IN THE DRAFT: One win gives Almirola Chase spot
I have been saving this topic. We all have been waiting for this moment to arrive and it finally did at Daytona.
Win and you're in the Chase has created a mess. I thought it would be Danica Patrick but instead it's Aric Almirola. Didn't you expect someone besides a "name" driver would win a race and thus qualify for the Chase?
I understand the reasoning behind the rule, but now I get to disagree with it. First and foremost I should be happy because it is a Ford but I am not thrilled with the fact that Aric winning may knock a top driver out of the Chase.
Yes, it has put a premium on winning, and it should, but do you really think NASCAR is going to be happy if Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth or Kasey Kahne fail to qualify? If some of the previous winners continue to win, then Kenseth would be in, but as for the other two they need a win.
In the present standings there a couple of glaring non-winners near the top who would surprise some people. Ryan Newman is in eighth, Paul Menard is 10th, Clint Bowyer is 12th and Austin Dillon is 13th. With a good stretch of racing from any of these drivers they could push Kenseth in seventh out of the Chase. I guess I still believe in paying for consistency and Almirola's win has diminished that thought.
Where does it take us? To the possibility of having a couple of lesser knowns in the Chase and that will open it up for one of the same drivers winning another title. The lesser knowns will be first eliminated in the new format and Jimmie Johnson will win again.
One more thing about Sunday's race - I know I was not the only one who noticed the caution for debris was timely for Dale Earnhardt Jr., as the first car a lap down, and Patrick, who had fallen off the pace as a result of a bad pit stop. If not for the rain, one of them probably would have won the race. As we know, NASCAR can control it any way it chooses!
If NASCAR wants to do something to control stuff, include a road course and another short track in the Chase. The mile-and-a-half tracks all favor the favorites and basically eliminates the also rans.
It's on to New Hampshire and watch out! Don't be surprised to see Brian Vickers in the winners circle this week. He has been good on that track and he could use a win to "secure his spot in the Chase." I hate I am thinking that way! See you next week!