The AP features an interesting article pointing out lingering questions that surround this year’s Chase field.
For example, Kasey Kahne, a two-time winner this season, missed the Chase despite the fact that he’s won twice as many races as Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, and Kevin Harvick. The AP notes, “He and his No. 9 team can only blame themselves – and consecutive 40th-place finishes leading into Richmond– for their late summer collapse. But the issue could be deeper than that.”
“NASCAR’s top four teams” — Joe Gibbs Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing, and Roush Fenway Racing — accounted for 22 of 26 wins this season. The other four belong to Kahne and Penske Racing’s Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman. But, the AP says, none of them made the “the Chase, and – coincidence? – all drive Dodges.”
Dodge is struggling behind the other automakers both on the racetrack and in sales. It announced that it was pulling out of the Craftsman Truck Series. “So as the race for the title begins Sunday in New Hampshire, it will be interesting to see what happens to Dodge as its teams are left out of the action.”
Another “interesting” thing, the AP says, is “how Stewart and his Joe Gibbs Racing team handle their final 10 races together.” Following the Chevy Rock & Roll 400, radio communications between Greg Zipadelli and Stewart indicated that there might be some cracks in that relationship.
“As [Stewart] pulled off the track following the second-place finish, he criticized his team’s performance for letting another victory slip away.” But, “Zipadelli sharply reminded him they win and lose as a group. After, Stewart was surly and didn’t want to dissect yet another on-track defeat.”
With Stewart leaving to pursue ownership after 10 years with Zippy, it a possible that the two could give up on each other before the season ends.