Monday, September 15, 2014

NASCAR’S Billy Horschel Nightmare

NASCAR's Billy Horschel?
NASCAR has a Billy Horschel problem.



Horschel captured the FedEx Cup on Sunday in Atlanta, the Professional Golf Association’s equivalent of NASCAR’s Case, along with the $10 million bonus that goes with it.  The FedEx Cup was born out of an effort by the PGA to give meaning to the final golf tournaments of the season after the last “major” event of the year and the advent of football season.  Sound familiar?  It’s golf’s version of the Chase. 

Three weeks ago Horschel had missed the cut in the opening round of the FedEx Cup and dropped to 82nd in the rankings.  He hadn’t won a tournament all year and had only two top 10 finishes to show for 2014.  Ryder Cup Captain Tom Watson never even considered him for a spot on the team when identifying America’s dozen best golfers. 

Then Horschel got hot, red hot, about as late in the year as possible, winning the final two tournaments of the season and as a result, the FedEx Cup.  In the process he beat Rory McIlroy, everyone’s golfer of the year.  All McIlroy did during the “regular” season was win two of four majors and three straight other big tournaments.  He is the only player to finish in the top 25 in every start for the past two years.

In fairness, McIlroy had his chance.  He was tied with Horschel going into Sunday’s final round.  The season had come down to the final 18 holes for the FedEx Cup.  It was a dream come true for the PGA.  But then the wrong guy won.  Even Horschel left no doubt who he thinks is this year’s best golfer.

"In my mind, he’s (McIlroy) the player of the year,” Horschel said.  “I don’t think there’s anyone who comes close.”

While Horschel was winning in Atlanta, Brad Keselowski was winning in Chicago, his second straight victory and fifth of the season, more than any other driver.  There’s a good chance he’ll win one or two more races before the finale at Homestead.

Yet there’s also a chance Keselowski, and other winners from the NASCAR regular season, could lose the NASCAR championship to someone who doesn’t win a race all year.

Meet Matt Kenseth – NASCAR’s Billy Horschel.

Of course every NASCAR fan knows who Kenseth is.  He won more races than everyone else last year, but has yet to score a victory this season.  Consistent finishes have kept him near the top of the point standings.   And consistent finishes could win him the title this year if everything goes his way, despite NASCAR's emphasis on winning.  Vegas puts his odds at a respectable 12/1.

If Kenseth can parlay a few more consistent finishes into the final race at Homestead, all he has to do is finish ahead of the other in the Final Four.  If he was to finish second to, say, Kyle Larson, with Keselowski (or another finalist) third, Kenseth would be NASCAR’s champion.

Possible?  You bet.

Fair.  No way, and Kenseth would probably be the first to say so.

Of course people won’t be asking “who?” if Kenseth wins the Chase.

But they will be asking “why?”


  1. GREAT Article! As a small time - former Dirt Tracker I have always HATED the idea of a chase. It does not make sense to wipe clean a slate that has consisted of points FIRST - forever. Why would you take away a whole 3/4 of a seasons work and start over? to compete with football? For ratings? - Sorry I do not agree- never have. AJ and Eric A have about same amount of points as Harvick? yeah that makes sense! I am all for wins, and consistency - but NOT a chase (One blown tire say for Gordon or Keselowski should not put them behind a Ryan Newman or AJ or even Matt - since they kicked their tail for 30, 31, 32 other races! Want a chase? Make it a little 3-5 race non-points shootout 50 lapper - or whatever. Or better yet? Pre-select 10 races and DO NOT disclose what they are! Seceret - in the safe , in Frances wallet type deal - then at the END of the year - reveal what the chase races were and award a SEPERATE trophy and points money! - and let the real winner win the Cup (like we did for 53 years or so before the chase). A.Sdao -Mckinney,Tx

  2. even pre chase consistency always beat superior performance (73 parsons & 85 dw)) plus others under nascars way of thinking .that's why as a LONG time fan early 60's(not so much anymore) the championship has been meaningless to me