Tuesday, October 16, 2012

5 Questions After Charlotte


Credit: Charlotte Bray/Skirts and Scuffs

One of these races Clint Bowyer will actually have enough fuel to complete an awesome burnout and drive to Victory Lane as well. But not on Saturday night. Somehow I don't think Clint minded hoofing it to Victory Lane, and the team certainly didn't mind pushing the car, in fact they took the long way to the cheers of the 100,000 plus fans in attendance. Well none of my 5 Questions played out this week, but there was plenty of unanticipated story lines to follow.

Will Jimmie Johnson or Mark Martin reach a record-setting fourth win to become the first driver to ever record four Bank of America 500 wins?
No. Both Jimmie Johnson and Mark Martin had strong cars. Jimmie finished in 3rd place and led 53 laps. Martin finished in 6th place with two laps led. Oh well, maybe in 2013.

Will we see our first non-Chaser in Victory Lane this week?
No, not this week, and if race results are consistent with past races, we won’t at Kansas either. In fact, the last three winners at Kansas Speedway were Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski. Keep in mind that Kansas Speedway will be debuting its new surface this weekend so we have a bit of the unknown.

Can Matt Kenseth win two weeks in a row?
No, but Matt Kenseth did bring out the first caution of the race at Lap 12 when he spun out in Turn 4. Matt finished the race in 14th, and advanced one spot in the Chase standings to 11th.

Will Kurt Busch make a positive debut in the No. 78 car?
Uneventful is the best way to describe Kurt Busch’s first race in the No. 78 Furniture Row/Farm American Chevrolet. Of course, in Kurt’s world lately uneventful could be considered positive. Busch qualified in 21st, crossed the start/finish line in 21st and ran as high as 11th. He even kept his cool when the car had some handling problems later in the race. Busch and his new team will have two days of testing at Kansas this week so we'll see how it goes.

Will the Charlotte race results bring the Chase down to a two driver competition?
Realistically yes, mathematically no. Jimmie Johnson is still in second, but gained seven points on Brad Keselowski, still in the top spot. I see the Chase coming down to these two drivers. However, Denny Hamlin is quietly gaining ground. Hamlin finished one spot in front of Jimmie at Charlotte and inched eight points closer to him. Denny is currently 15 points behind Brad. Since Kansas is a great track for all three drivers this race should tell us if Denny has what it takes to stay in the fray. Stay tuned.

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