No more Mr. Nice Guy.
You won’t hear Chase drivers, particularly those wiped out in Sunday accidents at Kansas Speedway, mouthing vanilla mantras like “I wouldn’t wish misfortune on any of my competitors.”
In fact, rampant misfortune to other Chase drivers is precisely what Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt Jr. are hoping for.
“There is still a lot of racing left,” Johnson said Sunday, standing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage as his team repaired the No. 48 Chevrolet, wrecked in a multicar incident on Lap 85. “Stuff can happen.
“We’ll see how the other Chasers fare. If I can get taken out today, somebody else can later in this event or at Charlotte.”
Johnson’s words proved prophetic. Earnhardt popped a tire and slammed into the Turn 4 wall on Lap 122. Keselowski blew a right front and whacked the Turn 2 wall on Lap 160.
Keselowski likened his misfortune to losing a game of Russian Roulette. To extend the analogy, if other Chase drivers don’t find a bullet in the chamber during the next two races, Keselowski is in serious trouble, along with Earnhardt and Johnson.
For those three drivers, the best-case scenario is to miss a “Big One” at Talladega that gobbles up the rest of the Chase field. Remember 2008, when missing a wreck that collected half the Chasers launched Johnson to his third straight series title?
So if you hear Johnson, Keselowski or Earnhardt say they don’t want to advance because of others’ misfortunes, don’t believe it.
They don’t mean it.