By admin | October 10, 2010
By Richard Allen
Rumor has it that the television networks are trying to convince NASCAR to change its current Chase for the Championship format to include some sort of elimination element. To me, the question that comes to mind is, why?
Why include an elimination phase to the title playoff, which is already silly enough, when eliminations just take place naturally?
After the race at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California drivers Jeff Burton, Carl Edwards, Kurt Busch and Kyle Busch were removed from contention due to troubles they suffered in that race. Already, I have written that Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle and Clint Bowyer had fallen from the ranks of those who had a chance at the Sprint Cup.
Granted, Stewart’s win on Sunday pulled him up five positions to fifth in the standings. However, he is 107 points behind leader Jimmie Johnson with four other drivers he would have to jump over to get to the top of the heap. And with Talladega looming in the distance there is always a chance of getting back into the fray but for now I will stick to my original statement that he is out of the hunt.
On Sunday, Burton just never seemed to get it together in his Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet on his way to a 23rd place finish. As a result he is now 177 points behind in 8th place in the standings.
Edwards suffered an electrical failure in his Roush Fenway Racing Ford. After a trip to the garage area he finished 13 laps behind in 34th place. He is now 7th in the standings 162 points to the rear.
Kurt Busch found himself the victim of a late race crash when he collided on the front straight with non-Chaser David Ragan. The Penske Racing South driver limped to a 21st place result. He is now 140 points behind in 6th place.
Kyle Busch, who early in the Chase looked like a serious threat to take the title, was sideline after 155 of the scheduled 200 laps in California with an engine failure. The Joe Gibbs Racing pilot dropped to 9th place in the standings and is 187 points back.
As the race on Sunday proved, there is no need to add an element of elimination to NASCAR’s version of a playoff. Eliminations will take care of themselves. All that sort of thing would serve to do would be to turn the championship into more of a game show than it already is. An elimination would cause the television networks to focus on even fewer drivers than already do.
With six races to go, Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon are all that remain in contention barring some truly odd circumstance.
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Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and The Knoxville Journal.
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