Jeff Gordon- Remarkably Jeff Gordon’s recent career resurgence has resurrected the conversation about a potential drive for five.
Heading into the month of August Gordon continues to sit atop the NSCS point standings, a position he’s held for a majority of the 2014 season. Certainly a fifth title for one of the greatest drivers in NASCAR history is looking more like a reality than a possibility with each passing week. Jeff Gordon aided his bid for that elusive fifth championship by claiming his second victory of the season last Sunday at Indianapolis. No stranger to rewriting the NASCAR history book, Gordon stands alone as the only driver to record five victories at Indianapolis, a track that holds a tremendous amount of sentimental value to the kid from Indiana.
Joe Gibbs Racing
Over the last month no organization’s been hotter than Joe Gibbs Racing. All three teams have performed tremendously since the end of June. Virtually paralyzed by their struggles in the early portion of the season, JGR is now finding ways to finish races near the front with a measure of consistency.
Kyle Busch has managed to record three runner up finishes in the last four weeks. He’s clearly hitting his stride at the right time with the Chase looming. Busch has one victory (Fontana) on the season, but would undoubtedly like to record another victory before the clock strikes midnight on Sept. 7 at Richmond.
Denny Hamlin hasn’t done much since his victory at Talladega, but in recent weeks he looks as consistent as any driver on the tour. Hamlin has rolled off two top ten finishes in the last two weeks to compliment his top five run at Indy. Hamlin’s victory essentially puts him in the Chase; however he did miss a race earlier in the season. Another victory could bolster Denny’s march towards making the Chase following a disappointing 2013 season.
Matt Kenseth remains the lone JGR driver without a victory in 2014. Kenseth’s position in the standings should guarantee him a position in the Chase, so don’t write off Matt just yet. Kenseth has followed the lead of his JGR teammates earning himself three top five finishes in the last four weeks. Kenseth has six opportunities left to score a victory to propel his positioning
among the chase drivers. The bottom line here is Kenseth will win a race in the next six weeks.
Joe Gibbs Racing has a ton of momentum on its side as the season winds down. If the last three weeks are any indication Kyle Busch could be the driver to watch once we get to the final 10 races of the season.
Simply phenomenal. That’s what Kyle Larson’s rookie campaign has been highly successful thus far.
The 21 year old rookie sensation has adapted nicely to the demands that go with running a full season on the NSCS circuit. His extraordinary march through the ranks has breathed new life into the NSCS rookie of the year battle, thus bringing a sense of respectability back to an entity that’s desperately needed a shot in the arm for quite some time. Larson’s top ten run at Indy has the kid primed for a date with destiny in September. Should he make the Chase expect young Kyle Larson to fight the good fight.
Austin celebrated with little brother in victory lane on Saturday. On Sunday Austin turned in a fine performance finishing 10rh in the final running order. And like his fellow rookie of the year competitor, the above mentioned Kyle Larson, Austin’s weekly rise to the top of the NSCS rankings is equally satisfying as it is exhilarating.
I get it. BK Racing’s three rookie drivers are not expected to compete for a championship; they are just looking to establish an identity. I really want to root for them, I really do, but they make it tremendously difficult. It’s hard to feel something for a organization that appears hell bent on tanking. This organization has regressed considerable in 2014 with rookie drivers Alex Bowman & Ryan Truex at the helm. Adding Cole Whitt to the driver line following the demise of Swan Racing did little to impact their standing. It’s hard to see light at the end of the tunnel when things are this bleak. Bowman, Truex, and Whitt deserve better equipment than what they’ve been given. Let’s hope they weather the storm; it’s painful to see such young talent go to waste.
Team Penske has a rich history at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as does Juan Montoya. For whatever reason, this pairing couldn’t capture the magic of days gone by at this year’s Brickyard 400 despite having a really good car for most of the weekend. However the weekend wasn’t’ totally uneventful for Juan Montoya; he managed to make a new friend in Paul Menard. Insert sarcastic one liner here.
Indianapolis was perhaps Dancia Patrick’s last chance to steal a position in this year’s Chase. When it was all said and done all Danica was left with was the familiar feeling of disappointment.
You have to feel for Paul Menard, the former Brickyard winner. He learly had his sights set on replicating his 2011 performance at the rack when he claimed his first NCSC win. Paul’s done a outstanding job to keeping his Chase dreams alive for most of the 2014 season, but it’s highly likely he won’t have his day in the sun, thanks to an on track incident with Juan Montoya that certainly dashed his chase hopes for another season. Damn you Montoya!