A couple of months ago I described the new NASCAR playoff system, and now it’s finally coming to a wonderful end.
After 9 races of intense racing, where each race kept you watching until the end, to see who would be eliminated and who would move on, we have reached Homestead Miami and the final race of the 2014 season.
Coming into the race this past weekend at Phoenix, Kevin Harvick looked like a long shot to make it, but winning the race (which he’s done often at this track) pushed him into the finals, along with Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, and Ryan Newman.
With one lap to go though at Phoenix, Newman was just out of the picture, and Jeff Gordon, a long-time fan-favorite was holding that fourth position. But a bold move by Newman, shoving Kyle Larson’s car into a corner to gain position, Newman took the final spot on the last lap.
And just like that Newman has a chance at making history. He can win the Championship on Sunday without winning a race this season (as he was the 16th driver in, based on points, and kept advancing round by round by position, not wins). Never in the 65-year history has a Championship failed to win a race during the year.
So while the new playoff format has proven to be a lot more dramatic, and interesting, week-after-week, it can cause a glitch that no one had thought likely.
Personally I will be rooting for Harvick, who drives for Stewart-Haas Racing, co-owned by my favorite driver, Tony Stewart.
Regardless who wins though, this weeks race is guaranteed to be more exciting then most recent Championship races, where, minus the Stewart year, it was wrapped up long before the final lap was run.
Four drivers, in a group of 43, but the first of them to cross the finish line, wins. It doesn’t get much better than that.