After the crazy race at Richmond (Wonderful Pistachios 400) The Chase has been set.  Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr. were struggling to stay in the top 12 and Brad Keselowski and David Ragan were fighting to get into The Chase.  The top 12 drivers are:

  1. Kyle Busch
  2. Kevin Harvick
  3. Jeff Gordon
  4. Matt Kenseth
  5. Carl Edwards
  6. Jimmie Johnson
  7. Kurt Busch
  8. Ryan Newman
  9. Tony Stewart
  10. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  11. Brad Keselowski
  12. Denny Hamlin

I currently think that the top three drivers have the best chance of winning the championship, not only because they are at the top, they are all three driving very well right now at the end of the season.  This very well may be Kyle’s season; he has been chasing this down for several years, but I think his maturity will possibly help him stay focused in the final races this year.  Harvick is a wild card right now; he was in charge of a lot of the Richmond race and has come out of the woodwork in other races to win.  However, I think that Jeff Gordon stands the best chance.  This veteran is racing strong and peaking at the end of the season.  Gordon’s new crew chief has seemed to gel with him and they are currently on fire.  If there had not been a late race yellow flag (by Kevin Harvick’s teammate Menard) at Richmond, Gordon would have won the race as he was pulling away; he came out of the Pit second to Harvick and subsequently lost the race to him.  All I say is that there was nothing there to spin out Menard and the spin is being investigated.  I am also going to keep my eye on Brad Keselowski as he has been racing hard toward the end of the season and very well could race himself to the top of The Chase driving like he is.

At Richmond the Jimmie Johnson/Kurt Busch feud continued and when Jimmie retaliated for being spun out earlier in the race, he knocked himself into the garage, ending up with a 31st place finish and dropping himself to 6th place in The Chase while Kurt Busch finished 5th.  If these two competitors keep it up, they will knock themselves out of contention all together.

The start of the Richmond Race was crazy with multiple wrecks and spinouts that were wild.  I was sitting in turn 4 and watched a lot of the accidents play out to my left.  The first big wreck left both Denny Hamlin and Dale Jr. struggling to get their cars back in order.  Denny and Jr. both finished well enough to stay in the top 12, but it was a struggle.  Notably, one crazy moment that played out at Richmond was NASCAR making Brian Vickers sit out after intentionally going after Marcus Ambrose during a yellow flag run after Marcus wrecked both Red Bull teammates.  I couldn’t believe that after a “timeout” NASCAR let Vickers back out in race.  I thought he should have been banned the rest of the race.  His reaction was dangerous as his retaliation took place right at the site of the cleaning crews trying to clean up the second Red Bull car.

I have been saying it all along, this is a year of change and I hope anyone but Jimmie wins the championship.  The setup is here; it should be a good final stretch.  Enjoy.