If you want drama, the AAA Texas 500 certainly had it. In a season where NASCAR decided to take off the reins, who would have predicted what would happen in just 500 miles.
So many different things happened in this race, it's hard to sum it up.
The big story today wasn't what happened on the track, but certainly led to it. The odd wreck between Jeff Gordon and Jeff Burton certainly was not expected. But, what happened next is something that has not been seen in the sport for years.
Gordon walked away from his car, met Burton on the apron of the back stretch...and the fight was on. The fans were going insane seeing two of the most respected drivers in the garage duke it out.
As if that wasn't enough, the picks made by our writers had drama all their own.
Let's start with the two popular picks, the Busch brothers. Kurt had a bad day right from the drop of the green, as he fell back as if a parachute was attached to the car.
He got into the wall a few times, destroying the handling on his No. 2 Dodge, eventually finishing 24th.
Unfortunately, he had the better day of the two Busch's.
Younger brother Kyle was running strong until contact with Aric Almirola caused him to spin out in the first turn. But, it was on pit road where the drama picked up. After the pit stop to put on new tires, Kyle beat the pace car off pit lane, but got caught speeding in trying to beat the pace car.
Because of the reasoning behind speeding, he would be held a lap. Unfortunately, he wasn't done yet.
On pit road, and on live television, he shows his displeasure with the NASCAR official by saying "You're No. 1" with his left hand. After leaving pit lane and right when the green flag came out, he was forced to pit road for another two lap penalty for "unsportsmanlike conduct."
In other words, a lot of cursing out NASCAR caused him to be penalized.
And yet with all that drama, we had a shake-up in the points as well. Entering the day, Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick all had a shot at leaving Texas with the points lead. At the end of the day, one man made that a reality.
It wasn't Harvick, despite his best efforts, as he would manage a sixth-place finish after running his way to the front on great pit stops by his No. 29 team.
It wasn't Johnson either, who also added to the Gordon-Burton drama. After struggling on pit road with bad pit stops, Johnson's team was "replaced" by the No. 24 team after Gordon retired following his accident. The No. 48 team then packed up the DuPont pit box, almost as if they were being punished. Some reports began swirling that a few team members actually packed up and left the track.
Despite all the behind-the-scenes fiascos surrounding Johnson, he finished ninth. Unfortunately, the third player in the Chase had a guarantee to live up to.
Hamlin's crew chief, Mike Ford, started the day by saying, "We will win this race." Despite starting 30th, Hamlin slowly made his way through the field. He would lead one lap in the middle of the race, but made his impact late when he took the top spot with 29 laps to go.
A late battle with Matt Kenseth following the final caution led to a dramatic battle; one that Hamlin would triumph. Hamlin took the checkered flag, winning the AAA Texas 500, his eighth of the season.
Only one creature picked Hamlin to win, which has shook up the points in our creature standings. Here's how they shape up following Sunday's race:
Dustin Parks (6,276) Denny Hamlin WON (6)
Rob Tiongson (6,236) Kyle Busch finished 32nd (3)
Christopher Leone (6,114) Tony Stewart finished 11th (5)
Misan Ayuka (6,081) Kyle Busch finished 32nd (4)
James Broomhead (6,071) Kevin Harvick finished sixth (4)
Alan Wade (6,070) Mark Martin finished third (3)
Kara Martin (6,053) Kurt Busch finished 24th (3)
Billy Fellin (5,991) Kurt Busch finished 24th (5)
Kyle Brandt (5,727) NO PICK SENT (2)
NEXT RACE: It seems as though it has come down to a race between two writers, but anything is possible. Just two races remain in the 2010 season, and the next race is shaping up to be a great one.
From the high banks of Texas, to the dog leg of Phoenix, NASCAR heads west to the "Jewel of the Desert."
Creatures, the season is coming to a close, but everything is up for grabs. Please have your picks sent in by 7 p.m. this Thursday, Nov. 11, for the Kobalt Tools 500.