There's an old saying that "It's not over until it's over." That was certainly the case today at the Auto Club Speedway.
If shortening the race by 100 miles was to make the event more exciting, they certainly did that. It's a shame California is losing a race next year, but we all saw this coming. However, if the schedule makes their lone race in 2011 just 400 miles, this will certainly help fans come to the track.
Today was definitely not a good day for any driver in the Roush-Fenway stable. All four drivers had a rough day.
Last week's winner, Greg Biffle, went out early with a blown motor, finishing 41st. Carl Edwards then has ignition troubles, putting him behind the wall for several laps, and finishing 34th.
Matt Kenseth then blew his motor on the final restart, and then David Ragan gets into an accident with Kurt Busch. The Ford camp did not have a good day.
Meanwhile, another guy that made a lot of noise early was Kyle Busch. That is until his motor blew up on him as well. A 35th-place finish puts him way down in the standings, and now in his eyes, the Chase is all but over.
The poor finishes of Busch and Edwards dropped a few of our creatures back in the standings, but others made big gains. Seven of our nine writers picked a driver finishing in the Top-10.
The popular pick this week was Jimmie Johnson, and he almost pulled off a win as he came close to the front late in the going. But, a battle with Clint Bowyer for second cut his momentum. Still, a third-place finish was a great points day for the No. 48 as he extends his points lead by another 28 points.
But, our big winner today was Tony Stewart. The No. 14 team really worked on the car and got it handling very well. Darian Grubb certainly made the right calls, and Stewart did the rest.
It was Stewart's first win at the Auto Club Speedway, the home track of Gene Haas. It was also the correct pick by one of our writers.
The variety of picks this week shook up the standings, and actually allowed a few writers to break away from the pack. Much like the Chase standings, the Top-five have a bigger gap to make up. Here is how our writers stack up following the Pepsi Max 400:
Dustin Parks (5,730) Jimmie Johnson finished third (5)
Rob Tiongson (5,705) Jimmie Johnson finished third (2)
James Broomhead (5,646) Kasey Kahne finished fourth (4)
Christopher Leone (5,628) Kyle Busch finished 35th (5)
Alan Wade (5,581) Carl Edwards finished 34th (2)
Misan Ayuka (5,556) Kevin Harvick finished seventh (2)
Kyle Brandt (5,552) Jimmie Johnson finished third (2)
Kara Martin (5,526) Denny Hamlin finished eighth (3)
Billy Fellin (5,486) Tony Stewart WON (4)
NEXT RACE: There is not much time to relax this week as NASCAR will be making a quick turnaround. The big advantage is next week, NASCAR heads home.
Yes, next on the schedule in the 2010 Chase for the Sprint Cup is the Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, NC. Many teams are in their back yard and are looking to impress the team owners at the mecca of NASCAR.
Plus, with the new class of Hall of Fame inductees to be announced this week, it will make for a very special weekend for everyone involved in the sport.
Not to mention this is the final night race of the season, and who doesn't enjoy NASCAR under the lights?
Creatures, it's a short week with the race happening on Saturday night, but the deadline does not change. Please have your picks for the Bank of America 500 sent in by Thursday, October 14, at 7 p.m. ET.