NASCAR

Johnson, Keselowski is tight Chase

Share This Story

Larry McReynolds

Larry McReynolds has more than 30 years of NASCAR experience as a mechanic, Daytona 500-winning crew chief and broadcaster. He earned 23 Sprint Cup wins as a crew chief, including two victories in the prestigious Daytona 500, as well as a pair of non-points victories in the annual all-star race. Follow him on Twitter.

MORE>>
 
   
 

In the first 100 laps of the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway Sunday, which were caution free, drivers cycled through two sets of green-flag pit stops and it looked like Jimmie Johnson was in his own zip code.

But as was probably to be expected, in the last 55 laps there were four cautions and that just was enough to give guys opportunities to make adjustments on their cars and to take fuel mileage out of it, especially with that caution that came with 24 laps to go. It bunched the drivers up enough and came late enough in the race that we saw some pretty aggressive racing.

I think now we can honestly say, even though there’s only two drivers mathematically eliminated – that’s Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jr. – we’ve got two drivers and two races and we only have one championship trophy.

To see these two guys, it’s almost a rerun of a year ago just with two different players. Last year, Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards were finishing first and second race after race, battling to the bitter end for that championship and I see the potential here with Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski.

They’re both sitting here with five wins apiece, which we all know how important wins are if this thing comes down to a tie like it did last year.

There’s a seven-point differential.

I find it so interesting, and I truly applaud them for it, that crew chief Paul Wolfe and Brad Keselowski are not afraid to gamble. It wasn't necessarily a bad call that they made to take two tires on their final pit stop when the other leaders took four tires and it sounds like they made it together.

POLL

  • Who will win the Sprint Cup title?
    • Jimmie Johnson
    • Brad Keselowski

I can’t say it was a bad call, but obviously it was not a call that worked out to win the race. If they had not gotten that last caution when Mark Martin spun out with five to go, Brad Keselowski was going to win the race with 28 more laps on his left-side tires.

These guys, they’re racing to win. Yeah they’re racing to win the championship, but they’re racing to win because they know the importance of winning races and they know how strong each is running right now. They went to Texas with a two-point differential. Even with leading the most laps like Jimmie Johnson did in the race, he knew that if he watched Brad Keselowski take that checkered flag first, then he leaves Texas with Keselowski being the points leader.

So that was a four-point swing for Johnson, him winning the race while Keselowski finished second. One point for one position ahead and three bonus points for the win. So I don’t see anything changing in these last two races.

These guys raced each other for the win at Chicago, the first race of the Chase. They raced each other door handle to door handle for eighth at Kansas three weeks ago and they raced each other door handle to door handle for the Texas win and I don’t see that being any different these final two races.

If you go back to the Phoenix race, race No. 2 of this year, they raced each other door handle to door handle with Johnson finishing fourth and Keselowski finishing fifth and we did not know the position these two guys would be in now with two races to go - and returning to that same track.
 

Tagged: Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski

More Stories From Larry McReynolds

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



NASCAR Videos

Larry’s Notebook: Is Jimmie Johnson Behind the Curve? Posted: Jul 15, 2014
Larry McReynolds weighs in on whether or not the No. 48 will be at a disadvantag...

Larry’s Notebook: Off-Week Blues Posted: Jul 15, 2014
Larry McReynolds weighs in on which teams will benefit the most from the week of...

Winner's Weekend: Brad Keselowski Unstoppable at Loudon Posted: Jul 15, 2014
The biggest issue the No. 2 team faced at Loudon was where to hide the champagne...

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Chase Authentics Danica Patrick Big Rig Tri-Blend T-Shirt - Charcoal http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Danica_Patrick/browse/featuredproduct/974547/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_974000/ff_974547_xl.jpg&w=100 26.95 Chase Authentics Danica Patrick Big Rig Tri-Blend T-Shirt - Charcoal
    Kyle Busch One Spot Gauge T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Kyle_Busch/browse/featuredproduct/1011659/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1011000/ff_1011659_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Kyle Busch One Spot Gauge T-Shirt - Black
    Matt Kenseth One Spot Gauge T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Matt_Kenseth/browse/featuredproduct/1011661/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1011000/ff_1011661_xl.jpg&w=100 9.99 Matt Kenseth One Spot Gauge T-Shirt - Black
    Chase Authentics Carl Edwards 2013 Driver Schedule T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Carl_Edwards/browse/featuredproduct/1041164/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1041000/ff_1041164_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Chase Authentics Carl Edwards 2013 Driver Schedule T-Shirt - Ash