So I was wrong last week. I wrote last week that the Evil Empire (A.K.A. Jimmie Johnson) and Denny Hamlin were the only two drivers that really had a chance of winning the Sprint Cup. At the end of the race last week at Martinsville, we actually learned that three drivers have a realistic chance at this point going into Talladega to win the cup. We can now add Kevin Harvick back into the mix.
A couple of thoughts on Martinsville before we get to Dega. Why doesnâ€™t NASCAR have more short tracks in the Chase? I really could not tell you the answer to that question, but the short tracks give the best racing year in and out. Yes we get Dega this week which will be excellent pack racing, but the short tracks have us on the edge our seats just as well. With the short tracks as well, you can get in an accident and not be eliminated from the race. For the most part this weekend, if you get in the soup, you are done.
So what is going to happen at Dega this weekend. The true wildcard race of the Chase occurs. It will actually be too bad that once again the ratings for this race will actually be down from year over year. No reason to get into that now, we will save that for an offseason discussion. Even predicting what is going to happen is tough to say. Everyone will have pretty much an equal car. The only bonus points worth watching for are who will lead the most laps. Keep in mind with the pack that just about every driver this weekend will lead the race.
Letâ€™s go this direction, one of the three top contenders will have a bad day on Sunday. There is no way to say who it is going to be, just a gut feeling there. If it happened that all three of them went up in flames during the race, there is a chance some of the other contenders could make it interesting over the last couple of weeks of the season. As for a winner of the race for this week, I will say it is going to be a driver without a win for the season.
So why would I ask this question? If you have not seen the news, Jeff Gordon has a new sponsor for next year. The good folks at Dupont are still associated with the Hendrick Motorsports Team, but they will only be on the car for about a 1/3 of the races next year. So who is taking over? Gordon will be driving the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet. Drive to End Hunger is an initiative from AARP to end hunger for those 60 and over in the United States. Yes, it is a charity when it boils down to it. A good thing or a bad thing? My opinion, bad. The charity should take the money they are spending in sponsorship and put back into feeding the elderly. Please keep in mind there again, that is just my own opinion. This also means that those of us who attend the races will be further hounded for more donations. I am not against asking for donations and even give a donation from time to time, but race fans seem to be asked over and over at the track for donations. It could go that direction, or it could go the other direction where charities that have relied on donations at the track will be shut out.
Coming at the end of this weekend in my next article, the top five sponsors who need to get involved in NASCAR. Yes it will be sarcastic look.
Enjoy the races, and have a great weekend.