France-Brad Keselowski. I have always had an image of French people as arrogant, disdainful know it alls. That seems about right for Keselowski. I think he is the great grandson of Charles De Gaulle.
Iceland-Jeff Gordon. Normally Gordon is cool, but during the 2014 Chase I think he is going to be as hot as lava flowing from an Iceland volcano. Iceland is a country I would like to visit, and Gordon is the NASCAR driver I would most like to meet.
Jr. Nation-Hey, Dale Earnhardt Jr. already has his own nation, I can’t see foisting him on some unsuspecting country. I like Earnhardt, but man, his nation has more nuts than the 42,257 Georgia farms that grow peanuts. This may be Earnhardt’s last, best chance to win a Sprint Cup championship, so he better do some salty driving in the next 10 weeks. Salty, nuts, pun.
England-Jimmie Johnson. Think of crown jewels. I can see Johnson coming on the stage at Las Vegas in December wearing a crown, scepter, orbs, swords, rings, spurs, colobium sindonis, dalmatic, armills, and of course, the royal robe. No, I do not have a clue what most of those are, but thank you Wikipedia. I don’t know how many crowns Queen Elizabeth has worn, but a Huffington Post article included 25 photos, so JJ is not quite up to her standards.
Paraguay-Joey Logano. When I was in elementary school I had to write about a country in South America. I have no idea why, but I chose Paraguay. All I remember about Paraguay is that it is north of Argentina and its capitol is Asuncion. Will many people long remember Logano for this Chase?
Argentina-Kevin Harvick. Like Nebraska, Argentina is famous for its beef. Has any driver had more to beef about this year than Harvick? I also see Harvick as somewhat of a gaucho.
Turkey-Carl Edwards. Yes that does show my personal bias, but I am afraid the Roush Fenway drivers are going to be gobbled up by the Penske and Hendrick drivers. How long will Edwards last? Well, he wants to race for another owner, his crew chief is talking retirement, so how enthused can the crew be?
Russia-Kyle Busch. He may be a distant cousin to Vladimir Putin. Believe me, all the drivers representing NATO countries are against him. Heck, all the drivers in The Chase-even his own brother-are against him. OK, even the non-Chase drivers are against him.
Uruguay-Denny Hamlin. The mouth of the Rio de la Plata, aka River Plate-the boundary between Uruguay and Argentina is 140 miles wide. I am not necessarily saying I think Hamlin has a big mouth. In December 1939, the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee battled three British cruisers in what came to be known as the Battle of the River Plate. While the German ship did great damage to the British vessels, it was severely damaged too and was scuttled. Will Hamlin do any damage in The Chase? How long before Hamlin’s Chase hopes are scuttled?
Romania-Kurt Busch. Yes, Transylvania is part of Romania. Vlad the Impaler was Romanian. As a ruler he got that name because anyone committing a crime, even lying, was likely to be impaled. Goodness only knows what he might have done if he had a pit crew that messed up a stop. Busch only cusses them out. Google Vlad, because this man was nuts. However, I was thinking more of former tennis champion Ilie Nastase when I assigned Romania to Busch. Nastase is remembered for his championships, but is also remembered for his tantrums.
Canada-Kasey Kahne. As Canada has somewhat of an inferiority complex toward its famous neighbor to the south, so does Kahne to his very famous teammates Gordon, Johnson, and Earnhardt. Kahne’s winter would have been as cold as an Alberta Clipper if he hadn’t won in Atlanta two weeks ago, but his stay in The Chase may be about as long as an Ellesmere Island summer.
Lithuania-Aric Almirola. You never hear much about Lithuania. It is a nice country, just not famous for much of anything. It is a small country on the Baltic Sea. You never hear much about Almirola when NASCAR pundits are talking championships-however, like Almirola is in The Chase, Lithuania is in the FIBA 2014 World Cup basketball championship. As long as Lithuania has a chance in that event, Almirola has a shot to capture the Sprint Cup.
Cuba-A.J. Allmendinger. I don’t know why. When I think of Cuba it is cigars, music, and American cars from the 50’s. Maybe it is that Cuba is a small country and A.J. Allmendinger drives for JTG Daugherty Racing, a small team. Or maybe it is he has as much chance of winning the Sprint Cup championship as a Cuban taxi driver in a ’52 Chevy.
Australia-Matt Kenseth. In 2014, getting into The Chase without a win is like driving on the left side of the road. You still get where you are going, but it does seem weird. Anyway, I bet most of you do not know that Australia has a number of dirt tracks and in our winter, their summer, they race cars similar to American dirt late models and sprint cars. I would like to visit Australia to watch some racing some day. Anyway, I don’t see Kenseth making the Final Four, but I do see him being the last JGR driver racing.
Peru-Greg Biffle. I was going to try to work in something about Machu Picchu to show off, but I can’t come up with anything. Biffle’s path to a championship is like a dirt road leading up a peak in the Andes. It is a steep climb, and I don’t see the Biff making it past round two of The Chase, if that far.
Hungary-Ryan Newman. If you are last on The Chase grid with no wins, wouldn’t you be Hungary? ‘er hungry? The Hungarian city Budapest-like Minneapolis and St. Paul, is divided by a great river. No, not the Mississippi, the Danube. Unlike the Minnesota “twins,” Buda and Pest are one city. Newman is the only Richard Childress Racing driver in The Chase, and I am thinking in the NASCAR post-season two is better than one, and three is better than two. I see Newman getting to round two and missing out on advancing to round three by just a few points.
Will it be Iceland, Jr. Nation, England, and Argentina battling at Homestead? Or will France and Paraguay enter the fray? Cross your fingers and toes that it will get interesting.
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