Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sprint Cup: The Monster Roared

The Monster Lived Up To Its Name Giving Roush a 1-2-3 Finish and Busch Feeling Whacked While The Quest for the Cup Whittles Down

For Jack Roush, taming the monster was as easy as 1-2-3 as three of his drivers claimed the top spots in Sunday's competition. Life is good for Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards. Matt Kenseth gained new life. Kyle Busch blew and engine and all hopes that one of the most dominating performances during a Sprint Cup season would find title hopes obliterated by the Chase format. Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s hopes faded tremendously as did the likelihood of any Gibbs driver winning it all.

Right now, it looks like a three way competition between two Roush drivers, Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle versus Hendricks contender, Jimmie Johnson chasing Cale Yarborough’s accomplishment of three straight titles. Surely, given how quickly a bad finish can ruin a driver’s fortune along with the joys the winning brings, with eight races to go, all kinds of things can happen. However, if this year’s results matter, none of the rest of the field spare Kyle Busch, have hit the high marks necessary to win more than a single race. That could be said when the chase was set of Greg Biffle too, but look how quickly he has pushed his team into the picture with two brilliant wins.

From this point forward, attention goes to more generic tracks spare the 2.66 mile restrictor plate track in Talladega and the ½ mile short track action at Martinsville. In fact, Charlotte, Atlanta, and Texas are all Bruton Smith tracks of somewhat similar design. Sunday’s race in Kansas will be the seventh Cup event held in the land of Dorothy and Toto. The racing wizard was kind to Greg Biffle last year who came home with the victory believing there’s no place like Kansas. Other Cup contenders who’ve enjoyed success at Kansas are Tony Stewart in 2006, and Jeff Gordon won the first two races at the track in 2001 and 2002. Winning in Kansas could surely breathe life into either of those former champ’s hopes at the 2008 trophy.

Kansas Speedway is a pretty generic facility typical of what NASCAR’s new look has provided when new tracks started changing racing’s landscape in the mid 90’s. Given ten points separate Edwards from Biffle and Johnson, every little move counts. One position in the standings or a lap lead means a lot and means more with each week that passes from now until the end.

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