Key Moment – The pass for the lead by Jeff Gordon over Brad Keselowski with 95 laps to go was the difference in the race. Keselowski was in the top 3 all day long and looked to be the driver to beat once Kevin Harvick’s car had issues with an inner liner going flat. Gordon ran down Keselowski and passed him on lap 305 and never looked back.
In a Nutshell – The drama of the first ‘Richmond moment’ of the 2014 Chase didn’t have quite the excitement that NASCAR had hoped for. Surprisingly there wasn’t a bogus caution over the final 140 laps of the race. Kevin Harvick dominated the first 250 laps of the race before a flat tire took him out of contention. Jeff Gordon owned the final 100 laps to take the win. Brad Keselowski filled in the majority of the laps that those two didn’t lead, but in the end, it was Gordon who reiterated that he is one of the drivers that will probably be in contention at Homestead.
Dramatic Moment – The winner of the race was basically a foregone conclusion, so the excitement fell on the cut line for the next round of the Chase. Kasey Kahne overcame an early race issue that put him two laps down. He raced for all he was worth and milked a 20th-place finish to the next round of the Chase by two points over AJ Allmendinger.
What They’ll be Talking About Around the Water Cooler
NASCAR is selling the excitement of this Chase as multiple game 7 moments or Richmond moments, whatever you want to call them. Dover would seem like an ideal place for those kind of moments with the Monster Mile chewing up and spitting out cars. The chances of a Chaser being caught up in someone else’s mess or multiple Chasers getting together trying to claw their way to the next round seemed ideal at the concrete mile in the first state. This just in, Dover isn’t a monster anymore. It hasn’t had double digit cautions since the fall 2011. The last three Chase races have had five or fewer cautions. When the checkered flag flew, the feeling in the pit of most people’s gut was an emptiness, not a nausea from the non-stop excitement. They have two more shots at exciting moments before Homestead. We’ll see if Talladega or Phoenix can step up.
The Tony Stewart versus the Ward Family drama doesn’t appear to be heading to a peaceful resolution any time soon. After the Grand Jury handed down their decision not to indict Stewart based on the evidence presented, the Ward family issued a statement that basically said ‘it ain’t over by a long stretch.’ Hearing the myriad of talking legal heads on shows from coast to coast and dawn to dusk the days following the announcement seemed to insinuate the the toxicology report will have little to no impact on a civil suit. They all appeared to agree that it is in Stewart’s best interest to settle out of court and move on. This weekend Kevin Ward’s aunt issued an open letter that insinuated that Stewart is solely at fault and no one else deserves any blame. When it is all said and done, a young man is dead, a great racer’s love for true grass roots racing has been destroyed, and nobody is doing any healing. Whether it is best or not, at least a settlement will close one chapter of this story and allow the parties involved the chance to move forward, although it doesn’t sound like they’ll ever meet to discuss the tragic incident.
Ryan Truex is out of a ride at BK racing. Whatever the reasoning behind the move the rumblings are that BK might be out of the Cup business after 2014. Throw in the possibility of the No. 32 of FAS and the No. 33 of RCR / Circle Sport not returning to the series and there is going to be a very real possibility of multiple races in 2015 without full fields. The sport has a plethora of young talent in the K&N, Truck, and Nationwide series, but the lack of seats at the pinnacle of the sport is going to become a very dire situation very soon.
A book about the life of Bill France, Sr. will be released in February. It will, hopefully, provide insight into how Big Bill founded NASCAR and ran the sport out of a desire to make money while putting on quality auto races. France established NASCAR to provide drivers with a consistent racing environment that provided them guaranteed purses and a standard rule book. Newer fans of the sport may be intrigued about how much the focus used to be on racing instead of making a nickel from every possible avenue as the current iteration of the sport seems to be.
Master promoter Humpy Wheeler threw out a brilliant plan to save Rockingham Speedway. Take all of the Nationwide and Cup cars that have become obsolete over the last few years and race them every first Sunday at the venerable speedway. Wheeler feels that there would be 90 cars showing up at the track putting on heat races and then a feature with ultra talented, blue collar drivers reviving racing the way it used to be. He feels that there would be 8,000 people in the stands every month to watch this fantastic, rough and tumble, throw back racing that all of the fans are longing for. While the idea sounds fantastic and the romance of yesteryear stirs the emotions deep within the hearts of old school race fans, it just isn’t realistic. The track put on phenomenal races with the Frank Kimmel Street Stocks and UARA Late Models among other series in the last few years. The track gave away thousands of tickets to those shows and drew less than 1,000 fans for most of them Add to that the lack of people with enough money to put together a race team to run nine or ten races a year at a one-mile track in the middle of nowhere and you’re not going to have anywhere near 90 cars. Fortunately for Wheeler, the track is about to go up for auction again so he can put his money where his mouth is and prove what a great promoter he really is by saving the track from the wrecking ball.
The Hindenburg Award for Foul Fortune
Kevin Harvick led the most laps (223) but fell back to 20th due to a failure in the left front of his No. 4. Another week of would’ve, should’ve, could’ve for Harvick where he had a dominant car and something out of his control took him out of the running for the win. Harvick managed to make it to the next round of the Chase, but positive momentum continues to be an elusive critter for Harvick.
Greg Biffle started the race in 27th position but quickly gained five spots in the first 20 laps. He marched his way up as high as 13th before his car began to fall off. He was out of shape for most of the race and especially the last 100 laps. He ended the race in 21st and seven points out of the next round of the Chase. The No. 16 has been off for most of the year, and when he needed it to be on point it was nowhere close.
Similar to Biffle, AJ Allmendinger came into Dover in the 10th spot in points and just wanted a solid run to make it to the next round of the Chase and see where he might be able to go. Allmendinger spent the whole day dead in the middle of the pack without anything he could really do to make a difference in that situation. The car was a handful early and, while it did get better late in the race, it just wasn’t good enough. The No. 47 team wasn’t expected to go anywhere in the Chase but they came into Dover making some noise. The little engine that could just couldn’t when they needed it most at Dover. The story is still a great one with a single car team managing to win their way into the playoffs to run with the big boys.
The “Seven Come for Eleven” Award for Fine Fortune
Finishing 20th is seldom grounds for a Fine Fortune award but, for Kasey Kahne, it was just what the doctor ordered. Kahne was looking at missing the next round after a lugnut issue dropped him back to 29th place at lap 162. He scratched and clawed his way toward the front all day and, when the checkered flag flew, he was 20th, making the next round of the Chase by two points.
Ryan Newman started the race in 20th and marched his way steadily to the front of the pack, for the most part, throughout the day. He spent the last 140 laps in the top 10 of the race and transferred to the next round by 14 points. The only RCR effort in the Chase keeps hope alive for the long standing championship organization.
Martin Truex, Jr. qualified 26th and didn’t exactly charge forward early in the race. However, over the final 140 laps he made a strong move from 15th to seventh when the checkered flag flew. Truex’s second best finish of the season might signal that the Denver, Co. based team is starting to get things pointed back in the right direction for 2015.
Jeff Gordon’s victory at Dover is his 92nd triumph of his career in 754 career starts. Ken Schrader has nine more starts but 88 fewer wins.
Gordon is 13 wins shy of tying David Pearson for second on the all-time win list.
The win is Gordon’s fourth win of 2014. He is tied for second on the list of most wins for the season with Joey Logano, one behind Brad Keselowski.
The win is Gordon’s fifth victory at Dover in 44 career races at the track.
Brad Keselowski’s runner-up result is his ninth top-2 run of the season. It is his fourth in his last six races.
The second-place run for Keselowski was his second consecutive number two finish at Dover and his third top 2 at the Monster Mile in his career.
Jimmie Johnson’s third-place run was his sixth top 3 of the season but his first since his win at Michigan in June.
Johnson has 11 podium finishes in his career at Dover.
Kyle Larson’s sixth-place run was the highest finish for a rookie in the race.
Martin Truex, Jr. has four top-10 finishes this season. His two best are sixth and seventh at Dover.
There were three on-track passes for the lead that were not due to a green flag pit stop. One of those was for Harvick having his tire issue.
What’s the Points
The points matter now that the Chase to the Cup has begun. Up to three drivers can advance to the next round by winning races in each segment. The other drivers advancing will make it to the next round on points. The 16 drivers in the Chase are listed below with their point total after they were reset following round one of the Chase. Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Jeff Gordon, by virtue of their wins at Chicago, New Hampshire and Dover advanced to the second round of the Chase. Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin and Kasey Kahne joined them based on their point total. AJ Allmendinger was the first driver on the outside looking in by two points behind Kahne. Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle and Aric Almirola also missed out of continuing their quest for the championship.
- Brad Keselowski 3000
- Joey Logano 3000
- Kevin Harvick 3000
- Jimmie Johnson 3000
- Jeff Gordon 3000
- Kyle Busch 3000
- Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3000
- Matt Kenseth 3000
- Ryan Newman 3000
- Carl Edwards 3000
- Denny Hamlin 3000
- Kasey Kahne 3000
- AJ Allmendinger 2077
- Kurt Busch 2073
- Greg Biffle 2072
- Aric Almirola 2061
Overall Rating(On a scale of one to six beer cans with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) – Dover International Speedway went from the Monster Mile to the Munster Mile on Sunday. The only difference between a snoozefest at an Intermediate track and Dover was a dogleg on the front straight and concrete instead of asphalt. The tires put down plenty of rubber but they didn’t fall off much and the result was a complete coma inducing crapfest. The manufactured excitement of Chase elimination couldn’t even save it as the drivers on and off the bubble didn’t make any moves over the last 40 laps. The Challenger round ended with a challenge to watch. The result is a single, solitary, rancid can of Falls City that was pulled out of Miles the Monster’s posterior after the race.
Race No. 4 in the Chase takes the series back to the Heartland of America. Just when the fans were wondering why the series was so focused on one mile tracks a sense of normalcy returns as the teams head back to a 1.5 mile Intermediate track at Kansas Speedway. With the points reset the television coverage will be saturated with the title contenders and the rest of the field be damned, sorry to all of the Aric Almirola and AJ Allmendinger fans. The coverage next weekend begins at 2:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN. It can also be heard on MRN affiliates and SiriusXM NASCAR Channel 90.
About the author
What is it that Mike Neff doesn’t do? The writer, radio contributor and racetrack announcer coordinates the site’s local short track coverage, hitting up Saturday Night Specials across the country while tracking the sport’s future racing stars. The writer for our signature Cup post-race column, Thinkin’ Out Loud (Mondays) also sits down with Cup crew chiefs to talk shop every Friday with Tech Talk. Mike announces several shows each year for the Good Guys Rod and Custom Association. He also pops up everywhere from PRN Pit Reporters and the Press Box with Alan Smothers to SIRIUS XM Radio. He has announced at tracks all over the Southeast, starting at Millbridge Speedway. He's also announced at East Lincoln Speedway, Concord Speedway, Tri-County Speedway, Caraway Speedway, and Charlotte Motor Speedway.
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“Suprising there wasn’t a bogus caution”???? Lol.
It’s really sad when that’s the best that can be said about a race.
I’m sure that I am the odd man out here but I love the Dover races, not sure why but I always have. That said, the Chase, Chase, Chase, over focus is interfering with my ability to just enjoy the event. I very nearly did not watch this week. Unfortunately the NASCAR powers that be have become an echo chamber unable to understand that their remaining fan base just doesn’t want this.
Yes, it used to be about the race at hand..now before the season starts in Daytona..it is Chase, Chase, Chase. Maddening and sad that these idiots running the show are so clueless.
mark me down as another who used to love the races at Dover where yes, you could park for free at the mall. That was well before “Miles the monster” who should be aptly be renamed Mild.
I spent just about 40 with the DVR on this race. The taped modified race from New Hampshire?? Watched every second. at normal speed.
Kansas next?? I can hardly wait.
This reset of points is a insult to Gordon, Kes and Logano and to a degree Harvick..now they are tie with the likes of Kasey Kahne and Denny Hamlin???????????? It makes no sense, and is a insult to the consistency of the many teams who hung in there for 29 races. Good grief and to throw Talladega into the mix is just a insult on top of a insult. Shame on Nascar. BK racing whatever their future is, Ryan Truex is no asset and good riddance.
20 years ago Nascar was flying high. Today it’s an absolute joke. The gimmicks, yellow flag manipulations, the constant changes every year. …so sad
I’m not even sure where to start. We did have our Richmond moment yesterday. Unfortunately, it was eerily reminiscent of the Richmond race a few weeks ago, where the drivers seemed to be reluctant to do anything even remotely deemed to be pushing the envelope. God forbid, someone getting into Ryan Newman or Denny Hamlin, so they couldn’t get into whatever gimmicky name the 2nd round is called.
I’m not sure what is worse, the incessant ESPN “Nations” Chase commercials, or the Points As They Run every lap for drivers who are as close to Championship material as I am. Right now Greg Biffle couldn’t finish in the Top Five of a race with only five cars entered.
Who won the race yesterday? Isn’t that whole point, to celebrate the first driver to cross the start/finish line, not a battle between drivers who finished 20th-25th.
I can’t help but think of the correlation between the empty seats/declining TV ratings and NASCAR’s decade-long pursuit to treat the season like it’s the All-Star Race or Bud Shootout. Maybe next year, they can invert the standings or have the fans vote each week.
All I will say is that over-hyping a race or a playoff system is never a good idea. I was happy that we actually had a green flag pit stop. Not much else I can say. Happy Gordon won (so no rating from me this week because of my Gordon bias). Glad they didn’t throw any fake cautions to “mix everything up and create chaos”. I wish more races unfolded without NASCAR’s heavy hand.
As a result, at least the race was an honest race after the half-way point. I am sure I was not alone in assuming Johnson would win this race and was surprised that he never made it to the front. I was relieved that no one tried to do anything questionably ethical to purposely bring out a caution to create a “hail Mary moment”. To me, that kind of behavior may give people something to talk about, but it’s never good for the integrity of the sport.
Otherwise, I agree with kb, it seems stupid (even un-American) to reset everyone to even. You’d think they would at least allow wins to still matter. But NASCAR wants it’s crapshoot factor to overshadow the entire sport so here we are.
I wish I could just totally ignore the championship and watch the races but even if I could do that it would be impossible with ESPN keeping a running scroll on the points, not to mention never shutting up about “the chase this,,, and the chase that”.
I only managed to stay awake through the whole race yesterday due to lots of caffeine. Therefore I give the race five shots of Turkish expresso.
There will be plenty of articles this week about which drivers are likely to be the next four to be eliminated. With Talladega a part of the upcoming round, that’s an exercise in futility. Not gonna do it.
My first thought when you mentioned the fact that there may not be full fields next year is that Nascar will just change the rules and allow the mega-teams to run more than four cars each. Upon reflection, I realized that the problem is lack sponsors, not lack of owners. What’s going to solve that problem? I have no idea.
Funny how things change. There was a time when anyone in my group of racing buddies who pulled for Jeff Gordon would have been ostracized to the point of shame and possibly beaten for blasphemy. Now I find myself kind of pulling for him. My drivers drive for Penske, but if they can’t get the job done, Jeffy is my next pick. After that, it’s anyone but Johnson.
Carl, the lack of owners is to a sizable degree on purpose. The owners dont want more competition as they felt it diluted the value of their businesses. Thus the Top 35 rule which is essence locked out new owners. Now its better to buy a stake in one of the megateams then try and compete with them.
What does it say about your status within the team when your owner(Tony Stewart) and teammate(Kevin Harvick) pass you late in the race and take two points away from you to kick you out of the chase? Neither one had to pass him to advance their position in the chase. To me, that reinforces the idea that Tony never wanted Kurt to begin with.
What does it say….
I thought the same thing but, it could also mean that they didn’t want the stigma, negative accusations and possible penalties that they were trying to manipulate the outcome in some sort of Bowyer-esque plot.
It also might say that your car sucked that bad.
Or it might say that having 16 guys in the chase is a stupid idea and that some of those that made the chase didn’t belong in it to begin with.
I looked at it as Kurts car was really bad and they didn’t have much choice but to pass him. You can only go so slow before you start drawing attention to yourself.
Having Talledega in the chase is a joke. Everyone is going to ride at the back the whole race, which will actually be riding up front if that happens !!! lol
Well the only enjoyment I got out of this race was Gordon winning. As far as the rest of it, this race should have been sponsored by no doze or a sleep number beds since I felt like I needed both less than 50 laps in (and I was sitting in the stands in turn 4 so I can’t blame it on the tv coverage).
I was happy that Nascar didn’t throw one of their “group up the fields to make the end exciting” cautions at the end. I was really afraid they would because that is usually their MO.
I knew that I didn’t like this “championship” format early in the season and I like it even less now.Considering that they will reset the points and now even though Kez, Logano and Gordon have won a race that does nothing for them, they are essentially equal in the points to Kahne who squeaked in at 12th, but I guess that gives the idiot running this sport his multiple “game 7” moment opportunities.
On top of that, we’ve parked for years at the Dover Mall. This year, they took our $30 and parked us, not at the mall, but down in this field way behind it, with one way in and out. What a freaking nightmare that was to get out. We were not happy about it at all and so I don’t expect we will be going back to Dover next year.
when i lived in maryland and went to dover, you always parked at the mall, FREE, and usually didn’t have too much difficulty getting out onto route 113. they sound like atlanta that wants to control it all and charge for everything. guess the track is trying to recoup some of the $$$ they lost by overbuilding and the lack of butts in the seats.
congrats to you, glad jeff won.
this resetting of points….those wins the first 4 weeks of this playoff mess didn’t mean anything now since they all have 3000 points.
i watched very little of the race. all i know is dale jr better turn his hat around the correct way and focus. he’s backsliding in my opinion.
hendrick must be happy he’s got his 4 and 1 satellite still in the hunt.
this dale sr fan actually hopes gordon wins #5 this year.
oh yes, and princess had a top 25 finish.
WOW…..! A Dale Sr. fan pulling for Gordon! How times have changed. :)
dan…yes times have changed……..but i’ve mellowed over the years. and since i really don’t have a driver that i follow since 2/18/01……and i’ve seen how gordon has struggled but is rising up like a phoenix this year….just does my old heart good to see a driver in the waning years of his career be in contention for championship.
Good for you.I’m with ya. Hope he wins his elusive 5th and bows out gracefully.
wow, Janice, free? I’ve never parked for FREE at Dover but this nonsense of pulling a bait and switch, combined with the ho hum racing has made our decision to not go back an easy one.
thanks for the congrats on Jeff’s win, I appreciate it. I know just because I’m happy about it, not everyone will be.
I’m getting really sick of the Johnson shtick of complaining about the car early in the race when he is one of the fastest cars. He passes cars when he wants to like they’re standing still. Then magically after a few “adjustments” he’s running up front just fast enough to stay there. Then there was the transmission from Chad to remember the big picture near the end of the race basically telling him to stay where he was. Johnson will win a race when he has to. I just hope he waits till the last race and the fickle finger of fate pulls out the golden horseshoe and he doesn’t win the title.
It’s amazing how there are no cautions at the end of a race when a Hendrick car is leading. And when did the announcers start referring to a Mr. H?
The only thing I like about this chase format is a win still isn’t needed to win the title. The top finisher of the four in the final race gets the title. In my dreams Kenseth wins without any wins. Poetic justice for Brian. Then look out for next year’s format.
Yes, that’s why I laughed when this author was surprised at “no bogus cautions”. Jeff was leading, they were not gong to tamper with his lead as far as Nascar was concerned. And I noticed the “Mr. H”. too, laughable again. Will he be somehow knighted on vacation over the pond, (after a sizeable donation for the upkeep of the palace) and going forward, we are to address him as “Sir. Mr. H”..lol.
so let me see if i understand this new system……right now there are 12 drivers tied for 1st place in points?
I agree with you. I thought they continued the 3-points-per-win bonus for these rounds, too. I guess not.
yeah, what a brilliant idea from Mr. Clueless.
I am so very happy that a beach vacation prevented me from being able to even try to watch the snoozefest at Dover. Not surprised that a Hendrick Hero in the lead kept away a debris caution. Agreed on the “Mr. H” stuff, Don. Are people so wrapped up in this man that they’re compelled to deify him? Some of the people calling him Mr. were in the sport before him. When Kahne drove for RPM, he called the boss “Richard” yet Hendrick is “MR H!!”
when i hear the “MR H” stuff, i want to say “mr. pf (for pardoned felon). i know….not nice.
I thought Richard Petty requested that everyone call him Richard and not Mr. Petty? Or like in the movie Cars, they just call him The King.
I remember Chris Economaki calling Petty Ricky during an interview and his mother went ballistic.
Something like “If we wanted him to be called Ricky we would have called him Ricky. His name is Richard!!!!”
Usually a wide groove helps the racing, but this month both Dover and Richmond had cars running all the way up near the wall and the races were complete snoozers. Sadly, that’s become commonplace for Dover. Like New Hampshire last week, it seems Dover has become a track that isn’t interesting if people aren’t crashing. Glad Jeff Gordon won, though.
From where I’m sitting at least, NASCAR has become better this year about not throwing questionable debris cautions near the end and instead letting the race play out. But the problem, of course, is that NASCAR let it get to the point where I can commend them for not screwing with the race. And as the comments above indicate, it’s going to take a heck a lot more of this before many people think anything has changed.
I’m coming to like the Chase format. Not quite sure why folks don’t understand the points being reset to even. It’s a playoff system. A NFL division champion doesn’t get a touchdown lead against their wildcard opponent in the playoffs. Likewise with the MLB…if you can beat the team that was better than you during the regular season you move on. Folks bitched for years that NASCAR didn’t reward wins enough, I think they’ve went a long way towards satisfying that complaint. I’m sure Ku. Bush, Almirola and Allmendinger would agree. As a Newman fan I will unashamedly admit that I was more tuned into the race than I would have been otherwise. And if the fans of the other drivers on the cut line such as Edwards, Biffle, Ku. Busch, Kasey Kane are being honest they were watching intently as well. As far as I could see, the Chase implications were about the only thing of interest in
what was otherwise a pretty uneventful race.
Thomas, we understand just fine…we don’t like it! Nascar is not a playoff sport, never has been, never will be..but BZF has other ideas.
No the team that excelled the best throughout the regular season and playoffs don’t get a touchdown lead but they do get a bye for the first week of the playoffs and to play at their home field.
If you don’t think that is a huge advantage then you don’t know jack about football. There should be a similar advantage given to those who did best during the regular season and in each round of the playoffs.
Or, you could just admit that comparing NASCAR to the stick and ball sport playoffs is stupid and that similar playoff formats don’t fit NASCAR but I’m guessing you won’t go that route.
KB – First, NASCAR was not a playoff sport but it is now. Have you not noticed that now there are brackets? Second, okay you and some don’t like it…that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. Third, winners are given an advantage of extra points to start the Chase. Though, you just came up with a good idea. Possibly give the first two or three during the regular season a bye in the first round of the Chase playoff. I like how you think KB! Fourth…”…don’t know Jack about football.” Now…that hurt…that really hurt.
Thomas, I don’t have any problem understanding it, I just think it is stupid. NASCAR is not stick and ball so the comparison doesn’t work. In football, baseball or basketball, each team is only playing against 1 other team in each series, they don’t have other teams on the field at the same time, so resetting everyone to even points and then adding the crapshoot Talledega race in on top of it, probably makes Brian France lick his chops, but to my way of thinking simply makes it a random deal for winning the trophy.
The race was a crapfest because everyone in the Chase was points racing (if you want to call it racing) the entire day. The Chase was the reason the race was bad. If your driver was Truex, would you have felt the same way considering he got know coverage? Or what if you were a Gordon fan. He won the freaking race and it was an afterthought. Sorry that’s not alot of people’s version of “playoff” racing (since you like to use the football analogies.)
Steve – The race was a snoozefest as far as the leader was concerned. There really wasn’t many exciting challenges for the lead. That’s pretty typical of race coverage on tv. Gordon didn’t get any less coverage of his comfortable lead than he would have had their not been a Chase going on. No argument on the Truex deal though. Hell, Newman was hardly mentioned and he was running in the 20’s for a large part of the race and a Chase contender!