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Race 26: Richmond (On The Edge of My Seat)

Posted by Amy in General | NASCAR

Two days later and my head is still spinning from the drama that was the Richmond race.  The race at Richmond on Saturday night had more plot lines than a soap opera on a Friday afternoon. Since Tony Stewart was pretty much guaranteed to make the chase- even if he fell out of the top ten- I was strangely relaxed at first.  When I turned on the TV to settle in for the race and saw college football and that it was only in the 3rd quarter I didn’t even freak out as I normally would have.  Nothing ticks me off more, usually, then when I turn on the TV to watch a race and some other programming is on instead. It didn’t bother me Saturday for some reason- possibly because thanks to Twitter I realized that there was a rain delay at Richmond- but I can’t be sure.

By the way- I don’t watch college football ever but I kept the game on as background noise while I did some household chores- because frankly- there wasn’t much else on anyway .  I heard the announcers of the game (it was USC and Someone- see how little I paid attention) talking about how NASCAR was currently in a rain delay which was good for them because they were running late because of a lightning delay.  So they bantered back and forth about The Chase a bit and how it worked.  Or I should say how they THOUGHT it worked. How many drivers they THOUGHT made it to the chase- it was a little sad that they didn’t know.  I mean like I said I don’t watch much football or baseball but I still know for the most part how the games are played. But I digress.

Tony Looks Befuddled At Richmond

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, looks on during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 7, 2012 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images North America)

Tony had a TERRIBLE practice on Friday.  TERRIBLE! As in I think his highest speed was 42nd on the charts. Yeah. Bad. I honestly was surprised he qualified 28th considering how TERRIBLE practice was- sad but true. I think Tony even said that he wasn’t worried about the 10 weeks of the chase because they were THAT bad today (being Friday).  Anyway- so when the race finally got going I was more concerned with the Wild Card positions for the chase then I was about Tony because like I said- I knew Tony would be in the chase even if it was as a wild card. Yes I preferred he get in the top ten so he could keep his seeding points but at least he would make it into the chase should he finish poorly.

The wild cards – well it was hard for me.  I was pretty sure Kasey Kahne had one of the WCs wrapped up providing Tony didn’t fall out of the top ten. So really that only left one WC berth left.  I wanted Jeff Gordon to have it for Misty- you all have probably figured out she is a Jeff Gordon fan by now.  I wanted Kyle Busch to have it because well we both like Kyle Busch.  A tiny part of me wanted Ryan Newman to get it because that is Stewart-Haas Racing and benefits Tony. So it was crazy- and at one point when Ryan was leading (he needed a WIN to get the WC) I was like oh NO…Ryan might get it and I am sure if he does Misty will be MAD at me.  I mean MAD.  But then at the end when it was really down to Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch and points. So every car passed was a point- it was KILLING ME. I usually always watch Tony’s hot pass because I like to hear what is going on in the car…but I didn’t have his hot pass channel up for more than 15 minutes when I decided not hearing the national broadcast (I don’t understand why sometimes hot pass plays the national broadcast and sometimes they play MRN) was killing me and I went back to the National Broadcast so I could see WHAT IS GOING ON NOW?!?

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 8, 2012 in Richmond, Virginia.
(Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images North America)

At one point it looked like Tony (who I think was running fourth or fifth at the time) would pass Jeff Gordon- who was in the middle of an incredible comeback and moving up through the field like gangbusters digging for every position (and point) possible between him and Kyle Busch all I could think was DAMN Tony – as much as I would LOVE for you to win- if it’s you putting Jeff Gordon down a point in the chase with a pass- well it will make things kind of awkward between Misty and I.  But I didn’t need to worry- as Jeff Gordon finished 2nd (and was hunting down race winner Clint Bowyer).  Tony finished 4th.  WHOOO HOO considering how the weekend started for the 14 crew! Tony is currently seeded 3rd (actually tied for second with Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson) going into the chase.

I did feel bad for Kyle after the race. They showed him sitting all dejected in his car with Coach Gibbs talking to him- and then when he spoke later- you could hear the disappointment in his voice during his short post-race interview. The whole time it was playing all I could think of was THE AGONY OF DEFEAT.

So now the real fingernail biting the chase starts!

I love this photo:

Kasey Kahne and Jeff Gordon celebrate their Chase berths.

(R) Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Quaker State Chevrolet, and Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, celebrate after qualfying for the Chase for the Sprint Cup after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 8, 2012 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

The 2012 Chase for the Sprint Cup Class:

(Top L-R) Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge, Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota, Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevrolet, Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet (bottom L-R) Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 3M/Owens & Minor Ford, Kevin Harvick, driver of the #29 Budweiser Chevrolet, Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Quaker State Chevrolet, Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour Energy Toyota, Matt Kenseth, driver of the #17 Best Buy Ford, pose after qualifying for the Chase for the Cup after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 8, 2012 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)

First Chase Race: Chicago.

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