Three distinct groups make up Chase

Leaders of the pack
Matt Kenseth (20), Kyle Busch (18) and Jimmie Johnson (48) are 1-2-3 in points.
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.


I want to make sure that everyone doesn’t get so wrapped up in saying that Matt Kenseth is going to win the championship. We still have a lot of racing to go. You just can’t go ahead and give Matt his second NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship when you know Martinsville is still out there and, especially, that Talladega is out there. Everybody knows that is a crapshoot.


Where did your favorite driver finish in the 2013 final standings?

Now sure, with what we see right now, it’s a three-man race for the championship. You have those Joe Gibbs Racing cars, which for the first time in the 10-year history of the Chase format, have finished first and second in the first two races of the Chase. Then you have Jimmie Johnson, who is 18 points behind Matt, but let’s face it: The No. 48 car is there.

I think the combination this year of 13 drivers in the Chase instead of the normal 12, with the competition as solid as it is right now, I don’t think you can have a bad race. We are slowly eliminating drivers already. Both Joey Logano and Dale Earnhardt Jr. had a bad race at Chicago, even though it wasn’t of their making. They are already a full race behind leader Matt Kenseth in points. One of those two could lead all the laps this weekend, win the race, Matt finishes dead last, and they still don’t catch him.
Looking for the NASCAR on FOX blog? Check out Shake and Bake.

Joining those two is Kasey Kahne, who following the crash at Loudon on Sunday is now 71 points behind. I realize we’ve only run 20 percent of the Chase so far and a lot of things can happen, but those three are really in a hole that they can’t get out of. People for years have been saying we need some kind of elimination. Well, guess what? We already have it. These guys self-eliminate themselves.

If you take Carl Edwards, who currently is in fourth spot, and go all the way back to Ryan Newman – those six drivers there in the middle are only separated by 11 points. So we have that lead pack of three cars. Then you have those next six drivers I just mentioned. Then you have Clint Bowyer, who is sort of in purgatory right now. He’s 48 points back and in 10th spot.

Then you have those final three that I mentioned that are way back. They can’t give up, though, and count themselves out. They have to just keep their head down and keep digging, even though I believe it’s simply too steep of a hill to climb with only eight races left.

Tagged: Matt Kenseth

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

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Chase Authentics Danica Patrick Big Rig Tri-Blend T-Shirt - Charcoal 26.95 Chase Authentics Danica Patrick Big Rig Tri-Blend T-Shirt - Charcoal
    Kyle Busch One Spot Gauge T-Shirt - Black 19.95 Kyle Busch One Spot Gauge T-Shirt - Black
    Matt Kenseth One Spot Gauge T-Shirt - Black 9.99 Matt Kenseth One Spot Gauge T-Shirt - Black
    Chase Authentics Carl Edwards 2013 Driver Schedule T-Shirt - Ash 24.95 Chase Authentics Carl Edwards 2013 Driver Schedule T-Shirt - Ash