Did Kasey Kahne's championship chances end on the 252nd lap of the second race of the Chase?
Kahne went spinning off of turn four and crashed into the inside wall of the frontstretch Sunday at New Hampshire while trying to pass Brian Vickers. With the way that Kahne's wheel was angled when he hit the wall, the steering was broken on impact. As he tried to get the car going with what resembled a celebratory burnout, the car wasn't budging. It was stuck.
After it was towed to the garage, Kahne was able to get back in the car, but finished 37th. He's now 13th in the Chase standings, 71 points out of the lead. Yes, it's too early to say that his Chase is completely over, but we'd be looking at a run greater than Tony Stewart's five wins in 10 races in 2011 to get it done.
And with the way that Matt Kenseth has run over the first two races of the Chase, a fair number of drivers could be out of it as well. Six drivers, starting with Kurt Busch, are 40 or more points behind Kenseth in the standings. Last year, 11 of the 12 Chase drivers were within 35 points of leader after New Hampshire. Are we setting up for a not so frantic run to the championship?