Friday, October 12, 2007

Back to normal? I hope not!

So far, the Chase for the Championship this year has been full of unusual events and twists of fate. With Ryan Newman taking the pole at Lowe's, and Jimmie Johnson has been, for all practical purposes, already been credited with the win at his "home" track Saturday night. Yes, NASCAR may be going back to "normal."
Do we really want normal? Normal is for Formula 1, where, normally the race is over after the first or second lap, and the rest of the event is only to see if the leader can stay on the track. Normal, in racing, is the Open Wheel Champ Car World Series (Champcar) shooting itself in the foot.
We are NASCAR fans because we don't want normal. We want the surprise endings we get to the races. We are not ready to give Jimmie Johnson the Championship.
We're not ready to give up on our drivers who do not drive for HMS.
Normal would mean that, with its typical military-like precision, Hendrick Motorsports would make no mistakes, that the race at Lowe's will go perfectly for the #48 team even if they get in a wreck early in the race. Normal would be boring for most of us.
Nobody is mathematically out of the Chase, yet. Kevin Harvick, 202 points out of the lead with six races left, is still a very viable candidate to win the Championship. And, we know, Tony Stewart isn't about to give up.
If I were to make my picks for Saturday's race, they would be based on my emotional feelings, not on facts or statistics. I would pick Tony Stewart to win and Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon to take each other out of the race. That is not likely to happen, and is rather fantasimal thinking. It is not normal, and I like it that way.

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