OK, so it's the Chase again.
Do you like it or loath it?
Do you love the fact that drivers were fighting each other with single positions the difference between Chase and no Chase, and will be fighting for the next ten races for the title? Or loath the fact that the man who won the sport's biggest race and (arguably) the best driver in NASCAR will have to be contended with 13th.
Of course, NASCAR face a dilemma, as Dale "the cash-cow" Jr. isn't in the Chase (let's see them change the rules of next year). Nor, currently is he anywhere near the cut-off for next year's shootout, being about the 11th best Chevy in the standings, but that is but a small hurdle. Yes, there are quite a few Jr. rants week. You'll see.
Mike Bliss - Welcome to the merry-go-round that never stops that is the NASCAR driver market. On the merry-go-round this week Mike Bliss got off the horse-that-goes-up-and-down that is the #09 car and onto the static-sleigh-thingy of the #71 (if your interested in this strange metaphor David Gilliland was onto the bit-on-the-middle-that-doesn't-turn). And this week that static-sleigh-thingy had "transmission" troubles and finished 42nd....................10/10
Dave Blaney - The only man who failed to beat Mike was, the one, the only (thankfully as far as this season's "displays" have gone) Dave Blaney. Once more the Buckeye Blank was pulled in very, very early (36 laps the official count). And the good news is, with Yates and Petty merging for next year we're likely to have at least one more field filler. Competition for last place may soon become more fierce than for first......................10/10
Joe Nemechek - Are you sitting down? Good. Joe actually finished. I mean he almost did the proper race distance, only finishing 4 laps down, in 35th (for anyone else 35th would have me labelling them "anonymous" and "filler-ish", but Joe managing that this year is similar in surprise level to him managing to part the Red Sea, but if he can manage to get a proper sponsor for that I suppose there is always hope.............8/10
Dale Earnhardt Jr. - OK, so Jr. once again Dale Jr. looked like he might do something to warrant the hours of TV time that are dedicated to him, but once more failed miserably - I just want to find the first TV person to point out that Jr. is a failure as he's the only Hendrick car not in the Chase (and then follow him as he cashes his first Social Security check). However, the worst thing is the "Most Valuable Pit Crew", or whatever it is (it's probably got a sponsor in there somewhere). How in the name of chocolate covered pretzels can Dale Jr.'s pitcrew be considered valuable? They spent the first half of the season finding every excuse fathomable to be completely and utterly rubbish, and have spent the second half of the season being mediocre at best. No, it's clearly a sign that there are NASCAR fans who don't actually watch the racing, and only listen to the sentences that begin "look at Dale Earnhardt Jr...." or "Dick's got something on the 88 car." Rant Over...................7/10
Reed Sorenson - Reed Sorenson needs to win the lottery - that way we can get rid of Paul Menard to go and spend his inheritance and learn to shave properly. That's the only reason Menard the mobile chicane has a drive for next season, and Reed is out on his ear, despite finishing 16th to Menard's 28th, and while it was nice to see Reed trying to diversify into stunt driving as part of "Tony Stewart's Synchronised Spin Team" he is far better than to be jobless. Also, am I the only one who thinks that simply saying "Reynolds Wrap" is funny?.......4/10
Carl Edwards - Crippled Flipper did enough to get through to the Chase, there's not much you can say more than that. That was as well as winning the Nationwide race, and not being able to flip in celebration, which I suppose is a good thing, mainly because the scream of agony would have vapourised the first few rows of the crowd. However, it would be quite interesting to see how easy it is to thank all your sponsors while your foot is in jigsaw form...............4/10
Brian Vickers - Dale Jr. fans are very confused this week. They like Brian Vickers because he's kept Kyle Busch (the sworn enemy of Jr. nation) out of the Chase, but still have residual hatred for him from all the way in Talladega in what feels like a previous century, and of course for Lap124-gate at Daytona in February, where we all remember Vickers took out Jr. But Vickers fan(s), just rest safe i the knowledge that your man is in the Chase in a team that didn't exist three years ago, and Jr.'s a long way outside in the team that's set the pace for pretty much the past decade.........2/10
And the Brikkie goes too...........
Well, Clint Bowyer made a decent attempt at getting the last regular season Brikkie, but instead it gets aimed firmly at Matt Kenseth. Frankly, that was rubbish. To be honest the Brikkie was getting aimed as soon as your qualifying attempt was slower than thick syrup, and it looked like you'd rather be anywhere than Richmond this week, and anywhere other than the Chase next week, and if that was the case the second part of your wish came true.
Another stellar line-up for AFNK, with Chase contenders Brian Vickers and Tony Stewart, the (officially) employmentally challenged Jamie McMurray, Italy's own Max Papis. And of course the trifecta of excuses of Dave Blaney, Mike Bliss and Michael McDowell.