Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Rating the Sylvania 300: 1 Star *

Denny Hamlin won the Sylvania 300 Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Nothing else happened, so this race gets a 1 Star Rating.
Hamlin dominated the race by leading 193 laps, all of them after lap 93, but he started in 28th position. He had what might have been the most dominating car of the season, if not several seasons. Jimmie Johnson has won some races when he could race for three days and no one would pass him, but that hasn’t really been the case this year.
The win also gives Hamlin his fifth of the season and vaults him back to third in the points standings, just seven behind perennial leader Johnson.
So far two of the three championship contenders have proven they belong in the title hunt with victories, and Johnson has back-to-back second-place finishes to lead the points standings. Brad Keselowski won at Chicago. He, Hamlin and Johnson could easily be the three drivers fighting for the championship at Homestead.
All of the Chase drivers finished inside the top 20 at New Hampshire, but that did nothing to spice up an afternoon of lackluster racing. NASCAR threw a competition caution at lap 40 and then threw three more throughout the rest of the race, including a late-race caution for “debris” in a vain attempt to keep Hamlin from pulling into Victory Lane before anyone else even crossed the finish line.
Thankfully, Hamlin still won the race so we don’t have to worry about NASCAR officials destroying the presumed integrity of the sport this week. Had Hamlin lost the race and gone on to lose the championship by a few points, he would have a good argument that NASCAR’s quest for exciting racing kept him from winning the championship.
There wasn’t a real caution all day. Every car that didn’t start and park finished the race with nothing more than a dent in a fender.
So, after a week that did nothing to change the outlook of the Chase, next week the Sprint Cup Series heads to another one-mile oval to race at Dover International Speedway.
Dover is another track where a driver, most likely Johnson, can dominate an entire day. However, there should be a little more close racing this week because of Dover’s high-banked corners that allow drivers to race instead of scoot around trying to roll the middle of the turn.
It’s also a track that has bitten Chase drivers in the past, and it would be surprising if all 12 Chase drivers finished in the top 20 again. Either way, Talladega will eliminate any boring racing the following week.
Have a great week, everybody.


  1. The chase has ruined racing, go in circles and nobody touch nobody cause of the chase, BORING!

  2. If the Chase was made based on the top 10 average finishes (not points...that doesn't belong in car racing at all), and only let the top 5 run for the Cup at Homestead, then you wouldn't have time to rest in the Chase. Sure, it's not perfect, but it would be better than what's around now.