‘Chase for the Chase’ under way in Sprint Cup
Some of NASCAR’s biggest names are trying to keep their
championship hopes alive and the Chase for the Sprint Cup is still
about a month away.
Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon would all be on the
outside looking in if the Chase started now. They have four races
to change that, starting this weekend at Michigan International
”We don’t feel there is a better race track on the circuit to
come to when we need a win than Michigan,” Edwards said. ”We have
had a lot of success here.”
Edwards has won twice at this track, and another victory Sunday
would put him in great shape in what Gordon called the ”chase for
the Chase.” The top 10 drivers advance, along with the two with
the most wins who are between 11th and 20th in the points
Edwards is 12th in points but has no victories this year. Busch
and Gordon have a victory apiece but are 14th and 15th, just behind
Ryan Newman for the second wild card spot.
Kasey Kahne, who is in 11th place, has two wins and is in line
for one wild card spot at this point. Newman is 13th with one
Newman said he still doesn’t have any news on a new sponsor for
next season, and missing the 10-race Chase would be tough to take
”We’ve made it and we’ve not made it. When we don’t make it,
it’s frustrating to go through those last 10 races,” Newman said.
”In the past it hasn’t changed our perspective on the next season.
But this year I think it’s a little bit different. It has weight
but it doesn’t change the way I race, doesn’t change my mentality
when I get in the racecar or when I get out of the racecar. It’s
all about doing my job as a driver.”
Gordon hasn’t missed the Chase since 2005, and Edwards hasn’t
been left out since 2006. Busch has made it the last two years.
Busch nearly picked up what would have been a huge victory last
weekend at Watkins Glen, but he skidded wide coming out of a turn
on the final lap on an oil-smeared track, and Marcos Ambrose won in
a chaotic finish.
Ambrose is 17th in the standings, one spot ahead of Joey Logano.
Both have a win this year, so they still have hope of reaching the
Edwards finished 11th at Michigan in June and has only two
top-10 showings in his last 10 races. A victory this week suddenly
puts him in better position for at least a wild card. That could
bring about some interesting scenarios late in a race, when teams
have to decide how aggressively they’re going to try to finish
”If you watch some of the restarts at this place, guys
sometimes will get a run and it will be three or four or five wide
into that first corner,” Edwards said. ”I think you might see a
lot of that. Those are the things we are willing to risk on more
right now than we have in the past.”
Gordon won two weekends ago at Pocono, but he finished 21st at
Watkins Glen and trails Newman by 10 points.
”We’re just trying to race as hard as we possibly can for each
position,” Gordon said. ”I don’t get too far ahead. I really live
in the moment.”
At the top of the standings, there’s another close race. Leader
Jimmie Johnson is one point ahead of second-place Greg Biffle, who
is only a point ahead of third-place Matt Kenseth.
Drivers in the top 10 earn bonus points in the Chase for
”regular season” victories, but Johnson wonders if there should
be more of a reward for the pre-Chase points leader.
”You could even work up an argument that there’s some type of
bonus points that could be awarded to the regular-season champion
that carries over or something in the seeding process,” Johnson
said. ”You dream up something there that would be nice for the