Sometimes, it feels like sports are scripted. We’ve all seen it, the ‘good guy’ gets down and all hope for them seems lost. However, after we’ve already come to terms with defeat, they manage a buzzer-beater to win as the clock expires, or the opposing team just completely falls apart and defeats themselves. That’s the feeling I got after watching last Sunday’s Monster Energy Cup Series race at Kansas.
Chase Elliott, arguably the face NASCAR, found himself in a tight points battle against Brad Keselowski for the final playoff spot heading into the Round of 8.
Elliott, who was having a pretty good day at the track, found himself trailing Keselowski by just a few points. As the race was winding down, however, it looked like Elliott needed to win to advance to the next round. Elliott didn’t have the car to beat Sunday, but he managed to keep things competitive throughout the race.
A late caution forced the race to move to overtime. Elliott, who restarted second, quickly fell to third, but a wreck coming off of turn four brought out another caution, and sent the race into a second overtime.
Elliott moved back into second on the next restart, but he never had the opportunity to move move into first, and finished second behind Denny Hamlim. However, all was not lost.
Keselowski had a terrible restart, and ended up hitting the wall, causing him to fall back six positions.
Keselowski and Team Penske are among the best in NASCAR, and it’s almost unimaginable that they could show up to an elimination race and not compete. At the end of the day, however, I don’t believe there was any foul play involved in Elliott advancing or Keselowski’s poor performance. Things happen, and teams have bad days, no matter how good they are.