After a long weekend at Chicago, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series now takes the show to New Hampshire for the second installment of the Chase. Chicago gave us a major jumble in the Chase standings after many of the drivers ran out of gas on the final laps of the Geico 400. Having attended the race in person, I have to say that Chicago was a fun track to see a race. Sight lines from the seats were great, and the atmosphere was great from the fans that were able to attend on Monday.
We got a surprise winner at Chicago with Tony Stewart being the driver that got to the finish line first. I have seen Tony Stewart win previously in the series, but I have to say that I was happy to see him get a win. That is the past now, and we all have to look forward to this Sunday’s race at the Magic Mile.
By the way, two pats on the back for me after the Chicago race. The first is that members of NASCARmedia.com, which we are a member of, had the opportunity to predict the point standing order after each race. I am happy to report that I correctly predicted that Denny Hamlin would be in 12th after Chicago. Not sure why I put him there, but at least I got one of them correct! Second pat on the back for me after Chicago is that the story lines are all new. I mentioned in my article last week that after the first race we would have plenty of new story lines to follow, and we do.
Qualifying has been completed at New Hampshire today and here is how the Chasers are going to line up for the show on Sunday.
Ryan Newman (1)
Kurt Busch (5)
Kevin Harvick (6)
Jeff Gordon (7)
Kyle Busch (8)
Jimmie Johnson (10)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (12)
Brad Keselowski (16)
Tony Stewart (20)
Carl Edwards (23)
Matt Kenseth (27)
Denny Hamlin (28)
The qualifying positions of the Chasers are a jumbled mess for New Hampshire. My expectation is that when the race is over we are going to see the standings jump all around again. I feel we will really not have a clear feeling for the standings and who has truly captured the Chase momentum until after the fourth or fifth race.
Some have talked this week that Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, and Denny Hamlin are already out of legitimate contention for winning the championship. I would disagree with this assumption at this point. We are one race into the Chase and any number of things could happen. These drivers cannot really afford to give back too many more points to be out of contention, but do not count them out. Two of those three drivers are previous champions, and all three of them can string great performances together. Keep in mind Hamlin just about upended Jimmie Johnson last year for the title. Keep your eye on them to storm towards the front this week.
We will see what happens on Sunday, but I would put money on a Chaser winning the race. Which one is extremely hard to say at this track. A number of them have had great runs at this track in the past. Be sure to follow along to our Twitter feed @troublinturntwo for commentary during the race. Take a moment to like us on Facebook as well. Thanks for stopping by!
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