Wins – 815 Points
2 – Dale Earnhardt, Jr. – 3 – 813
3 – Brad Keselowski – 3 – 733
4 – Jimmie Johnson – 3 – 686
5 – Joey Logano – 2 – 714
6 – Carl Edwards – 2 – 679
7 – Kevin Harvick – 2 – -128
8 – Kyle Busch – 1 – 620
9 – Denny Hamlin – 1 – 589
10 – Aric Almirola – 1 – 556
11 – A.J. Allmendinger – 1 – 556
12 – Kurt Busch – 1 – 553
13 – Matt Kenseth – 0 – 709
14 – Ryan Newman – 0 – 679
15 – Clint Bowyer – 0 – 672
16 – Greg Biffle – 0 – 660

CONTENDERS & PRETENDERS
17 – Kasey Kahne – 0 Wins – 651 Points
18 – Austin Dillon – 0 – 638
19 – Kyle Larson – 0 – 636
20 – Marcos Ambrose – 0 – 616
21 – Paul Menard – 0 – 614
22 – Brian Vickers – 0 – 598
23 – Jamie McMurray – 0 – 596
24 – Casey Mears – 0 – 543
25 – Tony Stewart – 0 – 537
26 – Martin Truex, Jr. – 0 – 516
27 – Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. – 0 – 476
28 – Danica Patrick – 0 – 445
29 – Justin Allgaier – 0 – 400
30 – Michael Annett – 0 – 364
31 – David Gilliland – 0 – 357
32 – David Ragan – 0 – 332
33 – Cole Whitt – 0 – 325

 


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