Miles the Monster welcomes NASCAR for Race #3 of the Chase
For the drivers though, Miles might make them catch a breath, heave a sigh, or bring a flutter to a stomach or two. Dover is a fast concrete track, requiring constant attention by the driver. It goes up and down, is uneven and bumpy. Drivers have to be on alert at all times. It isn't a track where anyone can look around, watching the TV broadcast on a jumbotron.
Practice is underway and the top of the chart has changed constantly as teams adjust their cars. The weather is currently cool and overcast, and the track is fast, but so far we haven't seen them set any speed records.
This week, possibly the biggest news was that coming from 5-Hour Energy. The brand has announced they will be back as sponsor of the 15 car for next year, deciding that the controversy after Richmond and the Race to the Chase wasn't enough to chase them out of the Michael Waltrip Racing fold. Perhaps they saw some of the comments on social media after NAPA announced they would be leaving. In any case, Clint Bowyer still has his sponsor for 2014.
Also this week, Quicken Loans announced they will move over to Richard Childress Racing in 2014, following Ryan Newman, rather than staying with Stewart Haas Racing. This is great news for Newman, who is in the Chase this year and fighting tooth and nail for the best finishing spot he can get. Kevin Harvick, who is basically swapping teams with Newman, is also in the Chase, but had a less than stellar finish last week (20th) and sits 6th in points, 39 points back. Kevin and Budweiser have already announced that they will continue their partnership at Stewart Haas Racing.
Jeff Gordon was granted a 13th place in the Chase after Penske team radio transmissions were analyzed. Jeff, too, has shown he deserves to be in the Chase, and currently sits 8th in points. Positions will likely jump around a lot in these first few races, and have, but after the first practice, all four Hendrick cars were running top ten. Kasey Kahne wrecked out at Loudon while fighting Brian Vickers for a position. After his post-wreck interview, social media erupted with concerns over Kasey's health, but the driver was just fine, only angry at himself for not giving up the position so early in the race. His interview reflected his frustrations with himself, and Dale Earnhardt Jr confirmed that Kasey actually sounded pretty normal, after having that kind of issue.
The Nationwide cars are also at Dover this weekend, with the trucks at Las Vegas. Up here in Canuckland, we still have "SPEED", not FoxSports1 or whatever they are calling it. This means I have all the NASCAR coverage the US gets, but still get the annoying other shows, such as "Are You Faster than a Redneck?" For those of you complaining about the content on that channel, trust me, what is left sucks.
Matt Kenseth won the first two races of the Chase, and seems poised to make a run for the third. As the first practice ended, Matt had jumped to the top of the charts. Could this be the year Matt grabs his second Championship? It's probably too early to tell, but he certainly seems to be peaking at the right time.