My friend Monte Dutton, who is one of the best or probably was one of the best writers on the NASCAR beat, tweeted Saturday night that unlike normal races, the format actually seems to encourage all hell breaking loose UNTIL the end.
Did anyone doubt that Jimmie Johnson would lead the Chase points after Martinsville? Earlier in the spring race, he and teammate Jeff Gordon were headed for a 1-2 finish before somebody got greedy and the result was Ryan Newman winning. Never mind that Hendrick Motorsports owns this place, and if for not a strange turn of events, HMS would have won both races at Martinsville Speedway. As usual.
Jimmie Johnson continues his dominance at Martinsville winning from the pole position in the Tums 500. Johnson led 193 laps en route to his seventh win and 19th top ten finish in just 22 starts at the legendary track. More importantly, he leaves Martinsville with a two point lead over Brad Keselowski.
Since the end of Tums 500 qualifying session at Martinsville Speedway, media reports, social media and television have been buzzing about series points leader Brad Keselowski's 32nd place starting spot.
It may seem silly, but there are those who have already decided that the Chase has two favorites, Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson. There is something to be said for that, but the thought needs more investigation. It’s also useful to look at history and recent statistics. Those two categories tend to color things a bit.
Why it is that NASCAR feels it has to tweak the All-Star race. Consider this. The All Star Game, the mid-summer classic plays nine innings and all rules apply. The NBA All Star event follows the rules and the NFL late season All Star game still plays four quarters and follows the rules.