NASCAR Recap: Toyota/Save Mart 350



Being wrong is so much fun.

Kyle Busch’s thrilling win at the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma brought up all sorts of new Chase scenarios. Here’s a look at winners and losers from wine country.

Win: Kyle Busch

It’s not just that Busch won the race. It’s that David Gilliland finished dead last at Sonoma. That means Busch picked up 46 points on the driver currently 30th in the Sprint Cup standings.

Busch has to make up 142 points before Richmond. That’s 10 races away. Busch has won at Kentucky, and Bristol. Plus there is another road course. If he can avoid a terrible run or bad mechanical luck (and maybe win another race) we could have quite the Chase story on our hands.

Lose: The Little Guy

AJ Allmendinger was on the pole and barely cracked the top 40. At least he beat Martin Truex Jr., whose team said it didn’t have plans to expand beyond a one car operation.

So let’s assume Busch makes the Chase. That would mean 16 spots are occupied by just 7 teams. Half the Chase would be occupied by Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing.

Just like the NCAA Tournament is better when upsets take place, so too is the Chase. Here’s hoping Richard Petty and Michael Waltrip Racing find ways to win. Here’s to lower funded teams winning with a crazy pit strategy and amazing fuel economy. The more the merrier come the playoffs if you ask me.

Draw: Road Racing

The good news is the crowds are huge. The racing is distinctive. The mix of strategy and speed works. I think NASCAR fans got their money’s worth Sunday. The bad news is there is only one more road course on the 2015 Sprint Cup schedule. That race isn’t in the Chase.

The Sprint Cup season is probably too long, and it’s next to impossible to take away dates from tracks. But if there are four restrictor plate races a season, how many Sprint Cup fans would be upset with four road course races, one of them taking place during the Chase?

The chance of this happening is next to nothing. But I thought Kyle Busch’s Chase chances were toast and may prove to be wrong. Let’s hope I’m horribly wrong again. Enjoy Daytona week, and insert a random catchphrase here.