The Final Word – Bristol, where good news mixed with bad, and it rained on everyone’s parade

Good tidings we bring to you and your kin.

Sounds like a song. Sounds like a song we can wait four months to hear. However, Bristol did bring good tidings to some. It was great for Kevin Harvick, as he won his second of the season in a dominant performance to once again vault ahead of them all in points. While wins determine who is ahead of whom, as it should, accumulated points is an indicator as to who has been in contention all season long. Harvick has been one of those guys.

Good tidings for Chris Buescher. It is amazing how good a guy can get with a little incentive, like a win at Pocono and a shot at the Chase. The 23-year-old might just be 30th in points, but by moving 13 points ahead of David Ragan in the standings his win is activated and he now finds himself ranked 12th among those with post-season aspirations. A bad day at Michigan could change all that, but as for now, all is good after his fifth place result at Bristol.

Good tidings for Austin Dillon, trying to keep within the Chase despite having no victories. Fourth at Bristol really helped the cause. Same with Jamie McMurray’s Top Ten, while 15th did not hurt Chase Elliott’s cause much, either. Ryan Newman was 28th, which was not good, but he remains 35 points up on Trevor Bayne, which certainly is.

Not so good for Bayne, of course. Twelfth on Sunday was fine, it helped him close up on Newman by 15 points. Unfortunately, he has only Michigan, Darlington, and Richmond remaining to move up via points at a time when a win might be the way to go. I guess he can always hope Buescher has some bad tidings, drops below 30th, which would pop Bayne back into a Chase place. Such bad thoughts, and so close to Christmas.

Imagine getting your way paid to the Bristol Saturday night event as a gift, only to have the rain wash all those good tidings away. Rain Saturday night. Rain Sunday morning. With so much rain, it is ironic that the stands looked like a seat desert, with an oasis of real live fans visible here and there. It would appear that a lot of fans had their weekend plans totally screwed.

Both Kurt and Kyle Busch crashed out, as did Matt Kenseth. Newman, Kyle Larson, Tony Stewart, Brad Keselowski, and Ryan Blaney might have been moving at the end, but all were sitting 24th and worse running five or more laps off the pace by that time. Bad tidings indeed.

Next up is Michigan, where Jeff Gordon returns to retirement for at least one event. Still, we have to wait until later in the week to see if Dale Earnhardt Jr. is ready to return from his medical leave. Do you know Junior still has more points than Greg Biffle, Danica Patrick, and Clint Bowyer? Yet, any one of them would be Chase bound with a win on Sunday.

Christmas could still arrive early for somebody.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

Ron Thornton
Ron Thornton
A former radio and television broadcaster, newspaper columnist, Little League baseball coach, Ron Thornton has been following NASCAR on this site since 2004. While his focus may have changed over recent years, he continues to make periodic appearances only when he has something to say. That makes him a rather unique journalist.


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