As NASCAR swings into Chicago and begins the Chase, I can not help but notice that Denny Hamlin, and now Danica Patrick, have made mention that the season is too long. Reduce some races in length, reduce some altogether, run some mid-week are among their suggestions.
The only story of note involves the No. 88 and who will be behind the wheel. That would be Jeff Gordon, who comes out of retirement to run Indianapolis and Watkins Glen while Dale Earnhardt Jr. recovers from the effects of his latest concussion. Shaky balance and some nausea are what he needs to overcome, but while that is happening Gordon will run his 798th and 799th career races.
Dammit. Other than for Matt Kenseth, that was probably the most used term from Sunday’s action at New Hampshire. Kenseth led three times at Loudon, but it was those final three laps that really mattered as the former champ locked his way into the next round of the Chase.
Posting the fastest lap of Friday’s time trials late in the final round of knockout qualifying at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Carl Edwards knockedKevin Harvick off the pole for Sunday’s Sylvania 300, the second race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
There is hot, and there is hot. Hot could be winning the opening race of the Chase, securing a berth in the next round, and allowing two races to tinker and prepare for Charlotte. However, after a spin on just the second lap in Chicago, the result was as much a credit to the performance of crew chief Dave Rogers as it was to the driver, Denny Hamlin.
Welcome to the Busch Chronicles. Brother Kurt missed the opening three races of the season, won a couple and quickly qualified for a Chase place by being well within the Top 30 in points on the season. Brother Kyle missed the opening 11 events of the season after suffering a broken leg in the XFINITY race at Daytona.
You’ve got your Monster Mile in Dover and you’ve got your Hot Mile in Phoenix, but they are seeking to work a little magic on the mile in Loudon, New Hampshire. Kyle the Magnificent hopes he can continue pulling out of his hat the kind of results that have seen him win two of the last three events.
Thank God for Kasey Kahne. With no Kahne, the broadcast of the Dover race would have been about as exciting as watching a Soap Box Derby contest in Saskatchewan, or a downhill ski event in Saskatchewan, or an outdoor performance of the Sound of Music...in Saskatchewan.
New Hampshire is the next stop on the Chase tour, and if anyone needs to rewrite expectations it would be Aric Almirola and AJ Allmendinger. Both have not done well at Loudon in the past, though Almirola was fifth in the race 15 months ago and the Dinger has one Top Ten.
Within those 40 laps, we saw Brad Keselowski shoot through the middle between the dueling Kyle Larson and Kevin Harvick to take the lead with sixteen to go. It was a great piece of racing, and once he was through he was gone. Two in a row, fifth of the season, and Keselowski earned himself a berth in the next round of the Chase.