June 15, 2010
No, it's not November already, and yes, there are 21 races left in the Nationwide Series season. But the championship battle might as well be over at this point.
Brad Keselowski has a 272-point lead over Carl Edwards. Given that it pays 195 points to lead the most laps and win, Keselowski could skip this weekend's race at Road America, stay put in Sonoma sipping wine and still maintain a sizeable lead over Edwards.
While 60 percent of the season may seem like a lot of time remaining, Keselowski's lead is the third-biggest lead at the 14-race mark in the last 10 Nationwide Series seasons. Through 14 races in 2007, Edwards had a 472-point lead over second-place Kevin Harvick. Edwards won that championship by 618 points. In 2006, Harvick had a 297-point lead over Edwards at the 14-race mark, and Harvick went on to win by a whopping 824 points.
Talk of a Chase format for the Nationwide Series has been bandied about, and maybe this offseason is the perfect time to implement it. If Keselowski maintains his current lead over the rest of the season, 2010 will be the fourth time in five years that the Nationwide title will have been decided when the green flag is dropped at Homestead. The 2008 season, when Clint Bowyer beat Edwards by 21 points, is the only time that there's been even a modicum of drama in the last few years.
Personally, I have no problem with anticlimactic championship battles, but it seems to be a bit of a double standard for NASCAR to essentially condemn runaway championships in the Sprint Cup Series while letting them continue in the Nationwide Series. (Of course, you can also point to NASCAR's "crackdown" of start-and-parks in the Cup Series vs. a blind eye in the Nationwide Series, among other things as well.)
Should NASCAR implement a Chase-type format for the Nationwide Series, or should they keep a status quo? Drop us a line in the comments.
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