Kyle Busch felt it, went wide. Brad Keselowski felt it, and slid into Busch to erase the leader from the equation. Marcos Ambrose charged up from third, did a little beating and banging as the pair went sliding through the mud, the blood, and the beer, with the man from Snowy River coming out ahead. For Ambrose, he was career win number two as he became the king of the Glen again and gave the King, Richard Petty, another win as a team owner.
So, did NASCAR’s non-call cost Busch a victory, one that might have locked him into the Chase? Yup. The trouble is, no one actually saw oil on the track even though everybody suspected it was out there. I mean, it was either oil or the track turned real icy in one of those Day After Tomorrow sort of weather change moments, but Dennis Quaid was nowhere to be found. However, with the race down to its final lap, it was too late. Busch was out and they let the boys fight it out to see who would endure. It was the right call, though Jeff Gordon would disagree.
Gordon has a win, had the final wildcard spot coming in, but he slipped behind both Ryan Newman and Kyle Busch when he slipped on the slick that final lap to wind up 21st instead of within the Top Ten. With four races to go before the deadline, Gordon is ten behind Newman and four off of Busch.
The rest of the wrecks did not much matter. Brian Vickers is looking to return full time next year, but blew up three laps in. Jamie McMurray was 7th, but a tire blew to conclude his day. Pole sitter Juan Pablo Montoya broke something up front and was gone by the midpoint. Denny Hamlin went from 6th to adios when his engine packed up. Tony Stewart was second, but spun off to oblivion. Dale Earnhardt Jr was in a top ten fight, but spun his way to outside the Top Twenty. It made things entertaining, unpredictable, and kept us watching, but it all did not mean much as far as who hunts for the title and who does not.
The Top Ten remain our Top Ten. Kasey Kahne’s two wins gives him one wildcard spot. Newman has the other, with he, Busch and Gordon in the only points battle that matters. Carl Edwards is six points up on Newman, but still can’t capitalize as he remains winless. Ambrose and Joey Logano still have a shot, but they need at least one more win. They have Michigan, Bristol, Atlanta, and Richmond left to do just that.
Heading to Michigan this Sunday, ten are pretty much locked in yet ten others still have a shot. If McMurray, in 20th, can win two of the final four, even he could slip in. Yet, Jamie has never won at Michigan. Kyle Busch did at about this time one year ago. Carl Edwards did in 2008 and 2007. So has Newman and Gordon…and Kasey Kahne. It should be an interesting race. Enjoy the week.