As the wheel turns is an irregular publication that tries to answer questions, solve conundrums and extricate quagmires occurring on race day and throughout the racing community.
While I try to cover all the bizarre strategies by drivers or crew, and sometimes aberrant decisions by NASCAR, there are times when one event may take up the main focus of an article.
The bye week is over and were back to racing at Atlanta. The long break has given teams time to rest, evaluate and prepare for the final 12-race push. Teams will have much less than normal turn around time this week because of racing on Sunday night, and then next week at Richmond on Saturday night.
Keselowski is in for the next three years at Penske Racing, and Labonte has been booted from his Hall of Fame Racing ride for the majority of the remaining races.
Keselowski is a no brainer, but how do you remove a class act and former champion like Labonte in favor of a less than qualified rookie.
Lets log onto ASK.com and see what they have for an answer.
Speaking of boots, Roush-Fenway Racing announced that Carl Edwards has also been booted.
Edwards was fitted with a fiberglass boot on his right foot after he broke it playing Frisbee at his home in Missouri.
Edwards, sitting fifth in the points standings, is in Atlanta and has been cleared to race both races this weekend. This situation could have a huge impact on Edwards the next two races. Jack Roush would certainly have a relief driver standing by for Edwards just in case. Is the duck available?
As long as Edwards starts the race, he will accumulate any points earned during the race. Atlanta shouldn’t be so bad, but navigation of Richmond requires more foot work.
Kyle Busch and Mark Martin are tied with most wins this season at four. Busch is still on the outside of the chase sitting in 13th. Martin is holding down the 10th spot, but has only a 26 point cushion.
Atlanta has not been kind to either Busch or Martin. Their respective finishing averages are 18.2 and 17.2.
A very interesting situation could be shaping up for NASCAR. It is possible that one or both drivers with the most wins this season will not be eligible for the chase.
Those at the top of the standings might be hoping for just that scenario. If Martin or Busch, or both, make the chase, they will go from the bottom to the top when racing starts off at New Hampshire.
While both drivers could be dangerous sitting at the top of the standings, all eyes should be on Busch. Last year Busch felt he was owed a championship. This year his attitude seems a little different and he looks like he’s working harder at earning the champions trophy.
It’s very doubtful Busch would squander a second chance at NASCAR’s most coveted prize.