This is the 6th year of the NASCAR's "Chase For The Championship", the playoff system of sorts designed to prevent anyone form running away the title. In the past efw years, this move hasn't seemed like a big deal, as Jimmie Johnson tends to flat out dominate down the stretch. This year however, things are bit different. There's a bunch of drivers with a good shot title, any of who would create an excellent story for NASCAR.
Let's start with Smoke, who has been the most consistent, and at times, downright scary driver on the track this year. If he were to win the Sprint Cup in his first year as a driver-owner it would be an amazing accomplishment, and prove that, love him or hate him, Tony Stewart is one of the most brilliant drivers on the track. The people who have bashed him the last ten years would have to respect him if he pulled this off.
Now, onto the fan favorite. Afetr winning 4 of the first 19 races, Mark Martin has proven that he is a very legitimate threat. Moving to Hendrick has proven to be a genius move for Mark as he once again he the equipment to run with the best. the only thing standing in Mark's way is bad luck. He got off to a bad start with a few engine failures, and getting caught in a few wrecks that weren't his fault. As a result, he sits 11th in the standings with a birth in the Chase not exactly a guarantee. That being said, he's determined enough that he should make it, and if he does, there's no reason to think he can't be in the running for a title when November comes along.
Jeff Gordon has put last year's stunning winless effort behind, and reclaimed his position as a driver to fear in NASCAR. He has been incredibly consistent this season, and even though he only has one win, a strong second half is not out of the question. Gordon could easily rack up a few more victories before season's end, and with all his experience, it'd be insane to think he couldn't take home a 5th title.
With his daredevil racing style, and arrogant attiude, Kyle Busch has become NASCAR's Greatest Villain. It's a cliche, but people love to hate him, and winning a title would only frustrate those people more. In a sport like NASCAR, not everybody can eb a hero. Someone has to be the bad guy, and Kyle has the talent and personality to occupy that role nicely. Last year, he struggled in the chase, but if he can put that behind him and race like the madman he usually is, he's certainly a contedner to take the title, and leave the fans good and angry going into the off-season.
Admittedly, I'm getting a bit sick of Jimmie's dominance, but still, if someone actually maged to win 4 titles in a row it would be pretty cool. And Jimmie could easily do it. He's showed absolutely no signs of decline this season, and he tends to do even better once the Chase rolls around. A lot of fans would like to think Jimmie couldn't possibly win it again, but let's face it, a driver of Jimmie's caliber should always be one of the favorites. And if he can pull off a little history, I'll be happy for him.
If any of these drivers were to win the Sprint Cup, it would be a big story. And at this point in the year, they all have a great shot at it. This year's chase should be highly competitive and full of drama. In another words, just what NASCAR needs.