Just When I Thought I Was Out

Yesterday I was drawn back in, if only for an hour or so. I got to see my favorite driver win at the most storied track in American Motorsport if not World Motorsport. He did it as he has done it most of his career – he took a great car and won, for the 90th time to be exact. He is now in sole possession of third place on the All-Time Wins list and only 15 back of David Pearson. He may or may not reach that number and his current pace would argue against him hitting that mark. However, for this one afternoon, he had the best car and was the best driver, overcoming a late caution and potentially troublesome restart to take the lead. What does this all mean for rest of the season? Who knows, but as Gordon said after the race, the best team with the best car and the best driver usually wins at Indy, and most years that is enough for a title as well. He will no doubt have to pass his protege to win this season and maybe this is nothing more than an indian summer, but I hope its a bit more than that. I think Gordon has one more title in him and the drive for five is still alive!

Photo Credit: Dave Parker (AP)

Round and Round

Ever since Matt Kenseth’s unfathomable1 one-win Sprint Cup championship run, NASCAR hasn’t been able to sit still on tweaking their Championship format. The very next season, NASCAR introduced the Chase for the Championship. I think it’s safe to say it’s been a success … for Jimmie Johnson.

But no four years have been alike with the Chase, as they’ve been tweaking the formula ever since. This year, they expanded the Chase even more while simultaneously placing a “greater emphasis on winning”. To go along with the new emphasis on winning, they’re also highlighting the drivers who are chasing each other with special paint scheme elements for Chase eligible drivers. I actually kind of like this change, though admittedly I’m not sure this isn’t that different from the glowing puck that invaded our television screens twenty years ago courtesy of Fox. It also begs the question – should the cars ineligible for the Chase even be out there to begin with2?

  1. Albeit well-deserved and not necessarily unprecedented, as Terry Labonte garnered two Championships with just two wins.
  2. The quick answer is yes because having the full field running around the track is part of racing. But think about the possibilities for a second. Yeah, there it is.