Finley Factor: In Brad's defense, family tradition, and dwindling Truck fields

This week, we have one top per NASCAR's three national series.

Finley Factor: In Brad's defense, family tradition, and dwindling Truck fields
Brad Keselowski, Team Penske Ford
Post race brawl between the crews of Jeff Gordon and Brad Keselowski
Brad Keselowski, Team Penske Ford
Chase Elliott
Chase Elliott
Chase Elliott
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Start: Erik Jones leads
Johnny Sauter
Cole Custer
Start: Alex Tagliani leads
Eddie Gossage and Bruton Smith

Fighting outside of the cars. The sponsors won’t like it much but it still brings eyes and butts to Phoenix and in a week Homestead. As long as the action doesn’t spill out on the track and it doesn’t reach reality show levels like the Charlotte fiasco did (Matt Kenseth is a secret ninja), I’m fine with it.

You have to go for the hole

Did Brad make a dumb move? No. If it’s a few seconds before the game is over, you’re down by 6, this is the conference championship and you are at the other team’s 30, do you throw the ball or run down the clock? Because if Brad hadn’t of tried to make that work he would of ended up stuck behind either Gordon or Johnson coming out of the turn, and by the time Brad would of gotten ready to try a move, Jimmie would of pulled away over the next lap. Even if a hole didn’t exist (And it did), I’d of done the same.

Family tradition

Petty. Earnhardt. Jarrett. And now Elliott. Chase Elliott is in position to put his family name up there with the greats. All he needs to do to clinch his first NASCAR national series championship is finish ahead of the other Nationwide regulars at Phoenix. Elliott, who is 48 points ahead of teammate Regan Smith in the point’s race, would join his father Bill, the 1988 Cup champion, as the fourth father-son team to win a NASCAR national series championship. Lee and Richard Petty won three and seven Cup championships respectively. Ned and Dale Jarrett are with the Pettys as the only other father-son combination to win Cup championships.

Some NASCAR history in Chase's triumph

The Earnhardt Family remains the only family with three generations of champions. Ralph won the 1956 Sportsman championship, the precursor to today’s Nationwide series. Dale Sr. won seven Cup championships. Dale Jr., who owns Chase’s team, won the 1998 and 1999 Busch series championships for DEI. Assuming that Ralph drove for himself (Most of the Sportsman records are lost to history before 1982), Chase winning the championship would also mean the Earnhardts would be the only family to have three generations of championship winning car owners not only in all national series, but just in the Nationwide series alone, and with three completely separate teams.

Truck field dwindling

The Truck series is not in very good shape. TV ratings remain steady but we still have less and less trucks showing up for these races year to year. In 2014, as of now, only six races have had full 36 truck fields (Eldora also had a full field). In 2010, in the middle of the financial crisis, there were 36 truck fields in all but one race. I feel part of the problem is the continued dominance of Kyle Busch. Since 2010, in 55 races Busch has run, he has won 26 times, near 50% of the races he has entered and more than 20% of the races in total. The prime difference between then and now is that now the trucks are entering racetracks occasionally in the twenty count.

Here’s a simple way to fix that ... Stop having so many companion races with Cup. The Trucks should only race on Daytona, Talladega, Richmond, Bristol, Charlotte, Homestead, and Martinsville among Cup tracks. Only seven times every year should the truck race be a companion race to the Cup series. The other 13 times a season should be held at short tracks around the country, sometimes in conjunction with the Xfinity series.

Part of the blame is on the tracks

The reason for this is because these two and 1.5 mile speedways and the cost associated with running them are slowly killing the Truck series. Charlotte and Homestead should be on the schedule because Charlotte is the center of NASCAR and Homestead should stay as the deciding race for all national series. The six races I mentioned that had full 36 truck fields are Daytona, Talladega, Bristol, Iowa, and both Martinsville races. With the exceptions of Daytona and Talladega, all of these races are short tracks. Why? Because it’s much cheaper to run at one of those instead of a Texas-esque track.

Welp, that’s about it for this week. Go Pack go and up the irons everybody!

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