If NASCAR could dictate the four drivers running for the winner take all championship at Homestead, Florida in November, who would the four members of the “Dream Team” be? Obviously Dale Earnhardt Jr. would be number one. If the NASCAR powers could cede the title to Earnhardt, there is no question they would. Ratings-ratings-ratings, not just for the final race of the season, but an Earnhardt championship would pick up ratings and ticket sales for at least the early part of the 2015 season.
I think Jeff Gordon would be the second driver NASCAR would want to have in the final four. Gordon is by far the best spokesperson for the sport, and no one would begrudge him winning his fifth title.
If the powers that be had their druthers, the other two cars battling it out in Florida would include one Toyota and one Ford team. Three possible Ford drivers would be Joey Logano, Carl Edwards, and Brad Keselowski. I think that would be NASCAR’s order of choosing also. Logano is young, Edwards almost one a championship a few years ago, and Keselowski did win a championship.
The Toyota possibilities would all be Joe Gibbs Racing drivers, Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, and Denny Hamlin. Busch could be the bad guy if he was one of the four fighting for a championship. Kenseth has won a championship but I think NASCAR would prefer him over Hamlin, who is such a whiner.
So, Gordon-Earnhardt-Logano-Busch battling for the right to lift the Sprint Cup trophy at the end of Ford Ecoboost 400 on November 16th would be a boon for NASCAR. Probably for local police forces in the southeast portion of the U.S. as well-every Junior Nation member would be tuned in. Of course if the 88 won there would be a rash of post-race trailer fires. I don’t know why I write things like that. I honestly like Earnhardt, but Junior Nation irritates me like no one else with the possible exception of members of Congress.
No race track looks more like a football stadium than Bristol Motor Speedway. It is appropriate that the University of Tennessee and Virginia Tech will be playing a football game in Bristol on September 10, 2016. And, while 60 minutes of football on a temporary Bristol field will generate plenty of hard hits and flaring tempers, 500 laps of 43 3,300 pounds cars racing around the .533 mile circuit in 16 seconds can turn a peace loving yogi into a revenge seeking hot-head.
Every past wrong will be remembered Saturday night and every minor incident during the Irwin Tool 400 will turn into an outrage. If the Talladega race is a wild card in The Chase schedule, Bristol being one of final non-Chase events is like a poker game with aces, deuces, and one-eyed jacks wild. Anything can happen. I won’t say that any of the 43 cars could win, but about half of them could be in the running for a win depending on breaks.
A few facts:
-Matt Kenseth and Jeff Gordon are ranked at the top of current drives racing at BMS. Kenseth has started 29 races, winning three and finishing in the top ten 18 times. Gordon has started 43 races, has five victories, and 24 top tens.
-22 races at Bristol have been won from the pole.
-Carl Edwards won the spring race at the Tennessee half-miler, while Kenseth won the 2013 Irwin Tools 500.
-Las Vegas sports books have Brad Keselowski as a 6-1 favorite. Kenseth, Gordon, and Kyle Busch have 7-1 odds, while Logano, Jimmie Johnson, Earnhardt, Hamlin, and Kasey Kahne are listed at 12-1 odds.
It will be interesting to find out which driver will have the right combination of skill, horsepower, strategy, and luck on Saturday. I have fingers and toes crossed that the race will live up to its hype this year.
Finally, Tony Stewart will not be in the 14 car at Bristol. Despite what some pundits say about his responsibility to team, sponsors, NASCAR, and fans, he absolutely should not go back racing until he feels the time is right. No one but Stewart can make that decision.
Thanks for stopping by.