You ran hard in the regular season. Then, you dazzled us at Chicagoland when you finished 4th; you tickled us at New Hampshire with a top 10 finish; you drove us to distraction at Dover when you just couldn't get any more out of your race car.
Your uncharacteristic 19th place finish was enough, barely enough, but enough to pull off a swift advance to the Contender Round of the Chase for the Championship. Lady Luck never treats you well, but she had her sites on some of your competitors this time--especially Jimmy Johnson--who is no longer a threat with his aim for seven. There had to be some heads shaking over his demise. A mechanical failure--worth five bucks--how did that get by Chad Knaus?
I just wanted to scream, "I know, I know!"
It seems you were completely "noticed" by the commentators, who generally pay you no mind. Then, at the anti-climactic ending, when you were in sitting-duck mode, the only car a lap down with no potential to race for points, Lady Luck once again concentrated on the other guys.
When we learned you made it to the next round, and with a point to spare. Whew! That was a squeaker. I'll thank you to not do that again!
With the first round behind you, you are back on an even playing field. As I write this, I'm hoping you and the guys are all back at the shop, tweaking, refining, reviewing, and planning how to get that #31 back to being as fast as she will go.
Good luck Ryan. You sure do make this fun for us. I hope I speak for the rest of us when I simply say, thank you for letting us spend our Sundays with you. You are the most enjoyable driver on the track and we just love to watch, even though you make us sweat a little, each and every week. Good luck to you, contender.