Rules drain Busch's big lead

DEAN MCNULTY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:55 AM ET

For all you NASCAR fans who -- rightfully so -- unloaded on TSN for moving the Chevy Rock and Roll 300 at Richmond International Raceway to a channel no one gets, take a breath. The first race in the 10-event Chase for the Championship will be shown on the full network on Sunday.

And that race -- the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway -- should be a dandy.

Like many who have come into the Chase before him leading the season's points chart, Kyle Busch is about to get a lesson in NASCAR 101.

All that hard work driving the wheels off the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota amounts to a hill of beans when the green flag falls on Sunday in Loudon.

Going into RIR, Busch held a 208-point bulge atop the leaderboard over the No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford of Carl Edwards, mostly due to a phenomenal eight-win regular season.

But after RIR on Sunday, Busch led Edwards by only 30 points and defending Cup champion Jimmie Johnson by only 40 going into the Chase.

If one were to take a cynical view, it might be suggested that NASCAR took a page out of the National Hockey League playoff plan that pretty much makes what happens in the regular season a joke.

There is a good piece on the ESPN website's Jayski page that compares what would have happened back in the day when Dale Earnhardt was winning many of his seven championships.

Using the existing Chase format, ESPN formulated that the Intimidator would not have won either his 1980 or his 1986 championships.

By the way, for those fans of Darrell Waltrip, the revised stats would have had him winning three Cups between 1980 and 1984.

NASCAR CANADA

The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series takes its show on the road east -- at Nova Scotia's Riverside Speedway -- for the penultimate race of the season Sept 20.

It has been a season dominated by the No. 22 Tow Truck in a Box Dodge of Scott Steckley with four wins, but consistent finishes by six-time champion Don Thompson Jr. in the No. 4 Home Hardware Chevrolet see him just 123 points back with defending series title holder Andrew Ranger 126 points back.

With more than 300 points still to be had at Riverside and the season finale Sept. 27 at Kawartha Speedway, near Peterborough, Ont., it should be an very interesting couple of weeks.

It should be mentioned that when Alex Tagliani jumped back into the Indy Racing League to finish off the season, his seat in the No. 7 Dave Jacombs Ford was taken by former Roush Fenway driver Peter Shepherd.

The 21-year-old Brampton, Ont., native has done just fine for himself with top-10 finishes at Cayuga and Barrie.

F-1 FOLLIES

Just what does four-time Champ Car World Series champion Sebastien Bourdais have to do to cement his place in the 2009 driver lineup for Toro Rosso in Formula One?

The flying Frenchman has qualified his car in the top 10 the past two races and, but for a team decision not to pit for intermediate tires in the rain at Valencia, Bourdais would have had his first F-1 podium finish.

Yet Toro Rosso co-owner Gerhard Berger keeps dithering over a decision to get Bourdais' name on a contract.

At first, Berger claimed he wanted to see better results from the one-time Toronto Indy winner. Now that those results are coming, Berger says he needs to see more confidence from Bourdais.

Give him a contract. That is all the confidence he needs.

FINISH LINES

Corvette Racing has announced it will enter at least two teams in the GT2 class in the American Le Mans Series in 2009. The bow-tie boys seem to be tiring of racing against themselves in the GT1 class where they have won the past five championships.

No word yet on a driver lineup, although team boss Doug Fehan was coy about whether he would bring back Canada's Ron Fellows, who was dropped from the GT1 team before the 2006 season.


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