The first race of the second elimination round of the new NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup is over. Three of the drivers who have won races and been on the top of the standings the whole season had issues at Kansas Speedway and are now at the bottom of the standings. They are in serious trouble of being out of contention and eliminated during this, The Contender Round, of the Chase.
This has many fans upset, especially fans of Brad Keselowski, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson. How can this be? How can drivers who have won races including Keselowski who won a Chase race be on the outside hoping to get back in? It is upsetting.
It is not a foregone conclusion that these three drivers will not make it to the next round but another unfortunate circumstance or bad race and they will not. Any one of them could win this week at Charlotte Motor Speedway or next week at Talladega Superspeedway and they would move forward. They could also have good runs and some of the other drivers suffer a similar fate as they did at Kansas.
Does this mean the new Chase format is bad. No! It means the new Chase format is doing exactly what it was supposed to.
The new Chase Format was supposed to create drama and excitement for the fans. It is certainly doing that. In the Chicago area rarely do I hear people talking about NASCAR. Just the other day I overheard two people talking about these same drivers possibly missing the Chase. If this shows up in the TV ratings as this progresses then the new format will have done it’s job.
In years past many fans lamented that the Championship was settled long before the last race of the season. This year it is not and cannot be settled until the last race at Homestead Miami Speedway.
I don’t wish any ill will on Keselowski, Earnhardt Jr. or Johnson but the next two races will be events to watch to see if they can win and get to the next round. It will also be exciting to see if other drivers can win or have issues to drop out. This is far from over, We will start the drama and excitement again with an even smaller set of drivers when the Elimination Round begins.
If you cannot get to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Bank Of America 500 it will be broadcast live on ABC, Saturday, October 11th 2014 at 7 PM ET.
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