And you can bet that said whining is going to be pouring on heavily over the last three weeks of the NASCAR season from all sides of the catchfence as Johnson looks to wrap up his third-straight title before the season finale in Homestead, Fla.
Edwards, who trails Johnson by an astounding 183 points after seven races, has suffered two bad races in the Chase -- a crash at Talladega and electrical problems at Lowe's Motor Speedway. And because of that, he and team owner Roush have started a lobby for a new Chase format.
"[...] that's what we want to go back and [remember] about 2008 - think about our championship run and what it meant," Roush said. "But, unfortunately, I think it will come down to thinking about the broken engine parts, the ignition and the other frustrations we've had, but it would be my suggestion as NASCAR looks at how to make this [Chase] more exciting, [that] every team had an opportunity to throw out one race and be able to just count nine of the 10.
"That means you could have a mulligan, and you could be able to come back from it."
What about that makes you a more legitmate NASCAR champion than the current format that shortchanges past Winston Cup champions?
By Roush's logic, and Edwards' agreement, Johnson's incredible point lead and overall flawlessness shouldn't be what Chase-eligible teams strive for in the Chase. Instead, a guy who hasn't finished on the lead lap in two of the races should be within striking distance of a guy who hasn't finished worse than 9th.
Frankly, adding more loops and sideshows into the Chase format is only turning NASCAR into a over-promoted Saturday night short track series, sans a figure-eight track -- though who's to say that's not a possibility.
I get Roush's and Edwards' frustration on how close and how good they've been. But come on, do we really need to penalize a dominant driver in NASCAR?
It doesn't happen in other sports. Monday night, the Philadelphia Phillies won't be putting eight players on the field simply because they have a three games to one lead in the World Series. The Indianapolis Colts, also playing Monday night, won't get the advantage of another player or more timeouts because the Tennessee Titans have a better record.
In both situations, teams will be competeing head to head, no matter what's on the line.
We've already had enough of a sideshow -- also known as the Chase -- forced into the NASCAR world for what I deem to be artificial hype and entertainment. Just ask Kyle Busch (this year) and Jeff Gordon (2007) what it feels like to have a monstorous lead pulled from under your feet in the point standings just to make things more interesting.
Is that something we really need more of? In my book, no way.
Carl Edwards and Jack Roush Kick Off Chase-Related Whining originally appeared on NASCAR FanHouse on 2008-10-27T13:47:00+00:00. Please see our terms for use of feeds.