Kenseth Dominates Bristol

kenseth_matt_2005_bristolnightwinMatt Kenseth snapped a 56 race win less streak when be crossed the line Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway. Starting from the pole Kenseth was unstoppable all night. The win was the tenth of his career and first at Bristol. In total he led 415 of 500 laps and the win placed him on the heels of qualifying for the Race for the Chase.

Jeff Burton who had not won since 2001 finished second. When asked after the race Burton seemed happy that his friend Kenseth had found his way to victory lane.

Kenseth wasn’t the only driver who gained ground on the playoff hunt. With a sixth place finish Jeff Gordon found him self back in the top ten in points. Gordon entered the night twelfth in points. Jamie McMurray entered the race clinging to tenth in the standings but struggled with rear end damage and a flat tire that resulted in a twenty-sixth place finish.

How close as the standings? With McMurrary’s struggles he fell from tenth to twelfth. Entering the night McMurray knew he needed a good finish but found trouble and now finds himself twelve points behind tenth place Jeff Gordon. Matt Kenseth is one point ahead of McMurray and Elliott Sadler can’t be counted out as he is only thirty-four points out of tenth himself.

Dale Jarrett fell from eleventh in the points all the way to fourteenth and is pretty much out. Jarrett got bumped early in the race and spun around courtesy of Ryan Newman. Jarrett could of still had a good finish as the damage was minimal but instead decided to return the favor to Newman. As Newman went to pass, Jarrett took a sharp turn resulting in both cars wrecking into the wall. Kevin Harvick who still had slim playoff hopes alive crashed into Newman thus ending his chances.

Harvick was so mad that he pouted in his motor coach after the accident. NASCAR would penalized Jarrett two laps for rough driving. Harvick eventually did return after repairs were made and finished the race but it would take more then a miracle to move back into the hunt. When asked if he was angry that Jarrett’s actions had ruined his playoff chances Harvick sarcastically but truthfully said “We don’t deserve to be in the Chase anyway.”

kenseth_matt_2005_bristolnightwin3Jarrett refused comment after the race and left with his wife. Ryan Newman trying to avoid too much blame spoke “Mine was unintentional and his was intentional and that’s all I’m saying,”

With two races left it’s any ones guess who will be in the final ten. The top seven drivers all seem pretty safe but eighth place driver Carl Edwards is only 83 points ahead of Elliott Sadler who is thirteenth. Considering Kenseth was 160 points back of Edwards who was ninth entering Bristol is now only 61 points behind an eighth place Edwards and only 31 points out of ninth.

Still not a fan of the playoff system
As fun as it was to watch Kenseth finally win and be on the verge of making the final ten it feels a bit bogus. While I want Kenseth to be in competing for the Cup in the final ten races it still feels unfair that drivers who are 600 or more points behind point’s leader Tony Stewart will find themselves within 45 as the final ten races approach.

Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman, Carl Edwards and the rest of the guys who would benefit from this are good drivers. However this is not their year. It’s quite unfair that Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Greg Biffle and Rusty Wallace who have been consistent all season will see their points and accomplishments so far this season wiped away.