The Final Word – Two in the money, two more for the show at Phoenix

It was the Chase race in Texas, and the big winner…was the weather. From an afternoon event on a rubbered up track, we went to an evening contest under the lights. A rain washed surface greeted the boys and girl after a more than five-hour delay.

We knew that Carl Edwards was going to have to win either this race or the next one at Phoenix to advance to the final four. We knew that Kurt Busch needed good things to happen to him, and a little bad for some others. We knew that Kevin Harvick needed his radio antenna on his car in order to communicate with his crew. It is unfortunate that when the tarps came off the cars following the rain that his boys forgot to replace his. Here he thought he had seen it all with crew miscues this season. He was wrong. Thank goodness for competition cautions and a good fixer to make things alright again.

Watching non-Chasers at this time of year is like following Cup drivers on the junior circuit. If they win, fine, but if they do not they are usually not very newsworthy. Joey Logano was, leading much of the top third of this race, at about which time Edwards emerged to be up there in the vicinity. Winning was not the only thing for both, but it was pretty darn close. At the two-third mark, Edwards was leading Logano, but both trailed Martin Truex Jr.

An Austin Dillon spin brought out a caution, and on the restart, Edwards was running point. It is important to lead the race, as Edwards did for the next 36 laps. Then it rained, and 40 laps short of the scheduled distance Carl Edwards was declared the race winner. It gave him his third checkered flag of the season and the 28th of his career. Logano was the runner-up, Kyle Busch claimed fifth, Harvick sixth, just ahead of Matt Kenseth, as Denny Hamlin came home ninth.

Edwards and last week’s winner Jimmie Johnson have two spots in the final round, two more to the Final Four will be decided in Phoenix next Sunday. Logano and Rowdy have those positions thus far, while Kenseth is just a point away and Hamlin two out. Harvick still is 18 points in the distance, and likely needs a win. Kurt Busch is 34 away and definitely will need a victory next Sunday.

As for the rest of the field, well, as I said before, they just do not matter at this time of the season. Okay, Truex and Chase Elliott managed Top Fives, just in case you were interested. As for Phoenix, eight times Harvick has won there. Logano never has. Let the games continue.

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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