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Charting the Chase: Tony turnaround
There were a lot of twists and turns in the Race to the Chase during the Pepsi 400. Tony Stewart continues his dominance at Daytona and Talladega. You may question my use of the word "dominance" because Stewart has only won two plate point events, but the only active drivers to lead more laps at plate races are Jeff Gordon, Sterling Marlin and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
While everyone else is building new cars and chassis, he's done it with the
In 12th place, Gordon is 467 points out of first, but I still don't believe the 400-point window is going to come into play. If Johnson doesn't maintain his lead, Matt Kenseth is sitting eight points behind him and will take over the top spot. Those top two guys don't bobble often. Of course, Johnson's performance was still strong; he just had some bad luck the other night. After four consecutive top-10 finishes, Kurt Busch is the cat that the drivers in the top 10 better keep an eye on. In late May, he made a statement that he would make the Chase, and he took his inspiration from his former Roush Racing teammate, Matt Kenseth, who climbed out of a deep hole last year. Obviously, the team is backing up his claim. It wasn't surprising to see Kyle Busch run well the other night. When you look around, the whole Hendrick brigade was awfully strong, but the No. 5 team needs more consistency. It looks like seven drivers from eighth to 14th Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Greg Biffle, Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch and Carl Edwards are fighting for three spots with nine races to go until the Chase.
No Big OneIt was fairly surprising that we didn't have the "Big One" at Daytona. Up until the Jimmie Johnson-Bobby Labonte wreck, which was actually quite late in the race, we only had about three cautions. One was for Jeff Burton's single-car spin, one was a debris caution and then the other one was for a beach ball. While Johnson, Labonte, Gordon, Biffle, Martin and others were caught up in wrecks on the backstretch, it was a fairly clean Pepsi 400.
|Speed Mail Larry McReynolds|
FOX race analyst Larry McReynolds has more than 25 years of NASCAR experience as a mechanic, crew chief and broadcaster. He and his fellow Crew Chief Club members take you behind the wall at www.crewchiefclub.com.
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