Funny thing happened Sunday; I went to take a nap and a race broke out. If there’s been a better race at Chicagoland, I don’t remember it. Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick, Jeff Gordon and Joey Logano raced like men possessed. If these and other some of the other talented racers that comprise the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series keep this kind of racing up- the kind where they go like it really means something- this Chase will be one for the ages. The 2014 Chase may well achieve the kind of playoff excitement NASCAR is looking for.
With back-to-back wins, Brad Keselowski is as close as anything we’ve seen to a front-runner this season. Say what you will about how he races, his drive to win will never be questioned. You mix that with the performance of Joey Logano, and is there any doubt there is a battle for supremacy coming down to Hendrick vs. Penske? Chevy vs. Ford?
You may recall my prediction (for what it’s worth) that the Chase would come down to Logano, Harvick, Gordon and Earnhardt. I may have to amend that. Keselowski is racing with a purpose. I’m not saying that Junior isn’t up for making a run, but I am suggesting Keselowski may well burst somebody else’s bubble, and it’s hard to say whose it will be.
Here’s what I do know: regardless of the final race results, Gordon, Harvick, Logano, and Keselowski are in the conversation darn near every week. All four have the speed they need. I know that sounds like the “duh” statement of the day, but think about it. You can make a wicked fast car handle better; it’s hard to do much with a plodder. Hendrick, Penske, and Harvick- racing for the Hendrick-aligned Stewart-Haas Racing have had it all year.
To win it all, you have to have that right mix of wins and consistency. These four have it all. Momentum matters. Just ask Tony Stewart about 2011, Keselowski about 2012, and with Jimmie Johnson pick your year; for me, that blazing run in the 2007 Chase will not soon be forgotten. Now when you have sustained momentum like our four at the top of the standings have, that’s something else. We’ve seen a lot of the 2, the 22, the 24, and the 4 lately. There’s a reason for it.