2009 Chevy Rock and Roll 400 Review
by Virginia Vroom of Predictem.com
For the first time since its inception, I can honestly say that I now see why NASCAR implemented the points system. The post-season for NASCAR is going to be an awesome run, and most of that is thanks to the stiff competition this year in the series. The drivers in the Chase represent a wide array of teams from Hendrick to Richard Petty Motorsports. The final race of the regular season at Richmond last Saturday night made for a heck of a show as drivers battled to hang on or dive into that coveted top 12 spot.
For Kyle Busch, Saturday night was a blanket of disappointment. He fell 8 points shy of making the Chase, which just goes to show that sometimes the golden boys need to step it up more and stick with the program. In the case of Busch, I think that his attitude got the best of him this year and, quite frankly, he doesn’t deserve to be in the Chase anyway. Although disappointed, Busch was gracious in his post-race interview, surprisingly enough, saying that they just weren’t where they needed to be. He didn’t place the blame on his crew or the team or anyone really but himself. Good luck next year, buddy. Take a lesson from big brother Kurt and act with some maturity. You’d be surprised where that can take you.
For Brian Vickers, on the other hand, there was reason to celebrate. He squeezed his way into the Chase while knocking Matt Kenseth out. I’m pretty apathetic when it comes to both drivers to be honest, but I was glad to see Matt Kenseth out. Sorry to all the fans out there, but I’m tired of hearing him admit that his team sucks every week. Whether or not that’s true, I don’t really know but he certainly never has anything positive to say.
For Denny Hamlin, another win in his home state solidified his spot in the Chase for this season. He had a solid run all night, leading 299 of 400 laps. It was a great scene in victory circle as Hamlin compared this to a Daytona 500 win for anyone else.
Here were your top 10 finishers from Richmond:
1. Denny Hamlin
2. Kurt Busch
3. Jeff Gordon
4. Mark Martin
5. Kyle Busch
6. Clint Bowyer
7. Brian Vickers
8. Sam Hornish Jr.
9. Kevin Harvick
10. Ryan Newman
After this race, the points are finally set for the long awaited NASCAR post-season. When it comes to the starting grid in terms of points standings, the points are reset based on wins throughout the season for each driver. A win in the season gains you 10 points. So basically, points are knocked down to 0 for everyone to begin with and each driver gets an additional 10 points per win to start with. That means that there are some significant changes when it comes to the points grid right now.
Here are your current top 12 in the points as we head to the first race for the Sprint Cup:
1. Mark Martin
2. Tony Stewart
3. Jimmie Johnson
4. Denny Hamlin
5. Kasey Kahne
6. Jeff Gordon
7. Kurt Busch
8. Brian Vickers
9. Carl Edwards
10. Ryan Newman
11. Juan Montoya
12. Greg Biffle
Guys who were previously further up in the points like Montoya and Newman are starting off behind because of their lack of wins this year. As we head into the first race of the post-season it will be interesting to note strategies. Although wins are always what drivers are looking for, consistency is what creates a champion. Just ask Jimmie Johnson. He’s the king of consistency.
This weekend, as we kick-off the Chase, we are headed to Loudon, where RCR and Roush have notoriously dominated. Stayed tuned for Sunday’s race as we get set to see how the drivers are going to handle to pressure of the Chase of the Sprint Cup!