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Tony On The Outside Looking In

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Well, who ever thought Tony would be on the outside looking in? I didn't. I was impressed with his post race interview - he handled himself well considering he was just knocked out of the Chase.

Now I've heard grumblings (probably from some Stewart fans no doubt, and Gordon fans from last year) that since NASCAR allows Past Champion Provisionals they should allow Past Champions Spots for the Chase. O.k. this makes sense to a degree, but since I don't favour the Past Champions Provisonal, I can't favour this either. Here are two quotes to tell you why I don't favour it:

1) "Obviously we’re talking about Stewart being left out, which was something not really anyone considered as actually being reality. Mike simply said that he’s had 26 races to defend his title, and if hdidn'tdn’t get it done, so be it. If thewasn'tasn’t a Chase,wouldn'tuldn’t have gotten it done anyway, as right now it would be a two man showdown for the title, with an outside shot by Harvick in third. As it stands now, with the Chase, there are 10 drivers that have a legitimate shot with 10 to go. This sport rewards the best overall, not the best on only a few occasions." Mike Helton (NASCAR Victory Lane interview).
Quote from Thunder Lounge.

2) "It's not for a lack of effort. Zippy (Greg Zipadelli, crew chief) and all the guys on The Home Depot team, they worked their rear ends off. I did everything I could do behind the steering wheel. It wasn't one night that got us in this situation. It took 26 weeks to get here. We did the best we could, we just came up short." - Tony Stewart (post-race interview)
Quote from Motorsports.com

Notice what is similar in both of these quotes? He had 25 other races to get it done and he didn't. Period. Now I'm not a fan of the current point system, but you have to race within the set rules and he had the opportunity to do it and he blew it.

Obviously the big story between now and this time next year will be three things; 1) What cost Tony to be out of the Chase?, 2) Will he be in the Chase next year?, and 3) Will there be big changes a JGR as a result of not being in the Chase?

Here are the answers;

1) Why was Tony outside the Chase? A combination of things. I wouldn't blame it on just one thing. a) because of his extra-curricular racing and wrecks that injured him. b) because of his race at Pocono where his anger got the best of him and he was penalized a lap and then spun out by Edwards - I feel he could have finished higher if he wasn't involved that original altercation. c) poor finishes before he was hurt ie. he finished 43rd (engineCaliforniaornia in Feb., 42nd (accident) at Lowes in May, and 41st (accident) at Michigan on June 18.

2) Yes he will be in the Chase next year - Joe Gibbs won't have it any other way.

3) Probably not, Zippy will still be there anyway. There will be huge changes if Tony doesn't make it next year.

Look for Tony to become a sort of "research and development" car for Denny Hamlin over the next ten races, keeping in mind they still want to go for the 11th place bonus money.

Tomorrow I talk about Harvick.

Here is the link to the picture that I wanted to put on here, but Blogger is messing with my picture uploading again.