Oh, you thought you knew how the playoff picture was gonna shake out in a few short weeks?
Well, Christopher Bell would like you to hold on for just one second!
Bell picked a doozy of a time to score his second career win, passing Chase Elliott late Sunday at New Hampshire to vault into the Cup playoffs.
Along the way he knocked some guy named Kevin Harvick below the playoff cutline, and made other folks — like Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Blaney — sweat just a little bit (OK, a lot of bit).
Way to go, Chris!
“Man, that one was much needed right there,” Bell said. “I’ll tell you what, that was a hell of a race from my viewpoint.”
You know what? He’s right. For New Hampshire — a track I’ve been very critical of — that was a decent automobile race!
JUNIOR GOES COMMERCIAL:Dale Earnhardt Jr. hates flying, Bill Elliott won’t age and Castroneves jumps to NASCAR?
Martin Truex Jr.: ‘We screwed it up’
OK… back to those pesky playoff standings.
Bell’s win knocked Harvick below the cutline, and not just on the edge, either. He’s a full 68 points back of Truex with six races left in the regular season.
Speaking of Martin … man, what could have been.
Truex dominated the first two stages, starting on the pole and leading damn near every lap. The fellas over at the No. 19 pit stall chose to put two tires on instead of four during a Stage 3 stop, and MTJ was never seen or heard from again.
He finished fourth despite leading 172 laps.
“We just screwed it up,” said Truex, who now sits in a delicate spot for the stretch run. “It’s frustrating and disappointing, but congrats to the 20 (Bell). Obviously, they were smarter than we were at the end.”
‘Idiot’ Ty Dillon takes out Alex Bowman
Speaking of precarious positions in the standings with six races to go …
Alex Bowman, how we feeling?!
“We qualified bad and you’re just back there with a bunch of people you don’t wanna be around.”
Bowman, of course, was referring to Ty Dillon after he was caught up in Dillon and Justin Haley’s wreck just a few lapses into the race.
Bowman finished second-to-last, has finished 30th or worse in three of the past four races, and hasn’t finished inside the top-10 since Kansas … on May 15!
Dillon, by the way, announced earlier this week that he wouldn’t be returning to Petty GMS next season.
Don’t take my word for it, though.
“(Expletive) gets fired, he’s looking for a ride and he drives like an idiot,” Bowman’s No. 48 team radioed to him after the wreck.
Austin Dillon slams into Keselowski on bail
The Bowman-Dillon incident was cute and all, but it had nothing on the Austin Dillon-Brad Keselowski mayhem.
And, frankly, I think we’re all still trying to figure out what Austin was so upset about.
“Hot in the cars and we all let our tempers get the best of us,” Kez said. “I will talk to him privately. I don’t need to be a jerk over the media.”
For those who need a refresher …
During a caution midway through the race, Dillon basically headhunted Keselowski and rammed the nose of his car into the drivers-side door. Keselowski was quick to respond, hanging a hard left, following Dillon down the track, and nearly punting him into the grass.
Kez was caught off guard, the folks in the NBC booth couldn’t figure it out, and everybody just sort of went on their way.
I’m sure Austin is looking forward to Brad’s call, though!
“No, I don’t talk to him,” Dillon said. “I just don’t like the way certain people race me.”
NASCAR goes to Pocono…but not all of us make the trip
So, now we head to Pocono…
Well, not all of us.
This will be my final NASCAR page for the Daytona Beach News-Journal and Gannett.
For those of you who read me in the print newspaper (and God Bless you folks that still do!), this is probably goodbye. For those of you who read me on the interwebgood news: You can still do that … just at a different location.
I’m sure it’s not company protocol to talk about where I’m going (and I’m nothing if not obedient!), so I wont do that right now.
On a totally unrelated note … I hear googling Zach Dean NASCAR and clicking on the twitter link does wonders for finding my latest content.
Anyway…thanks for reading. Thanks for your input, questions and angry emails. I hope you’ve enjoyed this weekly ride as much as I have.