After a grueling 400 laps at Dover, which Chase contenders are still hot on the trail of the championship and which ones are chilling out in the back? Read this week’s Who’s Hot/Who’s Not to find out.
The Chase is on and what a better way to honor it then with some useless facts? That’s right, race fans, I said useless. But useless is as useless does, and like the Chase these facts are certainly useless, entertaining maybe, but totally unnecessary. Sometimes, like these tidbits, unnecessary is fun. So without further ado, here are some fun facts about this year’s Chasers. Did you know…?
Despite not having that many passes for the lead, this was an exciting race. The multi-groove thing finally came into play late in the race, setting up a classic Dover dash for the lead with Matt Kenseth up high and Jeff Burton down low! Now, if we could just get TNT to take those commercial breaks earlier instead of ruining the flow in the last 150 laps every race!
6 – points that Jeff Burton leads Jeff Gordon by in the driver standings.
As Jeff Burton pulled into Victory Lane on Sunday, winless monkey off his back and championship trophy suddenly within reach, it was hard to ignore the irony surrounding the end of his 175-race winless streak.
For the first time since November 2001, Jeff Burton took the checkered flag in a Nextel Cup race, scoring the win in Sunday’s Dover 400 to put RCR on top for the third straight week. Winning for the first time in his last 175 tries at the Cup level, Burton’s quest for the checkered flag wasn’t easy – he fell back early in the race with a poor-handling racecar, then had to play it safe after watching teammates Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer have their engines sour over the final 50 miles.
The Monster Mile in Dover, Delaware lived up to its billing this weekend, as the self-cleaning concrete speedway took a toll on both Chasers and Top 35 contestants alike. Three Chase contenders finished 30th or worse, but buried beneath that hoopla was that the remainder of the tail-end finishers, with the exclusion of Tony Stewart, were teams battling for the Top 35 in owner points.
The Dover 400 is the 28th race on the 36-race NASCAR Nextel Cup Series schedule and the second in the Chase for the Nextel Cup. The Cup Series visits the 1-mile Dover International Speedway twice in 2006, having also run here in June.
So, as the grand poombah of NASCAR, what would I do? First and foremost, I would “tweak” the Chase… tweak it to the point that it no longer exists. When the new format was first announced, I held off on my judgment until the end of that year.
This Week’s Question: Can the first race in the Chase seal a team’s fate for the next nine races?