Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Rating the Sylvania 300: You Rate the Race!!

In another relatively clean race, the Chase started with none other than a classic fuel-mileage finish. Some Chasers soared while others faltered. The big question is, was it a great race, terrible race or somewhere in between? This week it’s your turn to put a rating on the race, so take a look at the Rating System and voice your opinion.

Clint Bowyer and Tony Stewart both took the big gamble on the final run. Bowyer had enough fuel to make the finish while Stewart came up two laps short; so much for these guys playing it safe in the Chase. However, NASCAR should also be commended for putting the yellow flag in its pocket the last couple of weeks.

So, is this the start of something big for Clint Bowyer or will he begin to struggle as the turns become more and more banked in the coming weeks? The stat about the championship winner not finishing worse than sixth in all but one year at New Hampshire has been thrown out there plenty this weekend, but does it really matter? In some cases it has, but Johnson still won the championship in 2006 when he finished 39th in this race.

The long final run Sunday was kind of surprising, as New Hampshire certainly isn’t known for that type of a finish. In general, fuel-mileage races don’t happen in the Chase for one reason or another. The only other one that comes to mind was Greg Biffle’s victory at Kansas in 2007.

Along with the Chase picture, several non-Chasers had good runs this week, which doesn’t always happen at this point in the season. Had Jamie McMurray been more consistent during the regular season, he would be in a similar position to Bowyer right now.

And how could we forget Dale Earnhardt Jr.? His fourth-place finish was his best outing since he finished fourth at Daytona in July, and his only top five-finish at a track other than Daytona this season. Plus, this run kind of came out of nowhere. The Hendrick Motorsports cars ran better overall this weekend, and New Hampshire has been a pretty good track for Earnhardt Jr. throughout the years. In any case, his run Sunday surely has Jr. Nation excited that brighter days lay ahead.

Next week is on to the other one-mile oval in the Chase: Dover. The Monster Mile will be tough as always, but I expect the Fords to have a better showing this week. Other than Carl Edwards lately, the Fords have struggled for a while now on flat racetracks. The larger tracks should help, and Miles the Monster might just hold a Roush-Fenway Racing car in Victory Lane at the end of the day.


  1. JM, I though it was a great race. Not just the usual parade of Chasers holding their spots in the top-10. I will guess that Dover should be exciting also, as some Chasers know they can't get too far behind or it's over for them.

  2. 4.5 stars! Almost terrific racing (had Junyer won it wouldda been a 5! LOL) Very little follow the leader, the big names in the Chase were mixing it up early and often, we had comers and goers and plenty of non- Chasers up front with a nail bitter on fuel at the end.

    Loved it! I have little hope it will continue but ya never know with JJ not sitting in the catbird seat he might try to force the issue and the others might smell blood in the water.

  3. ahh yes, Kansas 2007...the only race where the winner finished fourth, what a crock!

    I agree with Gene, best race I've ever seen at Loudon (including Indycars) so it'd have to be, at minimum, 4 stars for me :)

  4. What's the matter jmayer? Tired of rating the races and then having to defend yourself??? LOL

    I've pretty much agreed with your assessments in the past (it's those other guys that are hard on you!)

    I'm afraid I have to agree with them this time though... That race was interesting from start to finish. At least a ****!

    Now wouldn't it be something if Bowyer up and ran away with the trophy after not winning a single qualifying race?

  5. Gene - Hopefully that's the case. If Hamlin can put together a good race this week he will be good shape for the remainder of the season.

    klvalus - All sounds like the ingredients to a great race. If nothing else, the excitement after this race is nice to see. Much better than the complaints that usually come out this time of year.

    tezgm99 - Would Marcos Ambrose have been given the win? lol. It was pretty much the same deal except Ambrose wasn't crossing the finish line. I'm just saying.

    Dwindy1 - lol, each year I put one race up to the readers. Glad it was such a good one this time! It would be really cool to see Bowyer stay up front throughout the Chase, but then we'll be hearing about how the system is broken because the 12th place guy won. Wasn't the point of the Chase to give more guys a chance to win anyway? In any case, this was one of the best starts to the Chase in its short history. Hopefully it ends that way, as well.