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|08/02/17||10 things that need to happen in 2017|
Back Flipping at Bristol
Bristol Motor Speedway is known for bumping and grinding, and crazy finishes. Sunday night was not an exception to the Bristol chaos. This week co-host Hermie Saddler and I chatted with Food City 500 winner Carl Edwards and teammate Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. We also discussed the possibility of having 20 different drivers parade down victory lane.
Sunday afternoon the sun tried to peep over the top of the grandstands; however, the skies looked ominous and proved to be threatening. The Food City 500 was splintered by rain and thunderstorms but that did not stop NASCAR from getting in 500 laps of racing. After 3.5 hours of waiting, Carl Edwards gladly accepted the caution checkered flag to put his No. 99 Ford in victory lane.
On this edition of Fast Talk, Carl Edwards gave Hermie and I a call to talk about his first victory of the year. When asked his opinion if winning a race could act as a free ticket for one of the sixteen Chase spots, Edwards eluded to the fact that putting a scratch in the win column allows his team to work outside of the box. Winning early in the season takes some of the pressure off of trying to slip into the Chase, especially when there are only a handful of races left and drivers are vying for Chase positions. Because some of the pressure to win has been alleviated by a win, it allows his team to tinker with his car deeper into the season so that they are full-steam ahead when it comes to Chase time. Carl does not think that one win will solidify his position as one of the sweet sixteen drivers. He believes that there could be 20 drivers to win races this season. By that calculation, four drivers would be left on the outside looking in with the new Chase format. If NASCAR has 20 different drivers winning races this season, it would break the standing record of 19 different winners set back in 2001. Hermie and I both agree that in order for this feat to be accomplished, drivers such as Jimmie Johnson would not be able to win 5 or 6 races in the same season. After much debate Hermie and I came up with what we would call our power 20 winners. These drivers include: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Brad Keselowski, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch, Jamie McMurray, Kyle Larson, Paul Menard, Ryan Newman, Greg Biffle, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Aric Almirola, and Clint Bowyer. We also labeled the rookie drivers and maybe Danica Patrick as wild cards who could potentially capture the checkered flag in 2014.
One driver who is making a claim to win a race in the future is Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. After finishing a career best 2nd place at Bristol, Ricky hopes this shot of confidence and momentum will carry over to California. According to Stenhouse, Jr., "California is one of my favorite places to race." He loves the four-wide, nail-biting excitement that California has to offer. If Stenhouse Jr. could pull off a win in California he would be the fifth different driver in five races to win this year. He says, "The race is really going to depend on tires." If teams can play their cards so that they have fresh tires at the end of the race, they might end up on top fist-pumping their fans, and celebrating with their crew.