Your Driver's not in the Chase? What now?

2009 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint CupBeyond the News with Katy Lindamood: The field for the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase for the Championship has been set so what now? If you are a fan of one of those 12 drivers you do a victory dance and strap on your helmets for another 10 exciting weeks of action. With Mark Martin now leading the points, Juan Montoya getting his first Chase spot, and Kurt Busch rebounding from a dismal 2008 there’s no telling how it will all unfold. I’ve got a feeling this year it’s gonna be closer than ever and that excites me!

If your driver made it Congratulations! Keep cheering him on. He deserves it.

But, what if your driver didn’t make the Chase? What if you’ve been pulling for one guy all season long and now you know he won’t finish higher than 13th in the points? What if despite your efforts you couldn’t will him to drive faster for just a few more laps? What happens now?

The first thing you do is get mad. Yell and scream at the tv if you must. Curse NASCAR and their silly points system that rewards consistency over wins. Blame it on another driver who didn’t win but somehow managed to eke by. Threaten not to watch another race this season.

Got that out of your system yet?

Good! Now suck it up and focus people. We’ve still got 10 races left.

You’re driver didn’t make the chase but that doesn’t mean you should forget about him. Regardless of how he finished he’s out there every weekend putting it all on the line doing something he loves. How many of us can say that about our jobs? No, he won’t be taking home that shinny Sprint Cup trophy and he won’t get to be on stage at the awards banquet, but the fact that he’s one of only 43 drivers who get the chance to race every weekend means he must be doing something right.

Maybe he will surprise everyone and pull off that victory we’ve all been waiting for this season. Maybe he’ll learn some things that will help in 2010. Maybe he’s a guy without a ride for next year who’s hoping against the odds to get some attention and prove he’s got what it takes. Maybe that driver you love so much is a rookie who proved his ability by winning a race during his first full season. It doesn’t matter what his last name is, who he drives for, or how many years he’s been driving. If he’s your driver then he’s your driver no matter where he finishes in the points.

As for the Chase contenders, find someone you think deserves the title and become his biggest fan. Cheer for the drive who’s come back from semi-retirement to dominate in the wins column. Cheer for the underdog who has only been racing in NASCAR for 3 years. Put your support behind a brand new team that’s got 2 drivers in the Chase. Cheer for the driver who raced his way in by only 8 points. Pop open a beer and send up a toast to a former champion who everyone had thought lost his spark or the kid who put Petty back in victory lane. Sing the praises of a driver whos been consistent all season long and his teammate who raced despite a broken foot. Don’t count out the guy who won at his home track or who cried in victory lane after an emotional win. Become a fan of the guys who have seven championships between them and aren’t going to be happy until they have another.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that there’s someone in that top 12 for everyone. He might not be your ultimate driver but that doesn’t make him any less deserving of your support.

Remember that it wasn’t one race that left your boy outside the Chase but a combination of all the races. Between the 12 drivers competing for the cup there are 10 Sprint/Nextel/Winston Cups, 3 Busch/Nationwide Championships, one Craftsman/Camping World Truck Series Championship, and an IndyCar Championship. Don’t tell me they don’t have the credentials or the talent to be in the top 12 because they do.

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The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and not this website.

Katy Lindamood is a freelance writer, blogger, and self proclaimed NASCAR addict who had a little melt down when her driver didn’t make the Chase. Beyond the News is an opinion based column devoted to NASCAR fans. Katy co-authors The Biff Files and acts as the Kyle Busch Examiner for Examiner.com. Katy can be contacted via Twitter.

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