Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Jimmie Johnson captures his 5th straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship: The Top 7 NASCAR things learned from Race 10 of the chase in Homestead.

Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR

Welcome ladies and gentlemen, sorry for the delay, I was under the weather. But wow, here we are the last edition of the top 7 NASCAR things learned from a particular race weekend of the 2010 NASCAR season and unlike in past years, Homestead finally lived up to most of the hype as it should every year.

Of course most of the hype was around the final three chase drivers still fighting for the Sprint Cup, namely points leader Denny Hamlin, second place Jimmie and third place Kevin Harvick. But Homestead was a 400 mile race that includes 43 drivers, not 3 like the Disney’s movie Cars. So I was watching a lot of battles including the highest finishing non-chase and personal victories.

1. A perfect example of NASCAR’s new policy of Letting The Inmates Run the Asylum with “Boy’s Have at it”. Feud part whatever: Logano vs. Montoya. During the race, Montoya wouldn’t give Logano any room and ended up wrecking him on a restart in front of huge group of cars including Denny Hamlin. But what the TV didn’t show or I just didn’t see it, Logano went back out on track and waited 25 laps, then took out Montoya under caution, putting Montoya into the outside wall.

2. Jimmie Johnson wins his fifth straight Sprint Cup Championship. On last Sunday, Jimmie Johnson made history by winning his fifth straight Cup Series championship, something no one including his co-owner Jeff Gordon has done and he did it five straight times. However I can see how this one is different, Johnson came in -15 points behind the points leader and had to fight for it in a one-race take all deal. And Johnson with the #48 team delivered and with a 2nd place finish clinched his fifth title and making Jimmie Johnson the best active driver in NASCAR.

3. Feud of the week: Kevin Harvick vs. Kyle Busch goes up in flames. Kyle Busch drivers everyone aggressively and at times dirty. So at Homestead, it didn’t surprise me that Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick would get together in one way or another. But while every driver wants space to race, not too many give it and Kyle Busch learned that the hard way as Busch cut in front of Harvick and no brake as Harvick clipped Busch, sending the #18 hard into the inside wall. As Kyle Busch drove around the racetrack on the apron, his car ignited up in flames and that moment ended his 2010 NASCAR season. And Kyle Busch got exactly what he deserved.

4. #11-Denny Hamlin/Joe Gibbs Racing team lost as a team. I’m NOT fan of Denny Hamlin at all and on last Sunday, Denny Hamlin lost the championship (sort of speak) before the race even started and then continued a downhill motion from there. After having a 12th place finish at Phoenix, Jimmie Johnson’s comments and the media hype, Denny Hamlin was feeling the pressure heading into Homestead and it showed.

But even more, so was the entire team. Throughout the weekend, the #11 team had a poor qualifying effect, Hamlin hit Greg Biffle in the rear quarter during the race, damaging both cars, the crew chief made a few bad calls on pit road including getting there, the crew on pit stops and Jimmie Johnson with the #48 team being on their game ended Denny Hamlin’s championship hopes period. They lost as a team period. End of discussion.

5. Carl Edwards gives Ford and Roush-Fenway Racing hope for 2011 after back to back wins at Phoenix and Homestead. I don’t know if Carl Edwards is going to be really hunt for the 2011 Sprint Cup, but over the last few weeks, Carl Edwards has won two races and finished 4th in points and that is a good sign that Ford can win.

6. All three RCR teams are champion material in 2011.

7. Kevin Harvick had the best overall performance all season long and in 2011 will be a threat for the 2011 Sprint Cup Series championship if he can relax and stop yelling at his life line, his pit crew and crew chief.

Well that’s not all folks, between now (Wednesday, November 24, 2010) and the 2010 Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony on Dec. 3 at Wynn Las Vegas, I will be rapping up the 2010 NASCAR season with several look backs including was my predictions a hit or miss. And be sure to comment in the comment section on what you think of this article and season.