Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Twelfth NASCAR Day of Christmas: 12 Chasers Chasing

One of the best things about the 2010 season, was that the Sprint Cup Chase was the closest in Chase history. 

Twelve drivers didn't just make the Chase, they made the Chase exciting.

There were flying fists, fingers and fines.  There was high drama and low blows. And, to top it off, there was a reigning champ who came from behind to score his fifth championship in a row - a feat unparalleled in NASCAR history.

Clint Bowyer started the Chase with a win in New Hampshire  - only to be fined and penalized days later when his car failed post-race inspection.  The judgment punted the No. 33 from second to twelfth in the points.  And Bowyer's response to the penalty made "The Wrecker Defense" a motorsports byword.

Bowyer ended the year in 10th spot.

Then there was Kyle Busch.  Although Rowdy failed to produce a "W" during the Chase, he did make for some good TV with his flying one-finger salute on national television.  Busch finished the year in eighth place.

Kevin "Happy" Harvick brought the goods all year long. The regular season champ, he stayed in contention 'til the very end.  And though he finished in third, his message was heard throughout the NASCAR world - Richard Childress Racing is back.

Second-place finisher Denny Hamlin added a heap of racing drama to the Chase.  He started the Chase in the top seed after a win at Richmond.  He then lost the Chase lead, but stole it back from the No. 48 team with a win at Texas. 

And then the mind games and the verbal potshots began as Hamlin and crew chief Mike Ford called Johnson and Chad Knaus the weaker team, vowing to beat the Lowe's dynasty. 

But words can come back to haunt you, and at Homestead, Johnson and company showed their strength while Denny spun out, ending his quest to win his first championship. 

Moral of the story? You better check yourself, before you wreck yourself.

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