How is it that rather intelligent people can make the dumbest statements? Brian France, the Grand Poobah of NASCAR, has come out with “I thought that Joey Logano made a very smart decision in what he did,” which was to intentionally spin out Matt Kenseth at Kansas with five laps to go. Instead of Kenseth winning and getting the free pass, he is in the weeds needing a win at Talladega while Logano claimed his second straight win. That was a very smart decision?
A lot of what one thinks of the move has to do with whether you like Logano, or cannot stand him, along with one’s thoughts regarding Kenseth. There are a number of ways to describe what took place, such as “Joey was forced to move him to get by” or “Matt was trying to block and Logano held his line” or “It was just a racing deal.” Anything but it “was a very smart decision.”
What France just did was ensure that Logano becomes a high-speed pinata come Talladega. He already has two wins, more than enough to guarantee himself a spot in the next round no matter what takes place on Sunday. So, for instance, a driver sees that he has no hope of making it, why not “smart decision” Logano’s ass into the wall along the way to make him pay? I am not saying that Kenseth is the type of guy who would seek out revenge, but if he were….
Going into this weekend’s race, Kenseth needs a win. So does Dale Earnhardt Jr., unless a big wreck in the opening laps takes out at least four of the top eight in the Chase. The rest, with the exception of Logano, need to survive. The threat of a pileup at any time at Talladega is very real, as 10 or 20 cars could be taken out at any moment until the checkered flag waves.
Our Hot 20 over the opening five Chase races, heading to Talladega on Sunday, include…
1. JOEY LOGANO – 209 Points (2 Wins)
Sorry, officer, but I was just making a smart decision when I caused that wreck.
2. DENNY HAMLIN – 198 (1 Win)
About as safe as anyone other than Logano, but at Talladega that might not mean much.
3. CARL EDWARDS – 188
Needs to survive this weekend and find a way to thrive at Martinsville.
4. MARTIN TRUEX JR. – 171
Could have had a more comfortable margin if not for one damn bouncing tire in the pits.
5. JEFF GORDON – 171
Junior is not the only active driver with six wins at Talladega. Just thought I’d mention it.
6. KURT BUSCH – 171
Ten straight inside the Top Twenty, half of them Top Tens.
7. BRAD KESELOWSKI – 168
Five races, five finishes between eighth and 16th. Not much flash, but very consistent.
8. RYAN NEWMAN – 161
Top Tens might not be enough when everyone else who matters is doing the same.
9. MATT KENSETH – 160 (1 Win)
Charlotte disaster and Kansas disappointment have forced him to go for it all on Sunday.
10. RICKY STENHOUSE, JR. – 155
Surprise! His worst finish since Richmond is 13th, which he has done three times.
11. JAMIE MCMURRAY – 154
Not championship caliber, but at least fans again know who he is.
12. KYLE BUSCH – 151
November 13, 2005. The only time Kyle has won over the final 10 events of any season.
13. KEVIN HARVICK – 147 (1 Win)
A gas and go with the gas can cost him last week, but the format allows him to forget Chicago.
14. GREG BIFFLE – 142
Considering how this season has gone, I think he will accept this as a moral victory.
15. KYLE LARSON – 139
Not bad, but with three times out of the Top Fifteen, it sure is not great.
16. KASEY KAHNE – 134
At least no one can say he is the worst Hendrick driver during the Chase.
17. DALE EARNHARDT JR. – 131
Just in case you were wondering why he also has to win at Talladega.
18. ARIC ALMIROLA – 128
Amongst the Top 11 in five of the past seven, yet still ranked way down here.
19. JIMMIE JOHNSON – 122
Is the season over yet?
20. CASEY MEARS – 118
Where is Bowyer? Where is Menard?