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The Pit Stop


May 25, 2007 12:23 AM

What If This Were To Happen ...

Let me set the stage for you:

After the last race of the pre-chase season is over the final 12 Chasers for the NEXTEL Cup are set and Dale Jr has pulled it off and made the Chase in the 12th and final spot, while Mark Martin is out of the Chase because he didn't run a full schedule but is still 13th in driver points.

Good for Jr, bad for Mark. Bad for Teresa Earnhardt, good for Bobby Ginn. Why? Let me explain:

Based on this scenero Mark Martin's car owner, Bobby Ginn, will be racing for an Owner's Championship and Dale Jr's owner, Teresa Earnhardt, will not. Why? Well, the car Mark Martin drives will finish higher in Owner Points than Dale Jr's car because the #01 car will have been in every race even though Mark will have not, due to the fact that when Mark isn't in the car on a certain weekend someone else is there in his place.

If this scenero plays out we could potentially have Dale Jr win a Driver's Championship before he leaves DEI and DEI will still be without an Owner's Championship. Dale Jr, the Champion, will leave DEI who will still be Championship-less.

On the flip-side of this we could potentially have Mark Martin be the driver to win Ginn Racing an Owner's Championship and not even win the Driver's Championship for himself. He could leave Ginn Racing at the end of the season without having ever won a Championship, while at the same time leaving Ginn Racing with their first ever Championship.

How ironic is both of these situations? Really.

Don't believe me that this could happen? Look at the current driver point standings verses the current owner point standings. Do you see it? Dale Jr and Mark Martin are sitting 14th and 15th respectively in the Driver's Points, while DEI is 15th and Ginn Racing is 6th in Owner Points. NASCAR treats each point lists as seperate entities so there really are two Championships going on at the same time.

Not since 1963 has there been a driver winning the Driver's Championship while a different car owner won the Owner's Championship. Joe Weatherly drove the #8 Mercury and won the Driver's Championship, while the #21 Wood Bros Ford, with multiple drivers, won the Owner's Championship. This situation also happened in 1954 where car owner Herb Thomas accumulated 12 wins and won the Owner's Championship with multiple drivers behind the wheel of his Hudson while Lee Petty accumulated 7 wins and won the Driver's Championship driving the Petty Enterprises Chrysler.

This is going to be an interesting thing to watch over the upcoming summer months, especially if it plays out the way I've laid it out here. Either way though, if Ginn Racing keeps that #01 car in the top 12 of the Owner Points then whoever finishes 12th in the driver points is going to be racing for a Driver's Championship only, and their car owner is going to SOL (Sitting Out Lamenting - what did you think I meant?).

Photo Credits: Mark Martin - motorsport.com (Action Sports Photography) and Dale Jr - AP Photo/Terry Renna

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