Friday, September 28, 2007

So much determination

Ask any driver if he has the determination to win, and the answer will be an emphatic "yes," or at least, "du-uh!"
The determination to win exists not only among the Chase drivers, but also among all the others. It is as important for the driver who is driving a car that is forty-third in owners points to win as it is for the driver who is first in championship points. That is why the same edge that existed at Dover will be there, Sunday at Kansas. The question of who wins Sunday is not answered by who has the most determination--that is impossible to tell, but by who has the correct formula to win.
Once again, we can't expect a Chase driver to win the race, but it could and likely will happen. The non-Chasers best poised to take the checkered flag would be Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Greg Biffle, Scott Riggs, Greg Biffle, and Ryan Newman.
Newman qualified on the outside of the front row, but an infraction at post-qualifying inspection sent him to the back of the field. Still, Penske and Dodge are ready for a win, and Newman can negotiate traffic well. The fact that he is a non-Chaser means that he can take chances. A good setup and a few gutsy calls could bring Flyin' Ryan back to the front by the end of the race.
Scott Riggs has missed races in qualifying four times this year, but once he gets into a race, the former motocross star can show some top racing qualities. Unfortunately, his races have often been cut short with his being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or by one type of mechanical failure or another. These misfortunes are by no means the fault of the driver, and with a third-place starting position, Riggs just may avoid some of the obstacles that have plagued him in the past.
Of course, it doesn't matter where Dale Earnhardt, Jr. starts--he will always make his way toward the front. He starts 6th Sunday, and that should make an exciting race for him. Again, a driver with nothing to lose, Jr. exhibits great car control, so even if his setup is missed, he will make a go of it.
Greg Biffle expects to win. He could smell victory at Dover, only to be accused of following team orders to let Carl Edwards win. The truth is, he just didn't have quite enough car to catch Edwards win. Da Biff is very hungry for a win, and with the top ten and top five finishes he's been having lately, victory is just around the turn. Da Biff starts the race in seventh position.
Of the Chasers, the number 17 team of Matt Kenseth seems to be the strongest. Mighty Matt isn't known to be a great qualifier, yet he qualified third, and will start second due to the disallowance of Newman's time. Now, we know that Kenseth is an exceptional racer, and it seems that he will dominate the field much as he did at Dover, preferably without the engine problems.
Jimmie Johnson starts at the pole, but the #48 team seems to be fading during the races, and Kansas is a track at which he has yet to win, though he has a finishing average of sixth place. Kenseth is the more experienced, and frankly, more skilled of the drivers starting in the front, and, even if they race door to door for 267 laps, Kenseth should prevail.
But then there is Tony Stewart, who starts in 20th position. You don't have to be a Tony Stewart fan--like the author of this blog--to know that he is very capable of improving his position in a race. Smoke is on a hot streak, his finishing average of 6.7 is the best of all the drivers. We can't forget that he won at Chicagoland earlier this year, and that track is very similar to Kansas. We could, however, forget that he is the reigning champion at Kansas, because we know that he and the #20 team will not be using the same strategy they used last year to win.
In the final laps, barring bad luck, etc, the race among the Chasers should come down to Stewart, Kenseth, and Gordon. If these three are physically racing each other nose to tail and side by side, it should make a very interesting event. Throw Earnhardt, Jr. and/or Da Biff into the mix and we could see a downright exciting finish.
Time to quit being a chicken--my picks for the top five finishers in Sunday's race are: Greg Biffle, Dale Earnhardt, Jr, Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, and Jeff Gordon.

1 comment:

Nascar and the Canadian Curmudgeon said...

whoo hoo..let's have an upset and really throw the chase for a loop....how about Truex heading out of Kansas in the chase lead with Bowyer second....