The final race to make the Chase has long been an event where the focus is not only on who will end up winning, but also the battles to just make the Chase field. It has always been a race where the battle to get into the Chase often outshines the battle for the lead.
This year, that is true, but only to an extent. The battle to make the Chase field was down to just two spots, and despite one of those contenders that was on the outside of the grid, it was not enough and the two drivers that were already in the final spots for the Chase were the ones that ended up filling out the field.
In reality, this race Staurday night was for a lack of better term, boring.
Look at the statistics, there were only two different drivers to lead all race long, and the winner led 383 of 400 laps. Think about that for a second, that is just barely under 96 percent of the laps in the race were led by one driver. In fact, race-winner Brad Keselowski took the lead on lap 127 and never relinquished it for the remainder of the race. That is not just domination, that is taking the entire field and putting it on notice. The win was Keselowski’s fourth on the season, and that gave him the top seed in the new 16-driver Chase Grid, where after the third, sixth and ninth race, drivers get eliminated from the title hunt.
In fact, the most talk that came from this race didn’t even have to do with the race itself. The headline came from a fan who probably because of too much alcohol decided he wanted the best seat at the track and literally climbed to the top of the catch fence. The same fence that is meant to keep cars in the track should they get airborne became a high-view of one shirtless man.
NASCAR threw the caution simply for safety’s sake not just for the fan, but for the competitors. Had he fallen onto the track with the action at full speed, it would make Tony Stewart’s incident from weeks ago seem like nothing. Last this writer heard, the man was in a local Virginia jail, but that’s something not to be talked about in this type of article.
Now, the Chase has begun, and the title hunt is going to be intense. Let’s get ready to decide a champion.
RESULTS: 1-Keselowski 2-Gordon 3-Bowyer 4-McMurray 5-Harvick 6-Logano 7-Kurt Busch 8-Johnson 9-Newman 10-Almirola
NOTABLE FINISHES: 12-Earnhardt Jr. 14-Kyle Busch 17-Kahne 22-Edwards 23-Allmendinger
CAUTIONS: 4 for 27 laps. 52-57 (Competition), 125-131 (Debris-BS), 263-270 (Debris-T2), 331-336 (Security risk-T4).
LEAD CHANGES: 4 among 2 drivers. Keselowski 1-42, Harvick 43-52, Keselowski 53-119, Harvick 120-126, Keselowski 127-400.
TIME OF RACE: 2 Hrs, 51 Mins, 55 Secs.
AVERAGE SPEED: 104.702 MPH
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 0.797 Seconds
2014 CHASE FOR THE SPRINT CUP: 1. Keselowski, 2012 points; 2. Gordon, -3; 3. Earnhardt Jr, -3; 4. Johnson, -3; 5. Logano, -3; 6. Harvick, -6; 7. Edwards, -6; 8. Kyle Busch, -9; 9. Hamlin, -9; 10. Kurt Busch, -9; 11. Kahne, -9; 12. Almirola, -9; 13. Allmendinger, -9; 14. Kenseth, -12; 15. Biffle, -12; 16. Newman, -16.