Tonight, NASCAR will crown a 2016 champion.
Carl Edwards and Joey Logano, chasing their first titles, and finally getting over that elusive hill. Carl Edwards lost the 2011 title via tiebreaker, the first time ever, to Tony Stewart, who is coincidentally retiring after tonight’s race. Joey Logano on the other hand, is trying to get revenge for 2015’s Chase. Logano was well on his way to competing for the title on this day last year, before Matt Kenseth and him got into each other at Martinsville, effectively ending Logano’s chances.
Kyle Busch is chasing his 2nd title in as many years. After struggling to put together a whole season, in Kyle Busch finally put it all together in 2015. Kyle could easily become the favorite before even getting to the track, due to his knack for winning races. If he can pull it off, he’ll be the only other driver with multiple titles at the beginning of the 2017 season.
Then we come to Jimmie Johnson. Johnson is pursuing history. Only Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt have been able to win 7 championships in their careers. Tonight, Jimmie Johnson could become the third member of that club. I believe that a 7th title for Jimmie Johnson would finally quiet a lot of his naysayers, who still contend that he isn’t as great as either Richard Petty or Dale Sr.
Now that we got the formalities out of the way, let’s talk about interest.
Tonight is the final NASCAR race of the 2016 season. Cars won’t be back on track until mid-January. That being said, I’ve normally been somewhat sad that NASCAR was ending for months. That is different this season.
I love racing, always have. I fell in love with NASCAR when my dad used to take me to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for qualifying, before I was old enough to attend the races. I’ve been going to NASCAR races since 2000. I remember vividly almost every single one of them. Being at the track literally makes me feel amazing. I get this surge of adrenaline like none other. That being said, I find myself indifferent to the ending of the 2016 season.
True, it’s the first season without Jeff Gordon, which has taken some getting used to. I also am a fan of Chase Elliott, who got eliminated from the Chase after Talladega. However, I’ve seen Chases without my favorite drivers before, and I still watched diligently. This season is different.
I wish I knew the exact cause of my indifference. Whether it’s the quality of racing, the drivers involved, or something else, this is the first time in my life that I can remember not caring about who wins the Championship.
That all being said, NASCAR will crown a Champion tonight.
Jimmie Johnson. History.
Kyle Busch. Repeat.
Joey Logano. Revenge.
Carl Edwards. Validation.
One race to decide it all.