This weekend's race at Homestead-Miami Speedway may be the season finale, but last weekend's race at Phoenix is probably going to end up being the most memorable of the year. Kevin Harvick
snapped a 44-race winless drought, and that just scratches the surface of the headline-worthy drama. Jeff Gordon
and Clint Bowyer
tangled on the track and kept the fight going into the garage area before police eventually separated them. Meanwhile, a cut tire sent Jimmie Johnson
into the wall and basically handed a championship to Brad Keselowski
For Keselowski, his impending championship is a reminder that it is sometimes better to be lucky than good. Despite his incredible performance during the first eight races of the Chase, Johnson had caught him, passed him and padded his lead. Now, a cut tire has Keselowski 20 points out front and one top-15 finish away from his first career Cup title and the first career Cup title for owner Roger Penske. Yes, the same bad luck that befell Johnson could strike Keselowski at Homestead. However, he has the added advantage of being able to play it safe and conservative throughout Sunday's race and still come out on top. As long as the engineers and mechanics put the car together properly, Keselowski is going to be the 2012 Sprint Cup champion.
As for the incident between Gordon and Bowyer, it is a perfect example of how drivers never forget anything that happens on the track even during the course of a 10-month season. It was way back on April 1 at Martinsville that a bonsai, three-wide pass attempt by Bowyer sent then-leader Gordon and several other cars spinning into the wall. It was a reckless move by Bowyer that likely cost Gordon a win. More than seven months later, Gordon got his revenge, dashing any hopes Bowyer had of rallying to win the championship. Yes, it was unfortunate that other drivers got caught up in the feud, but heck, NASCAR suspended Kyle Busch for retaliating against Ron Hornaday under caution when Busch made sure nobody else was involved. At the end of the day, there is always going to be an element of self-policing to NASCAR that no amount of fines, penalties or suspensions will ever eliminate.
There are 400 miles left of racing in the 2012 Cup Series season. A champion is going to be crowned, and everyone else will have a couple of months off to figure out how to be the one celebrating at the end of the 2013 season. The same goes for fantasy players. Whether you are trying to hang on to win your league or making one last push to take the top spot, it all comes to an end Sunday at Homestead.
About Brian Polking
Racing has been part of Brian's life ever since he can remember, and he spent his childhood at dirt tracks throughout Ohio and Kentucky watching his father race. NASCAR naturally became his favorite sport, and he has been following the Cup, Nationwide and Truck Series for most of his life. Brian majored in journalism and economics at Ohio State University and becoming a sports writer has always been his dream. Although he has covered everything from minor league baseball to the NCAA tournament, his passion has always been NASCAR. Brian has served as a NASCAR writer for a variety of sites, eventually becoming head editor of the NASCAR section for Fanball.com. His knowledge of NASCAR comes from his life-long love of racing, and he tries to add a personal touch to every article he writes. Brian is always up for talking NASCAR with anyone that wants to. Brian joined KFFL's team in 2011.
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