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2010 NASCAR Season Observations After Four Races

Posted by chadmusselman on March 17, 2010

Harvick WinsWell, for some unknown reason NASCAR has an off-week after only four races.  Why don’t they actually think about the off-weeks and space them out evenly throughout the season?  One more reason to be frustrated with the NASCAR executives.  Regardless of their reasoning for an off-week after 4 races it did give me time to write this summary of observations on how the season has gone so far.

I’ll take a look at how last year’s chasers are doing, who’s doing better than where they finished in 2009, and who has been the most disappointing.

Chasers From Last Year

Six of the 2009 chasers are in the top twelve after four races and four (Carl Edwards, Juan Montoya, Denny Hamlin, and Ryan Newman) find themselves 20th or worse in points.  Will any of those 20th or worse be able to work their way into the top twelve and make the chase?  Carl Edwards probably has the best shot, but the others are going to have a tough time. 

Ryan Newman especially has been horrible this season.  He’s 29th in points and his best finish has been 17th.  If he doesn’t have a top ten finish at Bristol his season could be all but over with no chance to make the chase.  Some other chasers that will have a hard time making the chase this season are Brian Vickers, Juan Montoya, Denny Hamlin, and Kasey Kahne.

Most Improved over 2009

Kevin Harvick has easily improved the most since 2009 when he finished 19th in points.  He’s leading the points standings and has averaged a 5th place finish in the four races of 2010.  Close on his heels is Matt Kenseth.  He finished 14th in points in 2009, and is now in 2nd place.  Clint Bowyer and Jeff Burton have also done well compared to last season moving up to 5th and 6th place from 15th and 17th in 2009. 

Scott Speed has made the biggest jump so far moving up 23 spots from his 35th place 2009 finish to 12th.  Paul Menard has made a similar improvement moving up 22 spots from 31st in 2009 to 9th in points now.  Who would have guessed that one?

Do any of these guys have a chance to keep their top twelve position and make the chase?  Certainly Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton, and Matt Kenseth do as they’re proven drivers and are always capable of winning each week and winning the championship. 

Clint Bowyer, Scott Speed, and Paul Menard on the other hand will probably not stay in the top twelve for very long.  They have had some good runs and their team owners and sponsors have to be thrilled, but the reality is that they’re not top-tier drivers with the skill and resources to make the chase.  Yes, Clint Bowyer has made the chase before, but think of that as his couple good years.  It’s not likely to happen again.

Most Disappointing

The most disappointing has to be Ryan Newman.  After the great 2009 season, with a new team, you had to expect some drop-off, but I don’t think anyone expected him to do this poorly.  I don’t know what’s going on with that team, but they better figure it out soon.

Kyle Busch hasn’t had a horrible year, but it’s not a Kyle Busch type of season.  His best finish so far is only 14th, and he’s 15th in points.  He’s been quiet on the track, doesn’t seem as aggressive as in years past, and hasn’t even caused any wrecks.  What’s wrong with Kyle?  I’m not a Kyle Busch fan, but I like to see personalities show.  When will the Kyle of old show up?

I would consider Carl Edwards for this, being 20th in points, but he has actually run pretty well this year.  The 39th place finish in Atlanta dropped him 10 spots, making his season look worse than it really is.

So, what have I missed? What 2009 chasers do you think will miss the chase in 2010?  Who’s been the biggest surprise, and who’s been the biggest disappointment?  Leave a comment and let me know.

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2 Responses to “2010 NASCAR Season Observations After Four Races”

  1. […] 2010 NASCAR Observations After Four Races – Chad Musselman […]

  2. […] think about the off-weeks and space them out evenly throughout the season See the article here: 2010 NASCAR Season Observations After Four Races « Chad's Fantasy … Share and […]

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