My Brain On NASCAR: Somone will win Chase, but who?

At a press conference in Darlington in 2006, Greg Biffle was asked for his opinion of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, which was still relatively new at the time.

Biffle didn’t equivocate, or make a false attempt to be politically correct. “If you’re not in the Chase, you’re nothing. You may as well be invisible,” he said.

“You are Nobody.”

Well, first of all, thank goodness we still have a handful of plain-spoken drivers in NASCAR. And second, Biffle has nothing to worry about. After Hurricane Bristol, AKA the Irwin Tools Night Race on Aug. 25, he is locked into the 2012 Chase, along with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson.

Greg Biffle is definitely Somebody.

Bristol was a game changer in a lot of ways. It was a hard race to prepare for, because no one really knew quite what to expect. Since the track’s last race back in March, the racing surface was ground down in an attempt to take away one of the racing grooves and provide the single file, “if you want to pass me you’re gonna have to knock me out of the way to do it” style of racing that has kept Bristol a fan favorite for decades.

It worked, for the most part. Old Bristol had one racing groove, at the bottom. New Bristol had a couple of grooves, revealing to everyone’s surprise that fans don’t really like side by side racing all that much. New-Old Bristol has one groove, but now it’s on the top.

“It was the same thing; we were all running in a line. You’re just waiting for the next guy to screw up to get around him,” said race winner Denny Hamlin. “That’s what we had to do with the old Bristol. I don’t think we saw as much side-by-side racing, but you didn’t see side-by-side racing with the old Bristol. You just saw a bunch of cars in line, waiting for someone to get knocked out of the way or to mess up.”

So fans got a lot of action, and they also got what they were secretly hoping for, although they might not be willing to come right out and admit it: a fight.

When tempers rise at Bristol, fists have a tendency to go up right along with them. This, after all, is the place where generally gentlemanly Jeff Gordon got into a shoving match with Matt Kenseth, where Jimmy Spencer reached through the window and allegedly punched Kurt Busch while he was still strapped into his car, prompting Busch to observe that Spencer “has the brain of a peanut.”

More than fists and pith are thrown at Bristol. Back in 1993, Dale Jarrett threw his helmet at Bobby Hillin, and in 2002, Ward Burton heaved his heel guards at Dale Earnhardt Jr.

NASCAR is a sport of repetitive action – and this was Bristol – so we got more of the same on Aug. 25. Tony Stewart scored a dead-on bull’s eye with a two-handed sling of his helmet at Matt Kenseth’s car, after being cut off by Kenseth while attempting to make a pass for the lead. The contact took both drivers out of contention for the win, and dropped Stewart to 10th in the driver standings.

Stewart, another plain speaker, readily stated his intentions.

“I’m going to run over him every chance I’ve got from now till the end of the year. Every chance I’ve got,” said the reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion.

The biggest battle potlighted at Bristol, however, is the fight for the two wild card spots in the Chase. Those currently belong to Kasey Kahne, who has two wins and ranks 11th in the driver standings, and Kyle Busch, who has one win and is in 13th place.

Right behind them, in 14th, 15th and 16th place respectively, are Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman and Marcos Ambrose, with one win each. Last year’s runner-up, Carl Edwards, is in 12th place, but has no wins this season, which takes him out of contention unless he can make it to Victory Lane in the next two weeks, at Atlanta or Richmond.

If things remain fairly stable, which we all know is never a sure thing, a couple of winless drivers will make the Chase: Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick, ranked 5th and 9th coming out of Bristol.

Just to keep things interesting, although Stewart looks like a sure thing, he has been experiencing some less than stellar luck lately. If he drops out of the top 10 he will still make the Chase, but will not get bonus points for his three wins so far this season.

All we know for certain is that some truly marquee drivers will not be in the championship hunt this year. While that’s kind of sad, it’s also a great endorsement for the sport and for the parity it has managed to achieve. Domination is only fun when your team is the dominator. It’s downright miserable for everyone else.

Long story short, when this year’s Chase begins, it will be literally impossible to predict how it will end. By the strict letter of Biffle philosophy, we do know that Somebody will win the championship.

We just don’t have a clue which Somebody it will be.

Comments

comments

Moglia steps down as CCU coach, pitches to Chadwell

Moglia steps down as CCU coach, pitches to ChadwellFive-time National Coach of the Year finalist Joe Moglia, who [more]

Hoops: Sharks claim first region win over Panthers

Hoops: Sharks claim first region win over PanthersA big win for the St. James boys basketball team [more]

CA's Green, Jones reach major hoops milestones

CA's Green, Jones reach major hoops milestonesThe Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach basketball programs celebrated a [more]

CCU makes another poll, hosts free clinic for kids

CCU makes another poll, hosts free clinic for kidsThe Coastal Carolina baseball team received another top 25 preseason [more]

Conway's Moody makes mark as freshman for Tide

Conway's Moody makes mark as freshman for Tide The national championship game didn’t turn out the way Jaylen [more]

Hoops: Chiefs tip Falcons; MB, Knox rock Red Foxes

Hoops: Chiefs tip Falcons; MB, Knox rock Red FoxesMyrtle Beach's Emorie Knox erupted for 32 points Tuesday night [more]

Chants fall short on final shot in skirmish with Mavs

Chants fall short on final shot in skirmish with MavsJunior guard Rashad Davis hit a 3-pointer with less than [more]

Hoops: Green lifts Saints; Seahawks rally past 'Dogs

Hoops: Green lifts Saints; Seahawks rally past 'DogsOn a night chosen to recognize a milestone for Christian [more]

All-County Volleyball: NMB duo adds to state-title run

All-County Volleyball: NMB duo adds to state-title runHow do you choose between two state championship teammates and [more]

Vincent breaks new ground as NMB boys hoops coach

Vincent breaks new ground as NMB boys hoops coachA referee approached the North Myrtle Beach High boys basketball [more]

CCU baseball joins another Top 25 list for 2019 season

CCU baseball joins another Top 25 list for 2019 seasonWith just over five weeks until the season opener on [more]

Pelicans, Cubs make over field staff for 2019 season

Pelicans, Cubs make over field staff for 2019 seasonThe Myrtle Beach  Pelicans and parent club Chicago Cubs announced their on‐field staff for the 2019 season on Wednesday. New to Myrtle Beach this season, Jimmy Gonzalez will take the helm for the Pelicans following four seasons managing the Single-A South Bend Cubs. The 2016 Midwest League Manager of the Year with South Bend, Gonzalez was  [more]

Hoops: Falcons fly by MB; Tigers rally to top Sharks

Hoops: Falcons fly by MB; Tigers rally to top SharksCraig Martin walked off the court at the end of [more]

Tigers crush Crimson Tide for national championship

Tigers crush Crimson Tide for national championshipClemson captured its third national football championship - and its [more]

CCU alums Ross, Johnson pioneers in upstart league

CCU alums Ross, Johnson pioneers in upstart leagueFormer Coastal Carolina football players Alex Ross and Kerron Johnson [more]

Jags drop Chants in 2OT; Lady Chants lose to USA

Jags drop Chants in 2OT; Lady Chants lose to USAFour players reached double digits for Coastal Carolina, but it [more]

Hoops: Braves sweep CF; Seahawks split with Chiefs

Hoops: Braves sweep CF; Seahawks split with ChiefsSocastee scored a big road victory in its Region 6-5A [more]

CCU Hoops: Road teams win SBC debuts with Troy

CCU Hoops: Road teams win SBC debuts with TroyTyrell Gumbs-Frater scored a game-high 20 points as Coastal Carolina [more]

Beach Ball Classic, Day 6: Comets top Cards for title

Beach Ball Classic, Day 6: Comets top Cards for titleMonday's Beach Ball Classic championship game didn't feature the offensive [more]

Beach Ball Classic, Day 4/5: CA's Green leaves his mark

Beach Ball Classic, Day 4/5: CA's Green leaves his mark This week's Beach Ball Classic has been a memorable one [more]

Beach Ball Classic, Day 3: MB takes one on the chin

Beach Ball Classic, Day 3: MB takes one on the chinMyrtle Beach went toe-to-toe with St. Edward (OH) before falling [more]

Beach Ball Classic, Day 2: Socastee, MB, CA stumble

Beach Ball Classic, Day 2: Socastee, MB, CA stumbleSocastee turned in a solid team effort but suffered an [more]

CCU mourns loss of former Olympian, assistant Henley

CCU mourns loss of former Olympian, assistant HenleyTwo-time Olympian (1992 and 1996) and Coastal Carolina assistant track [more]

Beach Ball Classic, Day 1: Braves, Saints lose debuts

Beach Ball Classic, Day 1: Braves, Saints lose debutsTwo local high school basketball teams found out just how [more]

Wrestling: Young Panthers stay hungry for region title

Wrestling: Young Panthers stay hungry for region titleMatthew Ashworth knows the Carolina Forest wrestling squad isn’t the [more]

Moglia steps down as CCU coach, pitches to Chadwell

Moglia steps down as CCU coach, pitches to ChadwellFive-time National Coach of the Year finalist Joe Moglia, who [more]

Hoops: Sharks claim first region win over Panthers

Hoops: Sharks claim first region win over PanthersA big win for the St. James boys basketball team [more]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© 2018 Grand Strand Sports Report · RSS
Myrtle Beach Web Design
Kayaking in Myrtle Beach