Charlotte, North Carolina is considered the epicenter of NASCAR racing.  The facilities that build the cars that are put on the track are largely headquartered there and as a result, a lion's share of the drivers live in the vicinity.  That tradition stems from the roots of the sport that originated with the whiskey runners who came from that area of the country.  So it's a reunion of some sort after these dashing drivers who barnstorm all across the country living out of their haulers on race weekends actually could sleep in their regular bed if they choose.

So it seems appropriate that after the event at Charlotte Motor Speedway everybody seems to be a little closer together.  Brad Keselowski is still the point leader, but this time HE is the one who got shackled by bad strategy.  Clint Bowyer won the thing and couldn't light up the tires at the flag stand due to lack of fuel.  Bowyer can shed a tear later on that one.  However, BK was really good and poised for the win.  Maybe Denny Hamlin could have taken him.  Jimmie Johnson had a car that was capable.  A Yellow flag at the wrong time fouled it all up.

Even then, there was a chance to minimize the damage, however the Deuce crew waited one lap too long and really paid for it.  Running out of fuel under the green cost a pile of time and the eleventh place result now puts the 48 bunch only seven markers back with Hamlin still in contention.  Remember at Chicago and BK blew away Johnson at the end?  How about the fuel mileage win at Dover?  Bowyer got the win because he didn't have a winning car, but made the right moves under the right circumstances.  BK was burning more fuel because he had a strong piece.  Thus, the cards were stacked against Brad for the win.  By running out, he cost himself a minimum fifth place finish and could have gotten fourth.  However, Greg Biffle was better at the end so that is nowhere near a certainty.

Despite the setback, Keselowski was flying on the 1.5 miler and there are three more of those tracks left.  That means with five races left, the likelihood of the top three running well in three of them won't produce much separation.  Those other two, Martinsville and Phoenix will most likely shed the most light on who can hoist the Sprint Cup trophy in November.