When you see Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus, I swear a Queen song can be heard in the background. “We Are The Champions”, they seem to be once again serenading the rest of the field during recent events. Johnson has been so dominant this season, he even has tossed away a few races he should have claimed while he proved selfish enough to grab his 4th victory of the season Saturday night in Daytona. He owned that race, and maybe he is about to reclaim that title he had owned for five straight years before loaning it out to Tony Stewart and Brad Keselowski.
Stewart, who might lean toward pudginess from time to time, yet has never reached Meat Loaf proportions, might be thinking that “Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad,” The 2011 king (and in 2002 and 2005) was second at Daytona and moved back into the top ten in the standings. Keselowski, on the other hand, continues his big chill, falling just out of the top ten. After a 21st place finish on Saturday, he may be only 11 points back of Stewart, but since leaving Kansas the defending champ’s average finish has been 22.4. That includes six outcomes where he wound up outside even the top twenty. When Foreigner sang “Cold As Ice”, they were singing about Brad.
It was a CCR end of the day for Joey Logano, Juan Pablo Montoya, Martin Truex Jr, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, Jeff Gordon, and Kasey Kahne. They all started in the sunshine but in the end all saw a “Bad Moon Rising,” At least they all lasted longer than Paul Menard, who went up in smoke on just lap 23.
Rating Daytona – 10/10 – It was Daytona. It was a visual spectacle. We do not watch to see them wreck. We watch due to the lap by lap promise that all hell just might break loose, and while often it does we are amazed when it does not. I am not even talking about the last lap where, as Dirks Bentley mentioned, things more often than not go a little bit “Sideways.”
Will things get tamer in New Hampshire on Sunday? Last year’s summer and fall victors, Kahne and Hamlin, sure hope so. Jeff Burton has the most wins there, with four, while Stewart. Gordon, Ryan Newman, and Kurt Busch, who has newly arrived in the top ten this season, all have three. So does Mr. Johnson. The good news for the rest of the field is that he has been blanked there in his past five attempts. All he did last year was finish 7th in July, 2nd in September, and last year sucked for the team. I mean, they only finished third in the standings. Last night I dreamed of Chad wearing a Freddie Mercury jumpsuit atop the war wagon singing “We Will Rock You.” I woke up screaming. Enjoy the week.