We’re not in Kansas anymore.
That is what the biggest names in racing are thankful to say after a crazy Hollywood Casino 400, where many title hopes crapped out under the pressure of tire wear, dumb luck and bad rules. Here’s a Nascar recap of the winners and loser from the week.
Win: Carl Edwards
There are many people who could have won.
- Joey Logano can wreck at Talladega and it won’t matter.
- Kyle Busch looked like Kyle Busch again.
- Kyle Larson cemented his case to be a 2015 Sprint Cup title contender.
Edwards wins because I couldn’t find a single blog anywhere that lists Edwards as a 2015 Sprint Cup title contender. I found plenty of articles suggesting Roush Fenway Racing doesn’t have the speed to contend in 2014, and others that suggest Edwards is simply biding his time before the Joe Gibbs Racing move.
Edwards has good history at Charlotte and Talladega. If he can finish both, Edwards is in the final eight leading into 1.5 mile tracks in his wheelhouse. This year has been a mess for Roush Fenway Racing, but this is the first time you can actually see a path that leads Edwards to a meaningful Homestead.
This race felt like a hot mess and was the type of topsy turvy points event that was supposed to generate buzz. On Monday morning at 6:30 EDT, the race is not on the first page of espn.com. Mind you, ESPN aired the race Sunday.
The bigger concern is how those drivers fell in the standings. Greg Biffle and Justin Allgaier aren’t in the Chase but were involved in the wreck that knocked out Jimmie Johnson. The tire made for the race wasn’t ideal. This was random luck, not bad driving or awful pit stops.
The four drivers out of the Chase right now have won 40 percent of the 2014 Sprint Cup races races. Right now, one outlier will knock them out, in turn making much of the regular season and first third of its playoffs virtually irrelevant. Had there been any major media publicity after the race, this would look terrible. Something needs fixed.
Draw: Joe Gibbs Racing
One on hand, three of its drivers have a better than average shot to make the final eight. The team’s new driver next year should also join the party. Seeing how those four have won four of 30 Sprint Cup races, that should make Joe Gibbs feel great.
On the other hand, the driver Joe Gibbs Racing pushed out has five wins by himself this 2014 Sprint Cup season. Most believe Joey Logano was brought up too soon Sprint Cup. Who knows what kind of behind the scenes drama occurred in the garage? Nascar fans all know Joe Gibbs will say all the right things about Logano when asked, but I wonder what Gibbs really thinks about Logano’s entire scenario and what, if anything, he might have done differently.
Nascar heads home to Charlotte for a must win race for several big names. Enjoy the playoff push, and insert a random catchphrase here.