By admin | August 12, 2012
By Richard Allen
Depending on who you ask, there either was or wasn’t oil on the track during the final laps of the Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen on Sunday. The drivers say one thing and NASCAR officials say another. You can probably guess which says what.
Either way, the last few laps -and particularly the final circuit- were among the most exciting and action packed seen in a Sprint Cup race in quite a while. And more than just providing excitement and topics worthy of debate on that one day, a number of circumstances impacting the entire season were created.
When Brad Keselowski got into the back of Kyle Busch(or Busch spun in his own oil depending on which version you want to believe) going through the esses section of the track for the final time, the possible makeup of the Chase for the Championship was altered.
Drivers who are outside the top-10 in the Sprint Cup standings after the 26th race of the season are eligible for one of two wildcard spots. The two drivers with the most wins get those two spots, with points used to break any ties.
Had Busch gone on to win at The Glen, it would have given him a second victory on the season. That would have provided the driver of #18 with a significant advantage over four others who currently have only one win as well as a couple of drivers with no wins who could get themselves into the mix should they win soon.
As of now, Kasey Kahne is in the best position for getting a wildcard invitation into the championship playoff by virtue of his two victories. Busch, Ryan Newman, Jeff Gordon, Joey Logano, and now, Marcos Ambrose all have one win each. Winless drivers Carl Edwards and Paul Menard could potentially get themselves into the picture with a win during the next four races.
With time running out quickly on making the Chase, it’s a safe bet that those drivers listed above breathed a sigh of relief when Busch went for a spin. Otherwise, Edwards and Menard would have been all but eliminated while tremendous pressure would have been placed on Gordon, Newman and Logano to win a second race in the next month.
And more, when Gordon spun on the last turn of the race, he went from a wildcard spot to the outside looking in.
The final lap of the Watkins Glen race was one of the most entertaining in NASCAR’s recent history in its own right. It made for a great day. But just as importantly, it had all sorts of Chase implications at the same time.
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