Busch out of contention even after dominant season

Published 5:45 pm Friday, September 26, 2008

The driver that leads the field in wins and top-fives has pretty much no chance to win the Sprint Cup championship. Kyle Busch in 2008 has been as dominating of a driver, in all three series, in recent memory, but all will go for naught.

After suffering through an inexcusable mistake by a crew member – a loose 50-cent bolt – at New Hampshire that resulted in a 34th place finish, Busch had more bad luck last week at Dover. The ever-talked about Toyota engine threw a rod less than halfway into the 400-lap race and relegated Busch to the last place finish.

My, how quickly the mighty can fall. Busch now sits squarely in 12th place, last among the championship contenders and 210 points out of first. His championship hopes are virtually non-existent. The biggest comeback to win the championship was in 2006 when Jimmie Johnson was 136 points out of the lead after the Dover race. He went on to win the championship by 56 points over Matt Kenseth.

The bad thing, or good thing depending on your point of view, for Busch about the Chase system is that he would still be in the hunt under the old system. Although he would have given up the lead to Carl Edwards under the old system, he would only trail by 33 points. But, what’s the old saying, “If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, then every day would be Christmas.”

But I don’t think Busch will disappoint over the last eight races. He will throw caution into the wind and drive that car like the wind. He is shooting for wins; throw the points out the window. Should be fun to watch.

Greg Biffle sure picked a good time to pick up his first two wins of the season. Pretty much a second thought all year, Biffle is now right in the middle of the championship hunt. After winning at Dover, he is tied with Jimmie Johnson in second place, 10 points behind Carl Edwards.

Jeff Burton is fourth, 82 points out of the lead. Although no driver has been mathematically eliminated from winning the Cup, the top nine have a realistic chance, and that number should decrease as the weeks go by.

Is it just me, or did AJ Allmendinger seem to get a raw deal from Team Red Bull? It was announced this week that ‘Dinger is free to look for another team next season. Although nothing has been announced, look for former Formula One driver Scott Speed to take AJ’s spot next season.

After struggling through an ugly 2007 debut season, the No. 84 Toyota team has been fairly competitive over the last 15 races. Here’s hoping that AJ finds a good, solid ride next season. He’s a very likable guy and a good driver.

The third race of the Chase is Sunday at Kansas Speedway. This will be the eighth race at Kansas since coming onto the schedule in 2001 and only three of the Chase drivers have won here. Jeff Gordon has two wins with Tony Stewart and Greg Biffle with one win each. Biffle won here last year and is looking for three straight wins. The streak will continue with Chase drivers winning races, but Biffle’s streak will end. My pick to win this week is Matt Kenseth.