This week, the Crappafoni Pictures crew is in southern Virginia to bring you this week's heaping helping of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, served with PLENTY of Martinsville Hot Dogs, and washed down with copious amounts of Coca-Cola. Enjoy!
Tony Stewart: he wasn't very good at the start of the race; in fact he was fighting tooth and nail with Denny Hamlin to keep from being lapped when a caution came out. But through a series of pit stops to gain track position and some great pit stops late in the race, he was able to hold off Jimmie Johnson. With the win, he moves to second in the standings, 8 points behind Carl Edwards. Chance to win the championship: VERY GOOD.
Jimmie Johnson: he held the lead on the final restart but was not able to hold off Stewart. He was strong throughout the race, and was pretty much in the top 10 the entire race. Johnson is still 43 points behind Edwards with three races left. He's still mathematically in this, but he's going to need stout runs while the five drivers above him struggle. Chance to win the championship: ALMOST NIL.
Jeff Gordon: like Johnson, he was stout throughout the race. He had a winning car early, but tapered off later in the race when he was in dirty air. He's still 76 points behind leader Edwards. Chance to win the championship: NONE, he's done.
Kevin Harvick: he didn't have a good car early, but props to the 29 crew for making the car better as the race went on. Props also for taking two left-side tires late in the race to get track position and to lead laps. He did a good job of leading for several laps, but got freight trained. He did a good job in gaining a couple of positions in that run. He was able to escape the late race melees to finish fourth and gain five points and two positions in the standings. Chance to win the championship: GOOD, but needs help.
Denny Hamlin: for much of the race, he looked like the Hamlin that dominated Martinsville. He was shuffled back late in the race, but managed to avoid trouble and finish a solid fifth. Chance to win the championship: NONE, he's done. He's almost two races behind with three to go.
Carl Edwards: he's gotta get his props. He battled back from a lap down, was fighting an ill-handling race car all race long, but managed to stay out of trouble. His ninth place finish was huge, as he was able to maintain the points lead going into tracks where he's been historically stout at. A bad finish, and his chances to win the title would have diminished drastically. Chance to win the title: EXCELLENT.
Honorable Mention: Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Martin Truex Jr, and Ryan Newman.
ESPN: the constant lovefest with Edwards was sickening. Not even an interview with Kevin Harvick after the race! Some excuse to do SportsCenter or something like that. SHEESH!
ESPN: see above.
Those are my nominees for the week. Feel free to come in with yours. Last, but not least, my condolences to the Wallace family on the loss of patriarch Russ, who passed away at the age of 77.