Blogs & Opinion

NASCAR nears climax

Engines roaring ahead of NASCAR climax

Alex Ferguson Posted 22nd September 2011 view comments

Right before baseball gets into the drive for the World Series, NASCAR has just kicked off one of its own.

It was meant to launch in front of a packed first week of the season that saw the Chase for the Sprint Cup launch on the same day of an NFL Sunday, but rain kept it back for one day. Tony Stewart won the first race of the season, with Kevin Harvick finishing second and Dale Earnhardt finishing third.

Edwards: Expected to edge ahead in the shake-up

Edwards: Expected to edge ahead in the shake-up

There were unlucky riders: Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon all ran out of gas, seriously damaging their title hopes for the rest of the way.

And if you want a good recap of the race, make sure you check out Sky Sports' highlights show the day after the race. It's always worth watching.

Anyway, Alex Ferguson looks at the Chase runners and riders, and asks: Who's going to win the 2011 title?


Kevin Harvick (Richard Childress Racing)

Edwards' fourth-place at Chicago helped him, and we're expecting him to be there or thereabouts by the race finale.

Alex Ferguson
Quotes of the week

Currently leading the way, and he's a good driver, too. Harvick won four times during the season and has been the pick of the veteran drivers (Brad Keselowski's your 'one to watch' for the future, folks!). He's also seven points ahead of the competition.

Tony Stewart (Stewart-Haas Racing)

Stewart climbed the fences after his first win of the season in Chicago and he's got two wins at New Hampshire, the next track on the list. Competitors should be worried.

Carl Edwards (Roush Racing)

Edwards' backflip out of the car to celebrate a victory is perhaps the coolest celebration in sports alongside Nani's gymnastic efforts and his driving's pretty good, too. Edwards' fourth-place at Chicago helped him, and we're expecting him to be there or thereabouts by the race finale at Homestead on November 20th.


Dale Earnhardt Jr (Hendrick Motorsports)

'Junior', the Manchester United of NASCAR in terms of popularity (although not in terms of winning a lot), had a great - if fortuitous - finish at Chicagoland (he had some gas in his tank while a lot of others didn't). He's feeling good for New Hampshire, where he stopped in 15th last time around. Earnhardt could do with another top finish (is it asking too much for a victory?) this time around. A consistent time this time around - and it could be celebration time for the 88 car.


Kurt Busch (Penske Racing)/Kyle Busch (Joe Gibbs Racing)

The Busch brothers' fortunes wavered at Chicagoland. He had a sixth place finish that leaves him to fourth in the standings, while Kyle Busch ran out of gas right at the end and gave his race and championship hopes a complete beating. Which is a bummer for Kyle, who's been by far and away the better driver this year. But that's the play-offs, isn't it?


Brad Keselowski (Penske Racing)

In only his second few season, Keselowski has got tongues wagging in NASCAR. He's won three races and qualified for the Chase with an aggressive style that's loved in the stands. Oh, and it helps that he's also the protégée of one Dale Earnhardt Jr, too. He's a dark horse to do even more damage this year - particularly at Talladega.


Jimmie Johnson (Hendrick Motorsports)/ Jeff Gordon (Hendrick Motorsports)

Jimmie Johnson has won the last FIVE Championships, with the last one coming down to the wire against Denny Hamlin (as opposed to the other four cakewalks). This season - with the new points rules - are going to make things even closer this year. He's got experience of doing well at the rest of the tracks on the list, and he's only 16 points behind Harvick. Things are going to be tougher for Jeff Gordon, who notched his 85th victory this season. However, his 24th finish may have hurt this chances this year.


Matt Kenseth (Roush Racing)/ Ryan Newman (Stewart-Haas Racing)

After interviewing Kenseth for Sky, it's fairly obvious that nothing particularly fazes him. He's from Wisconsin, where the winters make a cold day in Glasgow seem like Miami in July. Kenseth again had problems at Chicagoland, while Newman's eighth position puts him in the reckoning. Would be a miracle if Kenseth wins, though.


Denny Hamlin (Joe Gibbs Racing)

The unfortunate matter of running out of petrol really hurt the hopes of Gordon and Hamlin - the latter whom was a fan favourite for taking home victory in the Chase before the season started. Gordon finished 24th and Hamlin finished 31st. And both players looked utterly miserable after the race. It wasn't their fault, after all.

PREDICTION: Edwards wins his first title, and the rest of NASCAR backflips. Jimmie Johnson's dominance ends... for one season, anyway!

back to top

Other Blogs:

Latest Posts in :

Alex Ferguson

Clowney's no joke

US sports expert Alex Ferguson profiles Jadeveon Clowney, the biggest defensive pick of the draft....

Alex Ferguson

King James reigns

Alex Ferguson celebrates a wacky, smile-inducing year in US sport - and salutes Miami's LeBron James....


Alex Ferguson

Start your engines!

Alex Ferguson predicts who will triumph in NASCAR's showpiece race, the Daytona 500....


Alex Ferguson

A perfect union?

Alex Ferguson looks at the possible unionisation of college football and how he would handle the issue....

Alex Ferguson

Call of the century

Spacemen Portland pick Bowie over Jordan - Alex Ferguson ranks the biggest decisions in US Sport....


Alex Ferguson

Independence aces

Alex Ferguson kicks off his Independence Day fun by picking his 20 best bits of American sport....


Paul Merson

Still in the frame

Paul Merson says Everton's top-four bid and Man City's title hopes won't be derailed on Wednesday....

Ed Chamberlin

Van the man?

Ed Chamberlin explains why Tejay van Garderen is capable of plucking the Tour de France's Yellow Jersey....


Guillem Balague

Making it for Messi

Barca and Madrid are in it but the best side in Spain isn't in the Copa del Rey final, says Guillem Balague....

Stuart Barnes

Ups and downs

Stuart Barnes says the drama of relegation must be kept in rugby, but the play-offs need changing....

Stuart Barnes

Rising to the top

Stuart Barnes says Toulon look like the team to beat after a mixed Heineken Cup play-off weekend....

Phil Clarke

To Hull and back

Phil Clarke looks at the mental damage done to Hull FC and Huddersfield in the Challenge Cup....

Luke Dorn

Tackling the issue

Luke Dorn on the dangers involved in tackling and praises two legends of Super League....

Phil Clarke

Hero of our game

Phil Clarke pays tribute to Ray Unsworth, who helped change the face of rugby league in the UK....

Rob Lee

Pinky and perky

Rob Lee blogs on his vivid Masters Breakfast attire and the men that made waves at Augusta National....

Paul McGinley

Joy for Jonas?

Jonas Blixt has the short game and heart to win the Masters at Augusta, says Paul McGinley....


Barry Cowan

Heavy burden

Great Britain's best Davis Cup since 1986 fails to mask their reliance on Andy Murray, says Barry Cowan....

Barry Cowan

No force without Fab

Britain's Davis Cup quarter-final with Italy rests on the fitness of Fabio Fognini, says Barry Cowan...

Alex Hammond

Going the distance

Marathon entrant Alex Hammond previews the Newbury action and Scottish National meeting at Ayr....

Alex Hammond

Rocky's road

Alex Hammond explains why she is backing Rocky Creek and Lion Na Bearnai at the Grand National....

Andrew Balding

Resting up

Trainer Andrew Balding says On Demand is progressing well - but now needs time to recuperate....

Glenn McCrory

Manny happy returns

Manny Pacquiao is back to his best and could yet get it on with Floyd Mayweather, says Glenn McCrory....

Johnny Nelson

Delighted for DeGale

James DeGale's Matchroom switch is the perfect move to get him back in the mix, says Johnny Nelson....

Glenn McCrory

Shine and cheer

Stuey Hall has put the North East back on the boxing map, says Glenn McCrory - despite Saturday's outcome....

View from America

Desperate deals?

Simon Veness reviews a crazy week in the NFL's free agent frenzy, as sides splash out over $1bn....


Neal Foulds

Night at the Circus

Neal Foulds is looking forward to another fun, raucous Snooker Shoot-Out - but can't pick a winner....


Neal Foulds

Simply the best?

Five-time Masters champion Ronnie O'Sullivan may be the best snooker player ever, says Neal Foulds....


Neal Foulds

Four to the fore

Neil Robertson and snooker's other leading lights are pulling clear of the pack, says Neal Foulds....


Kelvin Tatum

The contenders

Kelvin Tatum runs through the teams and riders ahead of the 2014 Elite League Speedway season....

Kelvin Tatum

Kelvin's 2013 Review

Kelvin Tatum salutes Poole's hierarchy and Tai Woffinden in his round-up of the speedway season....


Kelvin Tatum

Rich re-Ward

Poole, and the dynamic Darcy Ward, will wrap up the Elite League title at Perry Barr, says Kelvin Tatum....


Richard Moore

The final curtain

Richard Moore reflects on Sunday's Closing Ceremony to an unforgettable Olympic Games......


Richard Moore

A lasting golden glow

Richard Moore suggests all the British Olympians should visit schools and talk about their experiences....


Richard Moore

Favourite Froome

Richard Moore reveals his predictions for the 100th Tour de France, which starts on Saturday....


Wayne McCullough

Wonderful Davis

Wayne McCullough watched Antonio Rogerio Nogueria take on Phil Davis at UFC Fight Night 24. ...


Wayne McCullough

Jones shines bright

Wayne McCullough was highly impressed as the talented Jon Jones made short work of Mauricio Rua....


Wayne McCullough

A bloody marvel

Wayne McCullough salutes Diego Sanchez as he edges out Martin Kampmann in a UFC humdinger....