Anything can, and often will, happen when the championship is on the line. What is not anticipated is when things happen to those one expects to be strong at a certain location. We saw it happen a week ago, and it eliminated one driver from the title picture after just three races.
After rain moved the action to Sunday, the Charlotte Motor Speedway once again saw some shocking surprises from those that are expected to be strong at such a track.
Even those that are not in the title picture, like Kasey Kahne and Jimmie Johnson, both experienced issues at a track where they have a combined nine victories between them.
But, those that are in the Chase, they weren’t immune to trouble.
Seeing Matt Kenseth behind the wall with a destroyed Toyota puts him already on the bubble, needing a win. Others like Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Ryan Newman now as well need a lot of help in order to make it into the next round. It’s unexpected when those that are expected to run well at such a track have issues, but at the same time it is unexpected when a driver that hasn’t seen a lot of success at a track then dominates.
That is what happened with Joey Logano. His Ford would not be denied at the home base of NASCAR, as he would lock his way into the Eliminator 8 of the Chase.
Another surprise, not one writer had him on their radar to win. Four races into the Chase, not one writer has seen victory lane. However, thanks to some circumstances this week, the standings are extremely tight, at least when it comes to those trying to make it into the next round. Here’s where we now stand after the Bank of America 500:
Dustin Parks (3042) Kevin Harvick finished 2nd – 3
Misan Akuya (3039) Kurt Busch finished 5th – 2
Rob Tiongson (3025) Kyle Busch finished 20th – 4
Patti Rodisch (3006) Jimmie Johnson finished 39th – 4
Sal Sigala Jr. (3006) Jimmie Johnson finished 39th – 3
Kara Martin (3006) Jimmie Johnson finished 39th – 2
Ashley McCubbin (3003) Matt Kenseth finished 42nd – 1
Mary Jo Buchanan (3001) Kasey Kahne finished 43rd – 1
Rob Blount (2115) Kevin Harvick finished 2nd – 2
Klarissa Mitchell (2078) Jamie McMurray finished 12th – 0
Next Race: It seemed as though the action at Charlotte was getting twisted around for those that one would expect to be strong at such a track. Former winners wreck, or fail to finish, and even have weird incidents, while others surprise and make a run to lock in a spot in the next round.
The next track is no stranger to twists, or at least twisters. The second race of the Contender Round is another trip to the Great Plains and the Kansas Speedway.
Writers, many of you need a bounce back, as still everyone in the Chase has gone 0-for-4 in victories. The top-8 still need to keep on going a different driver each week, so make sure they are all locked in by Thursday, October 15, at 10 p.m. ET for the Hollywood Casino 400.