NASCAR Racing: The Chase Begins!

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Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. The chase for the Sprint Cup begins this week at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with the Sylvania 300, the 27th race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, the first in the chase. The top twelve in points after the “regular” season will have a chance to compete for the Sprint Cup.

Festivities began on Friday with two practice sessions. The media will be covering the “Chasers”, so I will get you up to date on the rest of the field.

83 is again Reed Sorenson. 26 is Jeff Green. 13 is Casey Mears. 66 is Johnny Sauter. 09 is former Cup Champion, Bobby Labonte, who will be in the race on Sunday. 71 is Andy Lally. Andy will also be in the race, as the 71 car is in the top 35 in owner points and is guaranteed a spot. 46 is Michael McDowell. 36 is Dave Blaney. 34 is Tony Raines. 64 is Landon Cassill.

Coors Light Pole Qualifying took place this afternoon. 9 Kasey Kahne was the first driver to come out of the pits. 2 Kurt Busch came out second and did better than Kasey. Kurt is in the chase. 33 Clint Bowyer knocked Kurt off the pole. Clint is one of the chosen 12. A new track record was set with his speed of 133.464. Coming out 23rd was 12 Brad Keselowski. Brad had the fastest first lap and claimed the pole with a speed of 133.572 mph and 28.515 seconds. Brad is not in the chase. However, unlike all other playoffs, there will still be 43 drivers racing each week. 45 teams showed up for qualifying. Two had to go home. They were 66 Johnny Sauter and 26 Jeff Green. Clint Bowyer will start on the front row with Brad.

There will be two practice sessions on Saturday. And the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will qualify and race. Ryan Newman is on the pole for the Whelen Modified Series race, also on Saturday. It should be a fun weekend of racing.

I’m told the media will be covering the “chasers” in the last ten races because they are the ones who will be doing all the racing. However, Brad Keselowski just proved that wrong. He will start from the pole, knocking a “chaser” off. There really are still 43 drivers racing every week. Even in the so called chase. One of my complaints about the chase is that drivers are no longer allowed to race their way into the top ten. Jamie McMurray won two of the biggest races of the year, the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400, and he will not be allowed to do any better than 13th in the points. Anyone of the chosen can have bad races but will do no more poorly than 12th in points.

Therefore, I will be keeping track of how the top 20 in points do during the last ten races. How the points would have ended if 12 drivers were not locked in, but could race their way into or out of the top ten. My prediction is that Jimmie Johnson will win his fifth consecutive chase. And my hope is that NASCAR drops the chase and puts the points system back to where it was before they tried to “fix” it.The system was not broken.

I secretly hope that points leader before the chase, Kevin Harvick, wins the championship. For me, leading the points all through 36 races makes for a better champion than one who led after only ten races. I also wouldn’t mind if any of the five drivers in the chase without a win would win the championship without getting any wins. If Jimmie wins again, the chase is stupid and made for the 48 team. If one of the five wins without any wins, the chase is also a stupid thing. It was created because Matt Kenseth won the championship in 2003 with only one win, while others had multiple wins. If Kevin wins, it will only prove that the chase is not needed because he would have won anyway and there would not have been any reason for a chase to determine a champion. In my opinion, anyway.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley I love NASCAR

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