Monday, November 16, 2015

Finally four

And now we interrupt a hobbled Peyton Manning hobbling sadly to the bench ... and the Lions taking us back to the days of George Bush the First ... and the New York Football Giants letting the New England Patriots off the hook with several stellar acts of charity.

We interrupt all of that to bring you four names.

 Harvick. Truex. Busch. Gordon.

That's your Final Four in the NASCAR Chase, which, yes, is still going on. There's one race left, at Homestead (Fla.) next week. One of the four names above is going to win the Cup.

Sentiment wants Jeff Gordon, because there is nothing history loves so much as symmetry, and there would be nothing more perfectly symmetrical, history-wise, than for Gordon to win his fifth NASCAR Cup title in the last race of his illustrious career.

Sentiment wants Gordon, and storytellers want Truex. In 12 years as a Cup driver, he's never finished higher than 11th in the standings. He's won only three times in 368 starts. He's stood by his girlfriend the last two years as she's battled ovarian cancer. And he drives not for Penske or Rick Hendrick or Joe Gibbs or Jack Roush, but for a one-car team out of Denver.

He is, in short, the ultimate underdog. Which means if he wins, the story writes itself.

Unfortunately I don't think he's going to win. Gordon, either.

The smart money says it'll be Harvick, the defending champion, because he's dominated all season and he's done it before. My money, though, is on Busch.

Yeah, he's a brat. Yeah, nobody likes him. But if I had to pick one guy to win one race, it would be him. No one in NASCAR turns a wheel the way he does. And no one runs at a checkered flag the way he does.

So: Busch it is.

But I'll be rooting for Gordon. Or Truex.

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