Earnhardt crashes, Kahne peaking on time and Four are confirmed in the Chase
This weekend, however, the teams are in Atlanta - or Hot-lanta, as it is often called. The season used to end in Atlanta, on the big speedy track. In fact, one of my favorite NASCAR races of all times took place at Atlanta in 1992. It was one of Jeff Gordon's first races, Richard Petty's last, and Alan Kulwicki won the Champiionship. The race had everything and is still one I'll watch in the off-season.
Atlanta was also the scene of the 1996 run by Terry and Bobby Labonte - the race where my son nicknamed Bobby "Bobbily Abonte". He was only 3 years old and although he knew every driver and the car they drove, he couldn't say all their names. Bobby won the race that year, but his big brother, Terry, won the Championship. It's another race I have recorded and watch in the off-season.
There are only 2 races left until the Chase begins, and at this point, although four drivers have clinched a berth in the Chase, namely Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson, the rest of the playoff field needs to be set. There will be 10 plus 2 in the Chase - the top ten in the points, plus two wild card positions. And the way some drivers are surging and others are floundering, it's anyone's guess who the rest of those Chasers will be.
Tony Stewart had a hissy fit last weekend and double fisted his helmet at Matt Kenseth. In the meantime, Kasey Kahne has settled in at Hendrick Motor Sports and is showing why Rick Hendrick wanted him on his team. No, he isn't up with Dale Jr and Jimmie Johnson, but he's grabbed a string of top ten finishes that makes him look like a favorite to unseat Tony from that tenth spot. Right now, Kahne is the top runner for the Wild Card sport, but another good finish and he could take over the tenth spot. Of course, Jeff Gordon is one of the Wild Card contenders as well, and he does so well at Atlanta, this race could be the one where he grabs his second win of the season.
But can anyone really count Tony out? Last year he declared that he had no business even being in the Chase, yet he won 5 of the 10 races in the Chase and secured his third Championship. Could this year be his fourth? We'd be crazy to count him out, especially after last year when he performed almost perfectly.
If he can just get his temper under control.....and maybe work on his throwing arm.