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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Thinkin’ Out Loud: 2015 Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead

Who’s in the headline – Just eight months after severely breaking his leg and foot at Daytona during the first Xfinity Series race of the season, Kyle Busch stands above all others at the 2015 Cup series champion. Busch ran third and maintaining a healthy lead over Kevin Harvick as Brad Keselowski was headed to the win in the race. A caution with nine laps to go for a small piece of debris outside of the racing groove on the frontstretch resulted in a restart with six laps to go. Busch beat Keselowski on the restart and drove away to the victory.

What happened – The four drivers competing for the title were up front for the first third of the race. As the sun went down, the handle went away for Martin Truex Jr. and Jeff Gordon. Gordon made it back to the top 10 when the checkered flag flew, but he was a non-factor as the laps wound down. Busch started on the outside of the front row when the final restart of the night took place, beat Keselowski off turn 2 to secure the lead and then drove away to the race win and the title. Joey Logano led the race early.

Through pit stops and caution flags throughout the race Busch, Harvick, Gordon and Keselowski led substantial numbers of laps along with Kyle Larson, Carl Edwards and Truex. The biggest incident of the race occurred off turn 2 on lap 46, which started with Clint Bowyer getting into Ty Dillon. It eventually collected Dale Earnhardt Jr., Casey Mears and Aric Almirola. There were seven total caution flags, 18 lead changes among eight leaders and no on-track passes for the lead that did not take place on a restart.

Why you should care – The constant detractors of Busch claim he has amassed his win totals by racking them up in the support series of NASCAR. He is an NXS champion but had never taken home the big prize in the Cup Series. This was his 34th career victory, which puts him 21st on the all-time wins list in the Cup Series. By the time he’s done he’ll most likely be in the top 10. This title all but ensures that Busch will be in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

What your friends are talking about – The big buzz during the closing laps and following the checkered flag was the validity of Busch winning the title after missing 11 races to start the season. He had been given a waiver due to his injuries but still had to make it into the Chase by winning and being in the top 30 in points. Busch won four races and finished the regular season in 25th position in the points. It is fair to dislike the system and the fact he received the waiver, but there is no question that he earned what was necessary to qualify for the Chase and then did what was necessary to win the title. That included winning the championship race.

All of the talk before the final race of the season was the swan song of Gordon. The sport was on the verge of its explosion when Richard Petty took his final checkered flag of his career and Gordon saw his first at Atlanta in 1992. Gordon changed the sport in several ways, from increased corporate involvement to greater driver involvement in hospitality at the track. He broke the mold that said drivers had to come from the south and drive stock cars in order to get a shot at a full-time ride in the series. As he leaves the sport, it very well could be on the verge of moving toward a different horizon that could lead to another boom or a major bust. One thing is for sure: Every driver in the garage can thank Gordon for the lifestyle that they now enjoy because he was the impetus for its acceptance as a mainstream sport.

Questionable caution flags are frequently a debate in NASCAR these days, and there was certainly another one at the end of the race in Homestead. The caution flag flew for a small piece of metal that was low on the front straight with 10 laps to go in the race. While it was a piece of debris and it was technically on the racetrack, it was nowhere near the area of the track where the competitors were running who had a chance to win the event. The end result was Keselowski lost the race to Busch, and Larson, who was significantly faster and closing on the leader at that point in time, was robbed of a chance to get his first career win. While some people believe that anything on the racing surface should be grounds for a caution, the reality of it is that especially at that point of the event, the yellow should only come out for a more clear and present danger.

Who is mad – Larson was clearly upset at the developments at the end of the race surrounding the caution flag. After rocketing to the front and winning the NXS race late on Saturday night, he was poised to do exactly the same thing on Sunday. He ran down Busch, who pulled over to let him by, and was reeling Keselowski in by half a second a lap when the yellow flew. His car showed strength on the long runs, and a seven lap sprint to the checkers was not what he needed.

Keselowski has to be irritable as well, after losing a race that he was leading with 10 laps to go for the second time in three weeks. While he was most likely going to be passed by Larson had the race stayed green, Keselowski was first off of pit lane under the questionable caution. He chose to restart on the inside line, which ultimately let Busch have the momentum off of turn 2 that he utilized to get to the front and take the win.

Earnhardt Jr. came into Homestead feeling as though he had a strong shot at a win. He had the same car that was fastest for much of the Texas race and was starting in the ninth spot. He chose to take tires early on a quick caution which put him back in the pack. When Bowyer washed up and made contact with Dillon, Earnhardt was an innocent bystander. Instead of scoring a win and thinking what could have been were it not for the quick yellow at Talladega, he finished 40th with a torn-up racecar.

Who is happy – He may not have had the Cinderella ending that he’d hoped for but Gordon was competitive to the end of his racing career. The final win of his career was at his favorite racetrack four weeks ago. He finished in the top 10 at Homestead for a third-place points run, and he was surrounded by a myriad of people who loved him and contributed to his storied career. Gordon begins his broadcasting career in three months and will certainly have a multitude of stories to share over the coming years from the broadcast booth.

Edwards spent his first year at Joe Gibbs Racing learning the system and his team. In the end he scored two wins, made the Chase and walked away as the highest finishing driver not in the final four. Edwards beat Logano for fifth place by eight points. Edwards loves the low downforce package and will look to improve on this season’s results when it becomes the standard rules package in 2016.

The fans were at least somewhat happy on Sunday. The delayed start of the race pushed the end to a point where it would interfere with Football Night in America on NBC. The network told the amassed media that they would move the race to NBC Sports Network at 7 p.m. to allow the NFL pregame show to take over. The ratings for FNA dwarf NASCAR and most other shows on television, so anyone with a reasonable amount of logic had to understand the decision. Instead, the network elected to keep the race on NBC and also kept the Hot Pass running on NBC Sports for the length of the race. While the event was hardly a barn burner, it was great to see money lose out for once when it came to broadcast decisions.

When the checkered flag flew:

Busch won his 34th career Cup series race in his 390th start.

Busch is the 31st different driver in the 67-year history of NASCAR to win the Cup Series title.

This win was Busch’s fifth of 2015.

The victory was the first of his career at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Busch is 21st on the all-time wins list, two behind Matt Kenseth for the top 20.

Busch now has 154 triumphs across the three national touring series of NASCAR.

Harvick finished second for the 13th time in 2015. That is a record for the modern era of NASCAR, which started in 1972.

Harvick has 44 career second-place finishes which ranks him 12th all-time. He is four behind Lee Petty for 10th.

This was Harvick’s fourth top-two run at Homestead in 15 starts. Harvick has completed 4,009 of 4,010 laps in his 15 runs in south Florida. 2007 is the only race where he did not finish on the lead lap.

Keselowski wound up third at Homestead on Sunday night. It was his seventh top-three run of 2015.

Keselowski finished on the podium at Homestead for the second time of his career and the second year in a row.

This was the 44th time in his career that Keselowski crossed the finish line in one of the first three spots.

Brett Moffitt finished the race in 31st position. He was not only the Rookie of the Race but he was also announced as the Rookie of the Year.

Busch, Harvick, Keselowski and Bobby Labonte are the four drivers in history who have won an NXS and Cup title in their careers.

This is the first drivers’ title for Toyota.

Takin’ it to the Bank:

Cup winners this year have pocketed $11,904,520 in 36 races, while the last place finisher has taken home $2,764,504.

In the NXS Series it has been $2,369,457 for the winners and $431,392 for last place in 33 races.

After 23 Truck races the winner has $1,135,850 in his coffers and the last loser has banked $213,366.

What is in the cooler – Champagne, Budweiser and Monster Energy drinks. The season is officially wrapped up and the champion is Kyle Busch. While there was plenty of pomp and circumstance around the event, and thankfully it went the distance, it was another typical mile-and-a-half race with the current aero package. Thankfully it is the end of the line for it as the series goes to the low downforce package next season. The race also had the questionable caution at the end. As a result it gets two lukewarm Budweisers, as the iconic brand drops the checkered flag on its involvement in the sport for the near future at least.

Where do you point your DVR for next week – Next week you need to point your DVR at a local short-track race available online if you can’t attend in person. There are drivers across the country chasing the dream of being the next Busch and you can see them if you support your local racetrack.

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Bertus

I am not a Kyle Busch fan. Probably never will be, but I do consider him talented and I did expect him to eventually win a Cup championship. I have some issue with him missing 11 races (due to a non-Cup related injury) and still being in contention for a championship at Homestead, but as the race wound down I came to accept that Kyle would be champion… Given his 4 wins this year, I could even argue that he deserves it.

However, that last caution ruined the whole race for me. I am still disgusted at being up beyond 3AM to watch the race, then being denied actual racing playing out.

I wont be able to say this was my last Nascar race… I know that I am a motorsport nut and I will be back next season… but a warning: I used to say the same about Formula 1, and now looking back on the season I’ve realised that the season had passed me by.

rg72

There has to be a forthcoming hostage video from Kes explaining why he chose the inside line on that last restart. Same stench as the decision Gordon made to pit from 2nd place at the end of last year’s Homestead race. Like last year, makes me wonder if NASCAR “encouraged” that decision, knowing it would set up a 1-2 finish with Chasers.
Another comparison to last year. A one-race champion being fast tracked to the Hall of Fame, with a resume enhanced by AAA stats.

janice

i wondered about kez starting on the inside lane myself after that “questionable caution.”

dh

Me too. Why would you ever pic the inside on that restart. I knew It’s be hard for Harv to win his second, but Kes just gave that win away

stan

Did brad take the inside to put harvick behind kyle and make sure harvick couldn’t win the championship? Payback.

dh

Quite possible. I mean, he also appeared to move over and let them race, I think he may have temporarily lost his mind and forgot how good KB is on restarts.

J.Smith

They really caked the lipstick on that Homestead pig. I found myself almost amped up with all the prerace hype and decided to watch it “live”. That didn’t last past caution two when I resorted to DVR and a nap. I agree with Bertus that BZF made a mistake by stealing an exciting organic finish with Larson & Brad just to leave us with yet another canned game 7 moment. It’s too good to be true, the *champion wins the *race. I hear that Vince McMahon said “that NASCAR crap is too fake” and Bravo’s Andy Cohen has invited the chase drivers to a reunion show. I am starting a rumor that the “debris” was kicked off the flagstand by the flagman. Busch makes history in that he was awarded the largest welfare gift ever, 454 points. How many asterisks should Busch have before his name, at least two, one for the chase and a second for the waiver.

Richie

First of all, a hearty congratulations to Kyle Busch and the 18 team for the championship win. That made me very happy. What did not make me happy was the inevitable late caution for “debris”. The wife and son were watching with me and we were predicting which lap it would be thrown. The son said 5 to go, the wife said 7 to go and I, being the idiot I am said it would go green to the end. It was shaping up to be a nice battle in the closing laps between the 2 and 42 and I was rooting for Larson to snag his first win. So, why was the caution thrown?
a) NASCAR wanted a closer race between the chase drivers than the snoozer we were getting?
b) NASCAR wanted to give the 4 and 24 a last shot at causing havoc on the track?
c) NASCAR wanted Kyle Busch to win the race so that the chase winner was also the race winner?
d) All of the above?
e) The caution was legit?
Whatever, I felt robbed of a great finish to the race once it was all said and done. Fitting manipulated end to a lousy, manipulated season I guess.

Earner

Amen..Last caution a Very Poor Attempt at the”Game 7 Moment”…Long time fan & glad thats over…Dull race at a Dull track in Dull car…Thought Lewis Hamilton & Mario Hanging out with Jeff…Congrats to Jeff Great Career …From a Dale SR fan…

Carl D.

Add me to the list of people who thought that last caution was a cheap ploy to maniputate the end of the race. I’m not a Kyle Busch fan but I have no problem with him winning the championship or being granted the waiver. He won five races this season despite only running in 25… that’s pretty impressive. While he wasn’t my first pick, at least it wasn’t the punk in the #4 car who won. That was sweet.

Mike

Q: Who’s in the headline?
A: Kyle Busch. I didn’t watch the race so came here to find out who won.

Q: What happened?
A: Dunno. Didn’t watch it. Tho can guess from the comments in the Frontstretch articles…

Q: Why you should care?
A: I don’t tho I like Joe Gibbs

Q: What your friends are talking about?
A: The Iron Bowl. And the fact that the way-overrated Ohio State finally got exposed. And Alabama high school football playoffs. My high school alma mater lost their playoff game Friday. My college alma mater beat Idaho (seriously, we feel good about a victory over Idaho?). My grad school alma mater got it handed to ’em by Michigan State. Oh, this is NASCAR…sorry.

Q: All of the talk before the final race of the season was the swan song of Gordon?
A: Congrats to a fine career. Was never a fan but to quoth my father, “I guess he’s ok for a yankee”.

Q: Questionable caution flags?
A: Didn’t watch it but am not surprised if they happened.

Q: Who is mad?
A: Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliot had a public tantrum…

Q: Who is happy?
A: BZF’s accountant?

Q: The fans were at least somewhat happy on Sunday?
A: I’ll take your word for it. We had in-laws Turkey Day Sunday so I was loopy on Tryptophan, sweet taters, and a whole bunch of other high-carb, high-fat happiness.

Q: When the checkered flag flew?
A: I’m sure the announcers were talkin like their shorts were on too tight. And, heaping praise on Gordon, and talking about KB missed 1/3 of the season. I dunno, didn’t watch it.

Q: Takin’ it to the Bank?
A: BZF will probably bathe in $500 bills.

Q: What is in the cooler?
A: Leftover turkey.

Q: Where do you point your DVR for next week?
A: I’m holding out for the second season of “Better Call Saul”. Good advice on local short tracks. At least there you’ll actually see some racing.

JER

JSmith agree with the asterisks, however every “champion” after 2003 should have a asterisk beside their name. Now that Jeff is gone the only real champions left are Tony and Matt. Speaking of Matt it was interesting during driver introduction to hear the difference in crowd response between him and Logano.

janice

i can’at help but think that na$car wanted toyota to have championship, although the manufacturer’s championship was won, again, by chevy.

when the “debris” caution came out, i said to myself…..self, here’s where jeff gordon’s car will miraculously come back to life and take over the lead. unfortunately brad got the memo to start on the inside and let the 18 start up high and take off. when i saw that i knew the call was in for toyota to be the car the that champion drove to victory. wonder what under the table deal was done to keep penske quiet with the shenanigans?

i saw a bit of driver’s intros….loved the noise for kenseth and the boos for logano. poor tony stewart needs to have male-spanx for a sponsor. he’s definitely rocking the aj foyt/jimmy spencer look.

will i be back to sport in february? only if it’s a snowy weekend here in ga and nothing else needs to be done. na$car’s credibility is in the toilet so i fear lots of us older fans will find other things to do on weekends.

you did it na$car…hope you’re happy.

Bill B

Funny Janice. I thought “Jimmy Spencer” when I saw Stewart walk out during intros as well. Too many donuts I suppose.

Bill B

Glad it’s over.
It was awesome and very emotional for me watching Gordon make his final walk to the car. The only good thing about the rain was that it provided an extended period for that coverage since the track was still being dried and there was no hurry. At the end he got to walk off into the sunset in one piece with a stellar career behind him.

Not a fan of Busch and never will be but I’d rather he be champion than Harvick after that Talladega deal (hell I’d have rooted for Hitler before I’d root for Harvick after Talladega). At least karma was served. The fact that Busch missed 11 races and wouldn’t have even been in the picture in either the old season long format or the original chase format should really alienate more old school fans. The first 26 races have been further devalued.

That late needless caution was just so typical. A microcosm of what NASCAR has become and another reason why I am glad Gordon is retiring and I can scrape NASCAR off of the bottom of my shoe.

I am officially a casual fan now. Free at last, free at last, free at last.

janice

bill – this abg fan from when senior was alive, was moved watching gordon make the final walk to his car.

i did find it interesting when either petty or jarrett was talking about the eras, petty era, gordon era, how the fans and the sport said goodbye, and how we didn’t get to say goodbye to the earnhardt era. i shed a tear when they said that. i firmly believe sr would have just said at end of a season, i’m done, bye. he wouldn’t had wanted all the hoopla.

Bill B

I don’t think he would have had a choice. With all the contracts that need to be set up a year in advance (sponsors and driver), the army of media that now covers the sport, there’s no way he would have been able to keep it a secret and just walk away without anyone knowing it was his last race.

GinaV24

Bill, I’m with you, free at last!

Janice, yes, even though I wasn’t a fan of Dale Sr (ha, how could I be since I was a Gordon fan?), I thought of his fans not getting to say good bye, too, when Jarrett was talking about the end of the various eras. I was still stunned and sad when Dale passed. No one wants to see that happen to any driver.

One of the major thoughts I had all year was hoping that Gordon would get thru the year safely and happily he did.

If I had to bet, I think Gordon would have preferred to step out last year, but as Bill says, the contracts and all that are in place probably would have made that difficult to do.

Gary

Agree Bill B. about Hardick and Talladega. That was the nail in the coffin.

DoninAjax

I guess the drivers didn’t want to bring out the last caution so Brian did the usual. I tuned in at the end and I thought the “debris” was a crushed Monster Energy drink bottle. At least Mr. Delana Harvick didn’t win.

Jim

Wow, some folks put a lot of effort into writing a post who purport not to watch the race. Maybe I’ll go over to the Meet the Press website and comment on what I didn’t watch yesterday morning!

Anyway, never a fan of the #41, but good for him. Pretty amazing accomplishment when you think of the exhaustive rehab that he had to get through. I don’t get the detractors who say it was due to a non-Cup event…the rehab and the accomplishments are the same whether he was hurt in wreck or after a fall bringing the laundry downstairs.

And while I’m at it, good luck to Hamlin, who has been racing with a painful leg injury much of the year.

Not a great year on the track, let’s hope the low-downforce rules next year help….at least the tires fell off at a good rate yesterday.

And thanks for the memories, Jeff…hope you can get a word in edgewise in the booth next year!

Bill B

Hey Einstein. If you are going to antagonize commenters by telling them they didn’t watch the races you might want to check your facts first. Kyle Busch drives the 18 not the 41 the last time I checked. This begs the question,,, did you watch the race? … and how long have you even been following NASCAR?

Jim

Oh, please forgive me for citing the Kurt’s number instead of Kyle’s. I’ll appear at the town square for my caning at noon tomorrow. I won’t even chastise you for putting those three commas where you meant to put periods between “question” and “did”.

And yup, I watched the race, and have been watching NASCAR since it was on TNN and ESPN. And I even put my money where my mouth is and attend a Cup race once or twice a year. Can even tell a 41 from an 18 most Mondays.

And yup, still think it’s odd to write a long post while admitting to not watching any of it. Just me, I guess.

Bill B

Agreed on that last sentence but that ain’t me babe. I’ve watched every race in real time (no dvr), taken off work to watch when it rains, went to at least 1 race per year for the last 20. I maybe miss watching one or two a year live due to family commitments (and they usually try to schedule around the race whenever possible).
I make no promises as to my watching habits in the future.

janice

i’ve been a fan of racing for almost 40 yrs. the changes that i’ve seen in the past few years has really messed up racing. this year with the blatant crap that goes on……well i guess when you’re old like me you realize that the time spent watching a sport that is no longer a sport and billed as a “show” or “event” just doesn’t fit what i need. i mean we all knew a caution would come out prior to the end of the race, somewhere within the last 15 or so laps. the person crowned champion missed 11 races, but was given a medical waiver by the sanctioning body cause he got horribly injured at one of their own properties because he hit a hard wall where they should have installed a safer barrier wall years before.

years and years ago there use to be the iroc series, invited drivers from all venues of racing to race in a handful of races. all the cars were the same and set up by iroc. na$car has become iroc. only thing missing are drivers from open wheel and drags being invited race…but hey, just wait, road courses bring out the need for specialists.

Mike

Amen, sister.

GinaV24

ha, wrong Busch brother there, Jim. Kyle drives the 18 — even I know that and I’m not one of his fans.

David

I’m done. When the Chase was introduced, I figured that even if the “champion” was no longer relevant, I could still enjoy each race as a stand-alone event. As the last few races have shown, even that’s no longer possible with the elimination format. So after church yesterday, as usual, I headed over to my brother’s house for football. The only difference from previous Sundays? I didn’t set the DVR.

I learned the outcome later in the evening from some friends’ posts on Facebook. Nothing less than what I expected.

Gary

I’m done.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Aaron

NASCAR got what it deserves! Create a reality TV show environment, get a reality TV show ending! Congrats BZF! You really outdid yourself this time. Could not happen to better bunch of people!

That being said, credit to Kyle. He sealed the deal and did what he had to do within the rules to be declared the “champion”.

Hindsight being 20/20, if BZF just left the points alone after 2003, Jeff Gordon would have retired yesterday as a 7 time Champion (’04, ’07 & ’14). 7 time Champion using the same point structure as Earnhardt used to achieve his 7 titles. https://twitter.com/PitRho/status/664489764909748224 . Imagine how, if possible, more revered Gordon would be. Instead of “one of the greats”, he would be equal with Petty and Earnhardt….

Kevin in SoCal

You cant expect drivers to race the same with a Chase as they did with a season-long championship. Remember in 2006 when Tony Stewart missed the Chase? He went out and won 2 or 3 more races on fuel mileage that he never would have done if he was still in the championship hunt.

2007 for sure, as Jeff put a whooping on the field and had it locked up by the 3rd to last race, but he faded in the Chase and let Johnson pass him.

DoninAjax

Before the chase there were complaints that drivers raced for points and not wins. After the chase started there are complaints that drivers race for points to stay in the chase. Drivers have advanced during the chase without wins. Drivers race the way they want whether or not there is a chase.

When is Brian going to realize you don’t need wins to “win” a POINTS title.

Rod

I have BIG issues with him missing 11 races (due to a non-Cup related injury) and still being in contention for a championship at Homestead. Brian France said he would do anything he could to make sure Kyle Busch would not miss the Chase, I consider 2015 season was a joke with all of Nascar rules they come up with, they are ruining it for everyone JUST REMEMBER KYLE BUSCH IN MY BOOKS WILL ALWAYS BE A PART TIME CHAMPION ……..
His Championship should come with an ASTERICK by it, He was a 20th place driver in my book !!! NASCAR IS A JOKE……….

GinaV24

Well I enjoyed the pre-race festivities a lot and had a lot of emotions running thru me watching Gordon walk down pit road to his car for his final race. I was very happy that he was competitive to the end – even if he wasn’t in the same league as the cars of Busch & Harvick. A top 10 in his final race wasn’t too shabby and it was nice to see NASCAR, the teams, his family, friends and fan enjoying it with him.

Yes I have a problem with someone who missed as many races as KyBu did taking home the big trophy, but whatever, NASCAR just continues the farce of deciding who is champion.

The best thing about next year? I will be a casual fan. I no longer have a driver that I care about in NASCAR or anyone to cheer on and have hopes for winning the trophy, so if next year Brainless decides that they need to wrestle bears or jump thru hoops of flame to qualify to win the crapshoot, so be it, I will be “entertained” but not interested or concerned. That works pretty well for me. I figure I can watch Fox and see Jeff do his new gig as commentator – even though that means I will have to deal with listening to Old DW & his idiot brother but once the weather gets nice, I’ll go find something else to do. What a pleasant thought that is.

So what did our buddy Jerry Jordan have to say besides throwing insults around about the Toyota haters at the fans? I hear he’s won awards for his writing but based on what I have read/observed, maybe no one else was in the competition. I didn’t bother to read anything but the headline since a headline that is THAT derogatory and insulting isn’t worth the click.

To my friends on the site, hope you enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday

janice

GinaV24 – you as well.

i was glad jeff could retire his own way. he at least didn’t hang around like dw did and that pitiful victory lap tour he did. watching him and ella walk to his car was bittersweat. leo was having none of the pre-race stuff. jeff had to talk to leo and then jeff just did the walk with ella. i knew all year the back issue was nagging him. he came into the sport a boy with a dream and retired from the sport with respect. i know old sr was smiling down on “wonderboy” yesterday.

GinaV24

thanks, Janice. Leo does not seem to be big on noise and crowds – can’t blame him. Gordon was an Ironman indeed considering how bad his back has been over the past few years.

Yes, I like to think that Big E was smiling about all the hoopla for “wonderboy” yesterday, too.

Bill B

Amen on all points Gina and right back at you on the Happy Thanksgiving wishes.

nc1fish

Mama is nascar really dead?

Upstate24fan

I have no problem with Kyle Busch winning the Championship. You can find fault with the system if you want, but under it Kyle was no doubt deserving. He won 5 races, good for 2nd in the series, and that’s spotting the field 11 races. I look at the teams that just missed out on the Chase (43, 5, 16) and I don’t see those teams as more championship worthy than the 18. Kyle Busch finally validated his talent with a Cup Championship. I’m disappointed that Gordon missed out, but I was at Martinsville and that was like celebrating a championship.

On the last caution, I’ve read multiple reports that it was a piece of metal in the racing groove. TV didn’t catch it until it got knocked to the apron. Disappointed for Larson, but it didn’t change the Championship. Though, I was sure hoping it would. Like it or not, Homestead is a big event now. It had that feel yesterday. Now two years in a row the Champion had to win the race. I still don’t think the Chase is the most accurate measure of a champion, but this version is the best so far.

brokenarrow

No asterisk required for this well-deserved championship! In what parallel universe do you geniuses think that starting the season with a broken leg, a broken foot, surgery and rehab gives a driver an ADVANTAGE in winning a championship? “Ooh, that’s not how we did it in the old days.” Get over it. Seeing DW lifted into his car with a broken leg to score “points” for driving a single lap was hardly the pinnacle of racing history.

Fact is, Kyle spotted the field 11 races and still fulfilled all the requirements to be in the Chase. Then while other drivers were acting like third-graders, Kyle stayed cool, worked his way into the final, withstood a questionable caution at the end and drove away from the competition yet again.

NOBODY worked harder or was more deserving of this 2015 Cup Championship!

Bill B

I was happier with Kyle winning than Harvick but you seem to leave out the fact that Kyle and most of the other drivers were spotted hundreds of points when the chase started in the name of manufacturing a close race until the end. Take away the entitlement points and he was still eleven races behind in points.

brokenarrow

Points, points, points…………Broken Record indeed! The Chase is flawed, but overall it is better than points racing, aka, stroking for titles. The Latford system was flawed by putting NO premium on racing to win.

So odd that “race fans” are opposed to racing.

In the Golden Oldie days I had to swallow hard to accept a champion who didn’t race a lick in the final race. But in the end, he played the system to perfection. I suggest you all swallow your own humble pie and accept reality.

There will never be a perfect championship system in individual sports, and perhaps the best thing is to simply stop trying and just let the races stand on their own.

Bill B

Yeah, I realized the irony of the broken record crack as I wrote it.

See, the difference is that you accept that last race weighing more than the rest of the races, I don’t. I just like the good luck and bad luck to even out over the season. When a team has a part or tire fail or gets taken out by a back marker in March it should have the same overall weight as if it happens in November. I don’t care what system you come up with as long as all the races matter the same.

Actually, while I can’t agree with you, it’s nice to know someone likes the chase. At least someone is happy.

brokenarrow

Thanks, Bill. As they say, we will have to agree to disagree.

Rod

IF YOU LOOK AT THE REGULAR STANDINGS AND NOT THE JOKE CHASE STANDINGS HE WAS IN 20TH PLACE. I DON’T FEEL HE IS A TRUE CHAMPION. PUT AN ASTERICK BY KYLE BUSCH’S CHAMPIONSHIP FOR ONLY RACING 25 RACES. NOT A CHAMPION IN MY BOOKS.

spot1

No, actually Kyle needed a special exemption granted by NA$CAR to become chase eligible. He didn’t necessarily fulfill all the requirements

Scott

I hope that this “Championship” has finally exposed NASCAR for the farce that it has become! It was bad enough when we had them manuever points to make it close and then brag about the points race being so tight.

Now, we have a “Champion” who missed 1/3 of the season due to an injury that he sustained while competing in a lower-level series. NASCAR did everything possible to make sure that he qualified for the Chase this year.

I was an extremely casual fan this year due to all of BZF’s work. Now I will enjoy a season of being able to do other things that worry about a race.

dh

First I have to say, I forgot how much fun listening to a race was, because of the kids and nap schedules, I barely get to see races live, so I miss the broadcasts. Last night I was in the car, those guys can make anything exciting. I got back to see the last 30 laps and thought, there’s now way Harv gets his second one tonight. Until the BS caution. Even knowing that was his only chance, I thought this is just rediculous. Was really looking to see what Larson had for BK. And why the heck would you choose the inside line on the restart, what was he thinking?

Either way. Another season ends a new one is around the corner. Not a KB fan at all, but he’s now a champion, and I really could go either way on should be or should he not have been eligable. I don’t think I hate the chase, but I know damn well I don’t love it. But watching your driver dominate and have an avg finish of about 6th place all season long, most laps led and a bunch of other records to finish second kind of sucks. Oh well. The sun still came up :)

For all you Gordon fans out there, that’s one hell of a career. Not many more after him in the near future. Will be interesting to see how Chase handles the pressure. Huge shoes to fill.

Happy offseason to you all. For those who won’t return, it’s been fun reading your comments. Happy thanksgiving all!!!

Ricky

Congrats to Kyle B for his chase performance and championship. Not a fan but I admire his talent in a race car.
The hoked up change by the minute rules of the Nascar hierarchy made it possible for his eligibility. What this year really exposed is the tremendous disparity between the haves and have nots in Nascar. Imagine missing 11 races and still finishing higher in points than 45% of the field. It boggles my mind that these under funded teams can actually find any sponsorship. They get virtually no exposure on TV and function in anonymity in pre race and post race coverage the only way they get noticed is if they cause a wreck that effects the favored ones
Maybe its time for The France empire to spread some of its wealth to those teams in need
another suggestion might be that a driver who misses races and gets a waiver should finish at least 20th or better in points to be eligible for the Chase

Carl D.

I was watching the end of the race with the Warden when that last caution came out.. There was dead silence by the announcers for a few long seconds. I commented to her that the announcers had’t said a word about the debris, and she said “They’re as speechless as the rest of us are”.

Nascar doesn’t even try to hide their race manipulations anymore.

Richie

Was it Rick Hendrick that made the comment last night that every agreement he had with Jeff Gordon was done on a handshake? How laughable was that considering Gordon bailed on a handshake with Bill Davis to go drive for Hendrick? I lost all respect for Gordon then and he never regained it with me. Adios JG.

Earner

While I am not a Jeffy fan…He Fully Has & Deserves My Respect for everything he has done & the class (of which YOU are lacking) that he has generally exhibited is Outstanding!…I wish him nothing but the best & would say he is a wonderful role model for Anyone going forward…

Bill B

So is this a Ford-Chevy thing Richie or do you really think he should have stayed with an outfit that isn’t even around anymore instead of taking the opportunity to go with a more established, top tier team? I doubt he’d have reached the heights he did if he’d stayed with Bill Davis.

If I remember correctly Roush had a chance too but when it was dictated that Gordon and Evernham were a package deal Roush said “that’s not the way it works here”. So if it is a Ford/Chevy deal then blame Ford for letting him slip away. Kind of reminds me of Boston letting Babe Ruth go the Yankees.

So whose fault is it really that Gordon ended up with Hendrick.

Richie

Jeff earned a ride with Bill Davis and made an agreement that they would move to Cup together. From my understanding, it was a handshake agreement and not on paper. A mistake by Davis? Sure was. I just thought it was quite laugable that Hendrick made that “handshake” comment when that’s exactly how he wound up wooing Jeff away from Davis. Did it work out great for Jeff? Well, hell yeah it did, I’m not going to to quibble with his success at HMS, it’s all well-documented history. But, suppose Jeff and Ray had moved to cup with Davis as agreed… would the greatness of JG & RE have built Bill Davis Racing into a force in Cup that might still be around today? That’s all IFs and BUTs I suppose, I’ve always felt that Jeff’s departure from Davis was less than classy.

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