Like many of you, I would have never thought we'd be talking 2 races in 2 "The Chase", the playoff system used by NASCAR to decide the champion in the year's final 10 races, that Tony would have 2 win's. Let's not kid ourselves, this was done mainly by knowing just how to work the fuel mileage game, which apparantly is the theme for this years race to the title. Last week and the week before that, Tony was able to pull of something he struggled to get all here.....win's. NASCAR'S worst kept sercet is ,no matter how much you wanna sugarcoat it, you HAVE to win to have any chance at this. Now Stewart leads by 7 points over harvick heading to NASCAR'S "Monster Mile". How ironic it is that we win at the "Magic Mile" and were heading to Dover. Before we get into that here's how the points look as of right now.
1. Tony Stewart (2,094 points)<---------
2. Kevin Harvick
(2,087 points, -7)
3. Brad Keselowski
(2,083 points, -11)
4. Carl Edwards (2,080 points, -14)
5. Jeff Gordon
(2,071 points, -23)
6. Kyle Busch (2,068 points, -26)
7. Matt Kenseth
(2,068 points, -26)
8. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2,068 points, -26)
9. Kurt Busch
(2,066 points, -28)
10. Jimmie Johnson
(2,065 points, -29)
11. Ryan Newman (2,060 points, -34)
12. Denny Hamlin (2,028 points, -66)
The one's underlined are the 2nd driver in points(the one closest to Tony) and this week's deadliest threats to win. We'll discuss them a little further down.
Tony, despite winning 2 races in 2000, has expressed a disinterest for this track. And with good reason to. His latest finishes since forming Stewart-Haas Racing are as follows.
2009- 2nd(11 laps led)
2011(1)- 29th(6 laps down.
Depending on how good your memory is, Grubb called a 2 tire pitstop in 2009 and was passed by Jimmie Johnson with 3 to go. Yes I do remember that...my T.V payed for it. And really ever since then he's been lucky to get a top 10 and the last 2 visist havent seen stewart in the top 20. That should do thing's.
1. Stomach turn
2. Heart Ache
3. Head ache.
4. Defintely no sleep tonight.
However if you are a believe in momentum(or miracles for that matter) then you should be optimistic headed to the concrete surface this weekend. Reasons why:
1. Tony know's this track real well(he's won there twice)
2. His bad finishes have been asscotiated mainly with bad luck.
3. This year has been fuel ,Fuel ,FUEL..did I mention fuel? Stewart AND grubb seem to have figured this out and get maximize it(thank you Mobil 1!!)
4. Even with a little slip.....he wont be out of it. Keep in mind that I said little for a reason.
O.k now to look at the Guy's who I have underlined. These are guy's who need to have bad day's...or not do as well as they have before. Or just plain something go wrong.
Kevin Harvick- Obvious reasons he's 2nd in points. Keep track of where's he at all day. Scrath that....ALL WEEKEND LONG.
Brad K- If you've been watching NASCAR the last 3 months....you'll know why. He's scary good when we go to tracks for the 2nd time. Keep an eye out for him on RACE DAY. That's when he gets dangerous.
Jeff Gordon- Just keep an eye on him. He's been to good lately to ignore him.
Matt Kenseth- This guy would have had 10th if it hadnt been for an illegal assist from jj yeley and he was good last week. He won this race in the spring and although a win likely won't put him in the lead he would have a huge shot in the arm which at this point could spark something we obviously don't want.
Kurt Busch- He likely won't win(of course anything is possbile) but he's been whining like a 3 year old baby as of late and giving Tony and Kurt's history(especially at dover) just hope those 2 stay clear of each other.
Kyle Busch(the one that does the bowing thing)- He win's ,win's, and O yea. HE WIN'S. Chase contender? They havent proven it yet but he's one to watch for it at dover. Plus he's the younger brother of the afformentioned cry baby so again...keep him away from Tony.
Jimmie Johnson- I know you don't want to hear it. But you can't ignore him. Not this time of year. If he win's this week then don't get your panties in a wad or nothing, but just remember...he's won 5 straight. Not that you needed a reminder.
This week if Tony can get a solid top 10, like a 7th preferably, then he should be o.k no matter what. So here's some key's to doing that.
1. Stay out of trouble- This track can bite you.
2. Stay smooth- Nothing agressive...just survive.
3. Stay Smart- No point in getting dumb at this point.
4. Do what you've done that got you here- You're here for a reason. Keep doing that.
5.Qualify Well- Track position will be key to staying out of trouble.
Overall I think Tony will do fine. History's not good at this track but he's got momentum, a different car, more expereince, the point's lead, and a very smart crew chief. Dover is a monster and it's going to be a long 3 1/2 hours but if we can get through this week......optimism and confidence would kick in to overdrive.
Join me again next Wedensday as I break down dover and get ready for kansas!!
Stay Hoepfull SMOKE Fans!!!