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Ken de la Bastide column: NASCAR dodges a bullet at Richmond | Columns

NASCAR dodged a huge bullet and controversy when there wasn’t a new winner at the Richmond race which was the last for the setting of the Chase field.

The incident took place when for some unexplainable reason an ambulance appeared on the race track and stopped at the commitment line for drivers wanting to pit during a caution period.

What resulted was Matt Kenseth hitting the back of Clint Bowyer’s slowing car. Damage to Kenseth’s Toyota knocked him out of the race and the damage to Bowyer’s car took him out of contention.

Bowyer was one of the driver’s that needed a Richmond win to claim a Chase spot.

Entering the Richmond race Kenseth had a Chase position based on points. Had Joey Logano won the Richmond race he would have made the Chase field and Kenseth would be on the outside looking in.

Logano needed a Richmond win to qualify for the playoffs and finished second which ended any championship hopes.

Obviously there was a lack of communication among NASCAR officials which dispatched the ambulance onto the track for a caution involving the spin of Danica Patrick, but there was no wall contact.

Had there been a new 2017 winner at Richmond it would have required NASCAR to make a decision. Leave Kenseth out of the Chase or add him as a 17th driver contending for the championship.

I hope that had that scenario played out that NASCAR would have included Kenseth in the Chase field.

Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Larson enter the Chase as the two hottest drivers in the field, both with four wins this year.

Although they are serious contenders for a first championship I believe the schedule in the first round with races at Chicagoland, New Hampshire and Dover favors seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson.

The sleeper in the field is Kevin Harvick.

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