Busch had a lot of mistakes in the first two Chase races, and did not have a great race at Dover like he needed. Allmendinger started the race on the plus side of the cut, had a so-so effort and ended up just two points behind Kasey Kahne who captured the final transfer spot. Biffle never really showed anything in the three Chase races of round one. Almirola could not overcome the blown engine in the Chicago race.
There was plenty of pressure on drivers in round one of The Chase, but that pressure is ratcheting up in round two. While 12 drivers transferred to round two, only eight will transfer to round three. A really bad race is going to be difficult to overcome without a win that automatically transfers a driver to the next round.
Here are some of story lines I see for the next three races:
-Will Dale Earnhardt Jr. show he is a contender? In the past six races his average finish is 16.5.
-Kevin Harvick seems to have a dominant car almost every race, yet something always seems to happen with the car or on pit row. Harvick led more than half of the laps at Dover, but finished 13th after he had a left front tire go down.
-Will Team Penske’s pair of percussionists continue to pedal to the front of the pack in the Contender Round as they did in the Challenger Round?
-Who will be the next four to bite the dust? Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards, and Ryan Newman are the bottom four in the bracket. Kahne did barely enough to make it to this round. I don’t think he will go any further. I have to admit I am neither a Hamlin nor an Edwards fan, so I suppose my bias is showing when I say I don’t think they will make it to round three of The Chase, and actually hope they don’t. I think Matt Kenseth will edge out Newman for the last spot to transfer to round three.
-Will Jimmy Johnson round into championship form in round two of The Chase? Right now it would seem the four favorites to battle for Sprint Cup glory at Homestead-Miami are Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Jeff Gordon, and Kevin Harvick.
-Will something bizarre happen at Talladega to end a real contender’s chance of winning The Chase?
-Will I take a race nap like I did at Dover? Sorry, but 400 miles at that place seem to take as long as the Quantas Flight 8 from DFW to Sydney, Australia-nearly 17 hours. I did watch the last 100 laps and Jeff Gordon’s victory parade at Dover.
A friend offered free tickets to the Kansas race this weekend, but my son and I will be unable to use them. Oh well, someday I will make it to a NASCAR Sprint Cup race. If you do make it to Kansas Speedway, the USRA Nationals will be held at Lakeside Speedway, a dirt track just a few miles north of the NASCAR track. General admission tickets cost just $12, and are money well spent.
Thanks for stopping by.