From the Rolling Stones:
Button your lip baby,
Button your coat.
Let’s go out dancing,
Go for the throat.
Let’s bury the hatchet,
Wipe out the past.
You’re not the only one with mixed emotions.
Like Mick Jagger, I have mixed emotions. Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart will flip/flop crews during The Chase-Stewart’s crew will pit Harvick for the final ten races of the season while Harvick’s crew will pit Stewart’s car for the rest of 2014.
What does that say to Harvick’s crew members who have worked with him for the past seven months? It says that NASCAR Sprint Cup racing is a big dollar business. It doesn’t say quite the same thing as the cutting the NFL place kicker who misses a last second field goal-the kicker is out of a job and the old Harvick crew is not. It does say that the crew has not been getting the job done and if the #4 car is to win a championship it needs the Stewart-Haas “A team” working its pit stall.
No doubt that was tough for Harvick’s regular season pit crew to swallow, but Harvick has been fast enough to win at least several more races this season-he had five second place finishes, and if the pit crew had met expectations Harvick could have been the top seed in The Chase, not Brad Keselowski.
Still, if Harvick wins the Sprint Cup championship it would have to be a bittersweet moment for the replaced crew members. Pro sports is about winning championships-well, it is unless you are talking about the Dallas Cowboys, and SHR did what was necessary to compete for the crown.
A move like this is not unprecedented. A number of years ago Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon switched pit crews during The Chase and Johnson ended up winning a championship.
Chicagoland Speedway is a great track for Jimmie Johnson, a very good track for Matt Kenseth, a good track for Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon, and Kevin Harvick, and a not so good track for the rest of The Chase contenders. Non-contenders Tony Stewart, Brian Vickers, and Clint Bowyer do well here, so the possibility of a non-Chase driver winning the first race of The Chase is there.
Weather in eastern Nebraska is cold and damp today, and that weather is heading east. Weather played a factor in last year’s Chicago race and could again this year. Last year’s Sunday afternoon race finished Sunday night. It was a chilly night in the Windy City, and the race featured several engines detonating, include that of Dale Earnhardt Jr. One bad race won’t eliminate a driver from Chase competition, but the pressure to win the next race would increase dramatically.
Last year Matt Kenseth was crowned champion after winning the first two races. Well, he was by the media. That didn’t work out so well. No one will be crowned early by anyone this year. The Chase really is a play-off this year. Win one race in each round and you are the champion. Sounds easy, except 15-11-7-3 other drivers are all going to do their best to make sure you don’t.
I am looking forward to the final ten races of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. I hesitate to say I am excited, because for a number of years NASCAR hype has far surpassed results. I am hoping for a great play-off though.
Thanks for stopping by.