I want to use this article run through the various scenarios of what the drivers of the Camping World Truck, Nationwide, and Sprint Cup series must do to clinch their respective championships.
Now there has been a lot of interesting news over the last few days, some of it requiring my attention for more in depth articles. I will do so at the conclusion of the racing season, because a lot of these stories are still in flux.
So until then, let’s dig in on how Matt Crafton, Sam Hornish Jr., Austin Dillon, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, and Jimmie Johnson can clinch their respective series championships.
Camping World Truck Series
Matt Crafton clinched his championship as soon as the green flag falls. Short of getting kidnapped by aliens on his way to pit road, the title is as good as his. It’s that simple.
To clinch his owner’s championship he must finish 18th. If Crafton finishes tonight in 18th place he will bring home the owner and driver’s championship to ThorSport Racing.
Austin Dillon controls his own fate as we head into the final race. With a eight point lead, Dillon wins regardless of Sam’s action with a third place finish. A fourth place finish with a lap led, and a fifth place finish with the most laps led also win him the title.
Now if Sam wins and gains max points, Austin can’t finish higher than fourth and can’t lead a lap. Sam can also win and let Austin lead a lap, but not lead the most laps and win with Austin finishing fifth. Bottom line, to win the title Sam must lead the most laps and win the race and hope Austin loses his consistency.
The battle for the owner’s title is a separation of only four points being led by the 22 of Penske. If the 54 finishes five spots ahead, it wins the title. The only way to clinch for sure is for the 22 to win with Joey Logano behind the wheel on Saturday.
Sprint Cup Series
If Jimmie Johnson finishes 23rd, then the championship is his. If he finishes 24th but leads a lap, he wins. 25th with the most laps led and he is the champion. All of these scenarios are regardless what the other drivers do around him.
Matt Kenseth must have luck on his side. The luck is that Johnson falters in some fashion. If none of the three win, Matt has to beat Johnson by twenty-eight spots. If Matt gets max points, Johnson must finish lower than twenty-third with no laps lead and lower then twenty-fourth with a lap led. If Johnson leads the most laps then Matt needs him to fall outside the top twenty-five of the field.
Kevin Harvick’s climb is much harder than Matt’s. For Kevin to pull off the upset and claim max points, Johnson must finish worse than thirtieth and Kenseth to finish lower than second. If Johnson or Kenseth lead a lap than it’s lower than thirty-first and third respectively. If Johnson leads the most laps, then Harvick needs him to fall below thirty-second, or if Kenseth does, than Harvick needs Matt to be below fourth.
The driver will dictate the owner’s championship.
In random news:
The biggest news of the week was Dario Franchitti being forced to retire due to doctor’s orders. Apparently in his wreck, he sustained a spinal and head injury. This is a sad deal for Dario as he is a hell of an open wheel driver. A replacement for the number 10 that was driven by Franchitti has not been named.
Sam Hornish Jr. is searching for a ride next season. He was asked if he had any interesting in returning to IndyCar to take the spot of the injured Dario. He answered with a resounding no. His desire is to remain in NASCAR.
Sticking with the open wheel theme, Ed Carpenter is scaling back his schedule. He will drive the six oval races and give the control of his car to Mike Conway for the rod courses.
Travis Pastrana is stepping away from NASCAR. A combination of sponsorship issues and not performing up to his standard, Pastrana will return to dirt racing in various forms. It’s a shame, I like Travis and wish he’d had success in NASCAR. But asphalt isn’t for everyone.
Trevor Bayne has let the public know he has Multiple Sclerosis. Two years ago, Trevor was seen at the mayo clinic after battling at the time unknown illnesses. It was confirmed in June, and Trevor has proven and hopes to continue to prove he will be just fine to race.
Matt Crafton got a contract extension. Not really news because well, it was smart on ThorSport Racing to do it.
Jeff Green will step in Eric McClure’s seat this Saturday. Eric is out with a mystery illness of his own.
Michael Annett will drive for Tommy Baldwin Racing in the Sprint Cup series and make a bid for the Rookie of The Year honors.
Some of the voting procedures for the 2015 Hall of Fame nominees change in NASCAR. One announced is that the 2013 Sprint Cup Champion will have a vote as being the only active drivers to have one.
Joey Logano announced on Thursday he was engaged to Brittany Baca. I wasn’t aware a twelve year old could get married…I kid the happy couple! Congrats to them.
A rumor come out that Hendrick Motorsports might be making some crew chief changes, similar to the shift in 2010. Rick Hendrick denied the rumors, and I can understand why. The current lineups are strong; there’s just simply been no luck for them.
NAPA Auto Parts which is rumored to be leaving the sport, met with Bill and Chase Elliot, Rick Hendrick, and Kelly Earnhardt-Miller during the week. No one is sure what the meeting is about. What we do know is it was made crystal clear by JR Motorsports they’d love to have Chase in a car next season. Rick and Kelly are co-owners of the company along with Hendrick driver and Kelly’s brother, Dale Earnhardt Jr. It’s also known that Dale Jr. is in need of thirteen of his thirty-eight races to be filled next season. NAPA hasn’t commented publically and their desire to sit out the season was a rumor. It was said that they didn’t want to step down a series, or sponsor any series. So who knows?
Random Sports/Non Sports Thought:
Matt Crafton clinched the championship while I was in the middle of writing this. Guess those aliens didn’t show.
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So until we meet again just know, I’ll be waiting for you at the next left turn of Homestead!