The Final Word – That Martinsville grandfather clock was too large for the shelf, so…

Martinsville, where eight boys were trying to lock themselves into the final field of four contenders for the championship in Homestead. At the same time, 31 boys and a girl were doing their utmost to spoil the party for someone by winning the thing themselves.

The Final Word – Larson finally finds gold in California

Kyle Larson went back to his home state of California and won at Fontana. A win. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that the 24-year old from Elk Grove is not perfect. Sure, he might be leading the standings, but perfection?

The Final Word – Newman rises in Phoenix, while a pair run down under in New Zealand

You had better luck finding Nemo than Ryan Newman in Victory Lane in recent years. He was there for the first time since July 28, 2013 in Indianapolis. That was surprising enough.

Hot 20 – And now, the end is near, and so we face the final Homestead curtain

So it ends. Another NASCAR season. A Hall of Fame career for Tony Stewart. The reign of a title sponsor. The wait for another seven-time champion, or a repeat champion, or maybe the crowning of the newest member of NASCAR royalty.

The Final Word – All that mattered at Phoenix were six cars seeking two spots

It sucks not to matter. Forty cars took to the track at Phoenix, and only six of them mattered. Not Jimmie Johnson or Carl Edwards. Both had already locked in a final four berth at Homestead, so they mattered not. Not Kyle Larson or Trevor Bayne, who spun early.

Hot 20 – Sunday at Talladega, one of NASCAR’s few must see events

On Sunday, we will have one of those races, on one of those tracks, that provides must-see action. While we have no announcers covering NASCAR today who you might tune in just to hear their description of the action, to hear them enhance the excitement, even those we got can not detract from the spectacle we shall witness on Sunday.

Hot 20 – Dover seats nearly 30,000 fewer fans and now NASCAR wants to reduce the pit crews

I hate change. Even good change can take a while to be appreciated. I did not like the Chase when it came out. I do now. I am still perturbed brand names like Firecracker 400 and World 600 were kicked to the curb to make a sponsor happy who obviously had no appreciation for the traditions of the sport. Then again, neither does NASCAR.

Hot 20 – Homestead is a place Happy Harvick should love, but so should Gordon and Truex

Homestead. That is where dreams are made or, more likely, where they die. That is, if they have not already been snuffed for another year before even reaching the season finale. One thing about that track in Miami is that some of the best just do not seem to do their best there.

The Final Word – Earnhardt takes Phoenix unchallenged…in the end

Once Dale Earnhardt Jr. took the lead at Phoenix, no one was going to catch him. Not a single driver even challenged him. Yet, there was still one vehicle that even the race winner could not pass. The pace car.

Hot 20 – The Elimination Format was Good, but an Actual Five Race Post-Season Even Better

Over the course of the season, Jeff Gordon was the top driver of 2014. However, NASCAR has not determined its champion using the results of the entire campaign for more than a decade. They want excitement, drama, unpredictability. They want what the other big boy sports have, and when they waved the flag to start the season finale, four drivers had an even shot to claim the prize. Unfortunately, 39 we knew who would not, also were out there.

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