IN THE DRAFT: Chase comes down to two
During the final scene of one of my favorite movies, Sheriff Bart is getting ready to leave Rock Ridge. Howard Johnson says - you can't go Sheriff, we need you here.
Bart responds with a wonderful speech about freedom, justice and his work being done.
The townspeople reply with an expletive and then Bart says, "alright, you caught me! Speak the plain truth, it's getting pretty dull around here."
Goodbye Rock Ridge. Hello NASCAR.
The Chase for the Sprint Cup has turned into a boring two-car battle. Just like Rock Ridge, it was pretty dull in Texas and that has resulted in little or no excitement.
Now, I am not expecting the racing to be four or five cars battling for a win because that never happens, but I would like to see some lead changes or someone different leading once in a while! Let me say this, too, Jimmie Johnson is one of the best ever and he has earned that distinction by having won five titles, but I just want to see a little more competition.
I thought Jeff Gordon was ready to make a move after last week's win, but that thought vanished on lap 74 and his opportunity for championship number five disappeared. Kevin Harvick was floundering around in third and Kyle Busch in fourth but they were longshots at best and now with two races remaining they are out of it.
So that leaves only Matt Kenseth with a chance to upend Johnson's bid for his sixth title and can he do it? Last year, Brad Keselowski was seven points behind Johnson when they left Texas and he was able to pass him and win the championship, so why can't Matt? He can. If Matt can survive Phoenix then he will have that chance.
Johnson usually runs well at Phoenix while Kenseth has always had trouble at that track. So the No. 20 team will need to do all in its power to make this race a good one. Maybe they can enlist Gordon or Clint Bowyer to help him out. Their decision last year to wreck each other in Phoenix aided Keselowski in catching Johnson and maybe they will do the same this year.
I really hate to admit it, but as of right now no one is going to pass Jimmie. If he continues to run like he did at Texas, he could not only win six, but who is to say he won't win seven, eight and nine? He drives for one of the best teams ever assembled. One reason for their success is that they have been together a long time. Continuity creates success and they have both.
I will watch the race Sunday hoping for some action so this Chase can tighten up some. The last thing I want is for the Homestead race to be anticlimactic. I don't need a railroad coming through my town. I don't want gunfights or bad guys coming into town to create excitement. I just want to see some good racing. Maybe Phoenix will be the answer. There aren't many one-mile tracks out there with short track characteristics, so who knows?
As Bart is leaving Rock Ridge and riding away, he tells the townspeople to keep the faith. I am trying to keep the faith about NASCAR because I hope one day it will return to the excitement it used to be. Unless something changes, then we fans will be riding to nowhere special just like Bart and the Waco Kid. We are almost there now because there ain't much special to watch. See you after Phoenix.