Trackside Duo: August 2, 2013

Photo- Getty Images
Photo- Getty Images

It seems as Chase talk just keeps multiplying as the weeks go on and once again this week, the Chase and the wild card situation is discussed. Crunch time has arrived for all teams that are on the edge of the playoffs, and these next six weeks are the most important for drivers in Chase contention without a win because as we’ve seen before, wins equal a shot at the championship.

From Indianapolis to Chase talk, the Trackside Duo has something to say about all the buzz currently at the track and back in the shop.

1) Next time we visit Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it’ll have some new renovations courtesy of a $100 million grant from Indiana. The renovations, however, are still yet to be determined. Among the suggestions is to add lights to the track for the Brickyard 400. Should it be done? Why or why not?

Alanis: Adding lights to IMS would certainly be a huge monetary endeavor, but it would make the Brickyard 400 stand out; not only from the Indy 500, but from Nationwide race (if Nationwide still ran during the day). Having Nationwide and Cup at IMS in the same weekend makes it feel like there are two Brickyard 400s in my opinion, and having Cup race at night would somewhat alleviate that feeling.

Jason: Whether or not lights are added to the speedway, it won’t change much. The racing will still be parade like and it still won’t contain an excitement level to it. If anything, they should use the grant towards something that will make a difference. Lights would be cool at the speedway, but they would make little of a difference.

2) Ryan Newman scored a huge win at Indy last weekend – one that could determine his fate in not only this season, but next. For 2013, do you see Newman sneaking into The Chase and will a ride be easier to come by for Newman after a huge win like this one?

Alanis: The way Ryan has run so far this season, I don’t see him making The Chase unless he gets to victory lane again during the regular season. As for 2014, his win will help immensely as to where he will end up, especially because it was a win at a place where every team dreams of winning at.

Jason: Wins need to stay on his mind if he has Chase hopes. If he can get another win, he’ll be a lock for the Chase. To do all of that should speak for itself in his chances of getting a ride for next season. He’s in control of his own Chase fate right now and with the IMS win, he has a chance to do something special. Ryan needs to take hold of this opportunity presented before him because it’s his best shot at securing a future.

3) As we’ve seen in the past two seasons with Tony Stewart and Brad Keselowski, wins make champions. Besides Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson who clearly will have championship chances with their wins, is there a driver with one or two wins right now that could get on a hot streak and win enough races to put themselves in a championship contending position?

Alanis: A driver who has potential to get a couple more wins before the beginning of The Chase would most likely be Kyle Busch, as we will visit Bristol and Richmond, places he historically performs very well at, and Watkins Glen, where some will struggle because it is a road course, but Kyle will have a chance to contend for the win at.

Jason: There’s an obvious choice here. Kyle Busch. He has proven he can win races and win them fast and most likely, that will help him succeed in the next six weeks. The tracks coming up are pretty good ones for him like Watkins Glen (1 win, was leading before the last lap in 2012), Michigan (won there in 2011), Bristol (He’s the king of that track, sweep 2010), and Richmond where he always seems to run strong at. He’s got the best shot to win and he may turn into a worthy championship contender in the next few weeks.

4) There are three drivers currently inside the top ten in points who are without wins. Those drivers include Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Jeff Gordon. To get a prime Chase spot, you need to win before Chase time. In the next six races, do you see any of these drivers winning? If so, which tracks will they win at?

Alanis: If I had to place a bet on which one of them is most likely to get a win before Chase time, I’d put my money on Clint Bowyer. However, we do stop at Michigan before the regular season concludes, and not only is Jr. successful there, many fans go into the race expecting him to triumph. That added pressure might be enough to get him to victory lane before we head into The Chase.

Jason: If any of them are to win, it will be a surprise. Earnhardt Jr. and Bowyer have basically locked up a Chase spot, so if they plan on contending for the championship they need to go win. Gordon will likely need to win to make the Chase so one at Atlanta may come in handy for him. I would give Bowyer a shot at Bristol because he’s used to having surprising wins and that would surely be one.

5) Currently, the Chase picture is a little fuzzy with many drivers still in the hunt. When the checkered flag flies in Richmond, which drivers will make The Chase in your opinion, and where will they end up when the regular-season points conclude, prior to the points reset?

Alanis:

1. Jimmie Johnson

2. Clint Bowyer

3. Kevin Harvick

4. Carl Edwards

5. Matt Kenseth

6. Kyle Busch

7. Dale Earnhardt Jr.

8. Kasey Kahne

9. Tony Stewart

10. Greg Biffle

11. Martin Truex Jr. (WC)

12. Brad Keselowski (WC)

Jason:

1. Jimmie Johnson

2. Clint Bowyer

3. Carl Edwards

4. Kevin Harvick

5. Matt Kenseth

6. Kyle Busch

7. Dale Earnhardt Jr.

8. Kasey Kahne

9. Tony Stewart

10. Brad Keselowski

11. Martin Truex Jr. (WC)

12. Greg Biffle (WC)

Follow Alanis on twitter @alanis102495 and follow Jason @NascarJason.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s