Archive for Chase

Same old song…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 9, 2011 by Jordan Anders

Race 4 of the Chase at Kansas Speedway has come and gone, and the championship standings have taken even more of a shuffle than last week.  The key factors coming out of Kansas:

  • Honestly, you didn’t really think that Jimmie Johnson wasn’t going to step up and take this thing by the horns, did you? Granted, I didn’t expect him to dominate like he did today, but I’m not the least bit surprised. I said it last week, and I’ll say it again, it blows my mind how quickly people were writing that team off after two poor races to start the Chase. They’ve only responded by dominating the last two races and jumping from 10th to 3rd in the standings. Add to that the fact that the Cup series is headed to Charlotte next week, and there’s a very good chance that Johnson will be in complete control when the Chase reaches the halfway point. Looks like the 48 team winning a record sixth-consecutive Sprint Cup title isn’t as out-of-the-question as people were hoping.
  • Yet another rehash of something I said last week, but Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick both continue to impress me. Both appeared to be headed towards finishes outside the top-15 at multiple points today. But both were able to rebound and, low and behold, they finished 5th and 6th respectively. I keep saying that these are the days that prove that both of these teams are championship material. It became the 48 team’s M.O. when they were driving to five-straight titles. Winning is great, but the way you win championships is to finish 5th with a 15th-place car, like Edwards did today, or 6th-with a 16th place car, a la Harvick today. Those two teams aren’t going anywhere.
  • A team that did go somewhere today was Jeff Gordon’s. The 24 team (who I picked to win this whole thing, mind you) is effectively done after his engine blew with three laps left today. That’s a shame, but that team looked great for a lot of this season. Gordon is rejuvenated with Alan Gustafson on the pit box for him, and with this first “learning” year out of the way, that team will come back solid in 2012 and compete for the championship again.

As much as I hate to say it, I would not be shocked by a repeat performance next Saturday night in Charlotte from Jimmie Johnson. He used to be the man to beat everytime he showed up there, and while the 48 team hasn’t dominated in recent years like they did in the past, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone carrying more momentum than that team. That’s going to make them hard to beat on Saturday night.

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Heading to Hotlanta

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 2, 2011 by Jordan Anders

With Atlanta coming up this weekend, there’s no denying that no one is hotter on the Cup circuit than Brad Keselowski.

Coming off of his third win of the year last week at Bristol, Keselowski has rocketed from 21st to 12th in the standings, with a legitimate shot at cracking the top 10 in the final two races before the Chase begins.

I’m still not 100% sold on Brad as a hardcore legit title contender (although it would only take another couple of weeks of him running this way to sway me), but if he is going to compete for the title, I think he absolutely has to make it into the top 10.

With this seeding system after the cutoff at Richmond, drivers earn 10 bonus points for every win they have.  The only other drivers in the Cup series that have as many wins as BK are Kyle Busch, with 4, and Kevin Harvick, with 3.  So unless Jeff Gordon or Matt Kenseth wins one or both of the next two races, Keselowski could start the Chase no lower than tied for second, ten points out of the points lead.

But those bonus points only go to drivers who rank in the top ten after the cutoff, and not the two wildcard drivers who make it in in 11th and 12th.  So Keselowski could be tied for the series lead in wins, and not get the bonus points for them if he doesn’t crack the top 10.

40 points is a lot of ground, almost a full race.  That’s not to say that he couldn’t make up 40 points and contend for the title anyway (especially as hot as he has been in the last month), but if he hopes to carry this momentum in and take advantage of this hot streak and these three wins, Brad has to jump Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart in the next two weeks.

Hamlin and Stewart are both really good at these last two tracks before the Chase, Atlanta and Richmond.  Keselowski’s crowning achievement at Atlanta is getting flipped on his lid by Carl Edwards, but with as well as that team is clicking, his history has to be thrown out the window at this point.

BK could still contend for the title if he doesn’t get into the top 10, as long as he can keep up this hot streak.  But getting in and starting the chase in the top 3 would make his road to a colossal upset that much easier.