Eventually, it was bound to happen. A track that has been kind to one driver and one team in years past, suddenly had a rather tough relationship because of changes. A track where victories came one, after another, after another, after another.
It could be said, it was owned. In fact, because of sponsorship, it could be truly said it was owned in more ways than one.
NASCAR visited Charlotte this week, a place that for several seasons got sponsorship from Lowe’s. During that period, Jimmie Johnson seemed to have a lock on the speedway. Win, after win…dominance after dominance. No one was better at this track than the No. 48. His seven wins proved that.
But, in the later part of his career, the cars began to change, meaning how the track was ran was changed.
Sponsorship ended, and what was “Lowe’s Motor Speedway” got it’s city title back, and it seemed as though his dominance was fading. When would this team finally end it’s drought?
That day was Sunday. It was a race where he led the most laps, and avoided calamity that many other Chase drivers experienced. It ended a 24-race streak where Johnson wouldn’t make it to victory. It ended a drought at Charlotte that lasted over a decade. Now, for the first time, Johnson knows his Chase continues, as it is his first trip to the Round of 8.
With all of the good that Johnson’s win did, it didn’t do much for the standings.
In fact, the writers had a rather off-week. Due to some of the favorites falling victim to failures, and accidents, a couple writers now are in a hole, and need to claw out or somehow find that pass to victory, ensuring another run to the title. Only one writer managed a top-10 finish, and that one writer…isn’t in this round.
Let’s look at the standings after one chaotic Bank of America 500:
Misan Akuya (3028) Martin Truex Jr. finished 13th – 4 
Rob Blount (3028) Martin Truex Jr. finished 13th – 4 
Billy Fellin (3028) Martin Truex Jr. finished 13th – 3 
Ashley McCubbin (3028) Martin Truex Jr. finished 13th – 2 
Rob Tiongson (3028) Martin Truex Jr. finished 13th – 2 
Mary Jo Buchanan (3009) Chase Elliott finished 33rd – 3 
Ashley Hull (3006) Joey Logano finished 36th – 9 
Sal Sigala Jr. (3006) Joey Logano finished 36th – 3 
Ashley Hobbs (3006) Joey Logano finished 36th – 2 
Dustin Parks (3004) Kevin Harvick finished 38th – 2 
Klarissa Mitchell (2131) Jamie McMurray finished 10th – 1
Patti Rodisch (2097) Kevin Harvick finished 38th – 3
Next Race: The midway point of the Chase, and the middle race of the second round, takes the sport to another 1.5-mile track, the third in five races. But, this one is different and has a newer surface than the two that already saw action this year.
What this place does have in common with Charlotte, even if it was impromptu, is that the first race it held this season was under the lights, while it’s second is held in daylight.
Hosting the second race of the second round is the Kansas Speedway, and hopefully unlike what the Carolinas had to experience this weekend, the severe weather will stay away in order to get the race in on it’s scheduled day. Writers, your picks are to be locked in by Thursday, October 13, at 10 p.m. ET for the Hollywood Casino 400.