Race Weekend Central

Voices From the Heartland: Of Dreams & Nightmares, a Chase Clinch Scenario

As per the official NASCAR press release:

Only one finish guarantees Carl Edwards his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship; a victory in Sunday’s season-finale Ford 400. Just three points separate points leader #99-Carl Edwards and second-place #14-Tony Stewart, a margin so tight, no other finish would clinch the title for Edwards regardless of where Stewart finishes.

Stewart owns the tiebreaker (best finishes), and therefore could tie and win his third series championship. All other drivers are officially eliminated from championship contention. Edwards’ three-point lead roughly translates to 13 points under the previous points system. That makes it the closest margin between first and second going into the final race in Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup history, and third-closest since the inception of the position-based points structure in 1975.

First of all, I must say, this press release sounds like it was written by Brian France himself. It would lead you to believe that the ONLY way Edwards can win the championship is to win the final race. That simply is not true. The other thing it does, albeit inadvertently, is point out the utter uselessness of France’s greatest creation; the Chase itself. I mean, why even bring up the old points system at all? But more on that in a moment.

As for dreams come true, obviously Edwards winning his first championship is a big one. The way he has [possibly’] done it however, will also create its own set of dreams for some and nightmares for others. Who’s having the dreams and who’s having the nightmares? Well, let’s take a look!

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Stewart is already a two-time champion; in fact, he is the only man to have won a Cup is both the old and the new fake system. While Tony has made a great run these last 10 races and possesses the so called tiebreaker of best finishes, should he wind up second fiddle, I don’t think he’s going to be all crushed and seek therapy like last year’s top contender, Denny Hamlin.

So no nightmare per se for Tony. If he wins the darn thing, I suppose you could say it’s a dream come true seeing as how he would be a shoo-in for Hall of Fame status. Hey, they let Darrell Waltrip in, right?

So, who’s having the nightmares? Well, if MY dream comes true, Edwards will defy NASCAR’s orders and find a way to actually beat Stewart and win the Cup without winning the race. But wait! You say. I thought that couldn’t happen? Ah, but it can! And Brian France is desperately hoping it doesn’t happen, thus I suspect the misleading press release. This scenario would be a nightmare for Brian, although he will never admit it.

Do you remember? Have you been listening to me all year? How can anyone win a Cup by winning only one race? I thought Brian’s Chase was supposed to insure that no one could ever win a Cup in the despicable manner of Matt Kenseth in 2003?

Thus the nightmare for NASCAR. It would not only invalidate the whole Chase system, but also call into the question the validity of Jimmie Johnson’s five in a row, a record that he wouldn’t even hold if the old points system were used. Hey, they brought up the old system first!

As for me, longtime readers know that Edwards is my personal favorite so, of course, I will be pulling for him. But even if he wasn’t, if his winning the Chase Cup with only one win would prove what I’ve been saying for nearly 10 years … well, he would be from then on! (Besides, I picked him to win at the beginning of the year! Someone will owe me some money!)

Nothing personal, Tony, but you already got two!

Go No. 99!

Stay off the wall,

Jeff Meyer

About the author

The Frontstretch Staff is made up of a group of talented men and women spread out all over the United States and Canada. Residing in 15 states throughout the country, plus Ontario, and widely ranging in age, the staff showcases a wide variety of diverse opinions that will keep you coming back for more week in and week out.

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