After winning his second playoff race, Larson locked in his spot in the Championship race after holding back a Christopher Bell, who, if given just one more lap, could have found his way to Victory Lane. I try not to be a hater, but I get so disappointed when Larson or another Hendrick driver wins. I try to admire greatness, but I'm just bitter and becoming a grumpy old man.
I like seeing someone new and unexpected win, like Chris Buescher. I wanted to see him make more noise in the playoffs after winning three of the last five races in the regular season. I also wasn't a fan of RFK Racing at the start of this season because I didn't like Brad Keselowski, but I eventually came around and appreciate what they are doing over there. Regardless of who is winning, although I'm not a fan of Hendrick won races, as long as Ty Gibbs isn't showing his stupid little face in Victory Lane, I'm happy.
Stenhouse did not have a good day in Las Vegas, although he did finish in a better position than he started in. Stenhouse started in 30th and finished in 25th. Although it was not the best day for the JTG Daugherty #47 Camaro, the car did look fantastic. Drumstick is one of my favorite sponsors for Stenhouse, and the Drumstick scheme is the best that JTGD has put out this season.
Speaking of schemes, there is one thing that NASCAR does better than any other sport on planet Earth: giving fans a strong sense of nostalgia. Stewart-Haas has done as good of a job as you could have asked for giving Kevin Harvick his ride off into the sunset. Bringing back the #29 Busch Light car for the All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro was the peak of throwback schemes, but the Budweiser scheme Stewart-Haas is bringing back to Homestead for Harvick is a close second.
Heading into Homestead, Larson has his spot in the Championship locked in. William Byron, Martin Truex, and Denny Hamlin are above the cut line, and Christopher Bell, Tyler Reddick, Ryan Blaney, and Chris Buescher sit below the cut line. In my perfect world, the Championship Four would all be drivers from different teams, but the odds of that happening are slim to none. Byron will find his way in and sits comfortably above the cut line by nine points. Joe Gibbs Racing has three drivers still in the running, with Truex and Hamlin currently above the cut line. I am a betting man, and I would bet on us to have a Hendrick vs. Hendrick vs. JGR vs. JGR Championship in Phoenix.
Speaking of the Championship hosted in Phoenix, after the 2024 schedule release, the vast majority of fans are not happy about the Championship going back to Phoenix, and I am right there with this evident majority. Phoenix is an oddly shaped oval that causes a more significant skill gap between drivers. I'm okay with the Championship Race being at tracks that generate a considerable skill gap, but change it up. I'm tired of Phoenix, and after this year's backlash, I think in 2025, NASCAR will change things up. Bring it back to Homestead for a season, then start changing where the Championship race will be every year or every other year.