Well, as we enter the last week of the First Nextel Cup Chase, I do have to say that it was damn exciting!!!

Whether you are a fan of the Chase Format or not, You have to admit, you stayed glued to your television this last ten weeks. By the numbers we are down to five possible drivers taking this first championship. They are as follows:

Kurt Busch
Jimmie Johnson
Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
Mark Martin
And going for his fifth championship:  Jeff Gordon

But, I have learned from the past not to count anyone out!  I made the comment earlier this year, that the championship would be decided in Homestead and it seems I was right.

Personally, I am rooting for them all. All ten drivers in the inaugural Chase for the Nextel Cup raced their butts off all season. And love them or hate them, all ten deserved to be in the Race for the Chase!  They have inspired me through out the season, and I know without NASCAR, I would have written squat.

I managed, between hissy fits over changes, to write 24 new poems including "Tears fall"(In Memory of those lost in The Hendrick Plane crash) And "Angel Heart' ( In memory of Ricky Hendrick).  And as much as this pains me, Brian France and NASCAR within three years should be able to tweak this format to perfection.  I have also learned this year, that as much as we the fans hate to admit, NASCAR Has to change to stay competitive with other sporting events. 

Thanks to Janet Jackson and my home city of Houston, We have learned that the good ol' boys have to watch their language, although we the fans are free to say just about anything.  Next year, I pray that things will start to return to a normal happy fan base and NASCAR, the Drivers, sponsors, and owners can cut some costs but learn to compromise with each other somewhat.  It's been a heck of a ride this year, and I do have to say that over the next six to eight weeks, I will miss the boys.  And I look forward to testing in Daytona come January. 

Until then I leave you with this: this year we were once again reminded of what really matters is people, plain and simple.  We are the NASCAR NATION, how our sport is perceived, is through its fans. Let's be good fans and support our American-born sport of stock car racing. Isn't that the reason we started to watch? To watch 43 brave men fight it out on the track?  Let's support our sport and its charities!

And until next season, may God be with each and every one of you, the teams, sponsors, drivers, owners and those great people who worked for NASCAR.  May we all remember those off serving our country and those lost this year, both in our NASCAR Family and those who lost their lives serving our Way of life.

Poet K. A. Steffek
Author of: "Poetry in Fast Motion"