Do you know what went unnoticed at the AAA 400 Sunday? Let ask it another way: what do Aric Almirola, Kasey Kahne, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Kyle Larson have in common? ALL four scored top tens in Sunday’s race. Heck- Almirola scored his second top five in four races, and his third top ten in four races! If you noticed that, congratulations, you are one alert fan. If you don’t, no worries- NBC Sports didn’t notice either.
THIS is what this fan hates about the Chase. The problem with a “playoff” in racing is you still have racers participating who aren’t in the playoffs. The ONLY way these drivers would have been noticed is if they had won- or worse yet- had wrecked out a Chase contender. Almirola, Kahne, Stenhouse and Larson might as well have painted invisible ink on their cars. If I were there sponsors, I’d be torqued.
It’s not like these guys are stone nobodies. While Almirola’s run in the AAA 400 represents another strong run, and a bounce back after finished dead last at New Hampshire. For Kahne, that makes two top tens in a row. No question the man has languished this year, and wasn’t especially stellar last season while racing for one of NASCAR’s premier teams. You’d have to think he’s on a bit of a hot seat, and his recent success- including the AAA 400 is actually a big deal. Ricky Stenhouse has had a particularly difficult year, as has his race team…yet he had a good day Sunday.
To the network’s credit, they didn’t completely ignore Larson. Of course, Larson put up a fight for the lead.
This is not hating on the network. I’ll gladly take Rick Allen, Jeff Burton and Steve Letarte over much of what I’ve heard the last several seasons. Kevin Harvick winning the AAA 400, an elimination race, was a big deal. The early exit of Jimmie Johnson was a big deal, I get that.
At the same time, 179 minutes of the AAA 400 were broadcast, and yet, four non-Chase drivers made the top ten, one scored a top five. I want to know what factored into their success, does this mean there’s more where that came from for them? It’s a shame.