Hammond: We’re in for one heck of a show in Phoenix

Jeff Hammond believes this Sunday's Chase elimination race at Phoenix International Raceway will be one of the most aggressive and dramatic we have ever seen. 

Todd Warshaw

I think this Sunday we are going to see one of the most exciting and aggressive races we’ve ever seen at Phoenix.

You simply can’t just race smart and hope for a good point’s day. Remember you have eight Chase guys racing for only four positions Sunday. You simply can’t be running fourth and give yourself a false sense of security. Too much can — and will — happen in those closing laps as desperation sets in.

All eight teams know this, and their goal will be to give their driver a car that has a chance to win in the later stages of Sunday’s race. Their secondary goal will be to make sure, at a minimum, they are running third to punch their ticket into the championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway next weekend.

There is just an incredible amount of pressure on these eight teams.

The bad news for those eight remaining Chase drivers is there are a whole host of other teams that don’t give a flip about the Chase because they aren’t in it. They want to win or finish high up just as bad because it will help them with their sponsors and possibly their chance to have a job next year. So there will be a lot of different agenda’s Sunday that I can see all coming to a head.

So the catch-phrases for Sunday are pretty clear. You are going to see anticipation, excitement, and drama.

Ultimately for four drivers, they will experience the ultimate frustration as their 2014 championship dreams turn to dust. To me this race at Phoenix is going to bring everything into play that NASCAR had hoped for and dreamed of when they created the new Chase format. I’ll even take it a step further adding "and more." There is so many unknowns that this point that we simply won’t know until it plays out Sunday at Phoenix. 

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