Just about the last two remaining motorsport championships of 2010 will be decided this weekend and only one will be available on live TV and then only if you get TSN2.
The televised event, of course, will be the Grand Finale of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase for the Championship from Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday at 1 p.m. Three drivers are in contention for the title — four-time title holder and defending champion Jimmie Johnson, and Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick, both of whom are hoping to win their first.
As was the case in Formula One last weekend, there are all sorts of scenarios in play so far as who can win the championship and how. I think it’s pretty safe to say, however, that the winner of the NASCAR championship is going to have to win that race, just as Sebastien Vettel did in F1 at Abu Dhabi.
And who might that be?
Well, as of today, Hamlin — who leads Johnson by 15 points and Harvick by 46 — has done more winning this season than the other two. He’s taken eight checkered flags to Johnson’s six and Harvick’s three. As it’s the end of the road, and points going forward don’t matter, Hamlin would look to be in a better position because of his winning record.
But Hamlin has never been this close to the title before. He’ll be feeling the pressure, for sure, and Johnson, in particular, has taken great pleasure this week in needling his opponent about his lack of experience in this area.
Harvick could win the title but he has to win the race as well as the bonus points for leading the most laps and hope that the other two melt down totally for that to happen.
It probably won’t. I think the championship is really down to two drivers, Hamlin and Johnson, and I won’t be surprised at all if Johnson wins his fifth title.
He’s a marvelous driver who’s been there before — the last four times, to be exact. And his crew chief, Chad Knaus, is a ruthless businessman who does what has to be done to ensure his driver has all the tools necessary to be successful — witness his “firing” of Johnson’s crew in mid-race two weeks ago and the elevation of Jeff Gordon’s crew to service Johnson’s No. 48 car, a decision since made permanent.
It will be a nail-biter to the end on Sunday. Some say the Chase could go down to the last lap.
Oh, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the Nationwide Series both close out their seasons at Homestead-Miami too, with the truck race available tonight at 8 on Speed Channel and the Nationwide race tomorrow at 4 on — yep — TSN2.
Meantime, at Bancroft this weekend, the 2010 Canadian Rally Championship season will come to an end with the annual running of the Rally of the Tall Pines and it will be another nail-biter with two teams going into the final separated by just two points.
The leading team is the duo of Antoine L’Estage and co-driver Nathalie Richard of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que. Two points behind are Richard’s brother, Patrick, of Mission, B.C., and Alan Ockwell of Toronto. Whichever team wins this rally will win the championship.
There’s more at stake for L’Estage and Nathalie Richard, however. If they win the Canadian title, they will have won the Triple Crown of North American rallying – the Canadian national title as well as the Rally America series and the North American Rally Cup.
They are the most successful team in the history of Canadian rally racing. He has won three North American championships, two Canadian championships, an American title and 24 overall victories in Canada and the U.S. His parther Nathalie Richard holds five overall national championships (Canada and the U.S.) and has won 30 rallies on both sides of the border. She clinched her sixth North American title in seven years in September.
The rally tomorrow (Saturday) will be the longest of the six-event national championship. Starting at 9 a.m., competitors will be on the road for 13 hours and cover 488 kms with 188 scrambled over 15 speed stages.
Want to watch in person? Bancroft is located in eastern Ontario, about mid-way between Peterborough and Pembroke and is about a 4-hour drive from Toronto.
The rally will be on TV at some point in the future. However, if you can’t drive to Bancroft tomorrow and still want to follow the rally, go to flatovercrest.com for live updates.