Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Chase: Race 1

If you didn't watch the first race of the new chase then you missed something great. After two weeks of races that were nothing more than snoozefests. Today we got a race that will hopefully be a sign of the racing we can expect for the remainder of the 2014 season. With Kevin Harvick, and Kyle Larson fighting it out with less than 20 laps left in the race. Brad Keselowski came from out of nowhere, and split the middle to take the lead. Not long afterwards a final caution came out, and added to the drama. Leaving little doubt Brad got off to a great start over the second place Larson. From there the biggest two questions were if another caution would make for another restart, and who would win the battle for second. Some incredible racing followed between the new young gun Kyle Larson, and the veteran Jeff Gordon. In the end no caution came, and Gordon held off Kyle for the second place finish.

(sweet rubber card from an internet search)
Two things came from this race win by Brad. Number one is it keeps Brad firmly in possession of the number one ranking of this portion of the chase. Second, and most important to the number two car. This guarantees he will be moving in to the second round of the grid. 

As a Kyle Busch fan I have to admit something I should be embarrassed by. If Kyle doesn't win the chase, Brad is the next guy I'm rooting for. With the history of wrecks, and fights between Brad, and Kyle most fans of the two despise the other. For some reason though I like the guy, and the heart he shows for the sport. 

When he won the chase in 2012 it was a wild, and drunken party that no other champion has ever had. Doing all the interviews he was obligated to, you could tell he was three sheets to the wind. It'd be interesting to see if he goes down that road again, or just celebrates like past champions. Being Miller Lite sponsors him I'd go with the three sheets to the wind.

(Feeling tired I lied earlier, and got an image from ebay)

Kyle finally showed some hope for a decent chase with his result today. Starting from the pole, Kyle spent most the race around 12th. During the two late cautions the team took the chance, and came in both times. The first was to change his right side tires in hopes of a better finish. The second trip in the team went with all four tires, and the move paid off. On the last restart Kyle moved up into his final position of 7th place.

Currently the finish put Kyle in a tie with Jimmie Johnson for the 7th, and 8th place in points. Due to having more wins I would say Johnson is 7th, and Kyle is 8th. More important is that this puts Kyle 12 points ahead of Ryan Newman who is in 13th, and first to leave if the cutoff was today.  

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