Mayhem at Martinsville could shake up NASCAR’s Chase

APRIL 01: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 MyLowe’s Chevrolet, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, and Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour Energy Toyota, race three wide into turn one during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Goody’s Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 1, 2012 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

If the last visit is any indication Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway could shake up the Chase standings more than any of the Chase races to date. In April Chase drivers Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer and Jeff Gordon tangled on the last restart. The trio went from the front of the field to outside the top 10. Should a similar scenario play out this Sunday the thin margins among those at the top of the Chase could be even thinner.

Brad Keselowski has raced, and survived, to maintain his lead in the standings in the Chase thus far. He escaped a huge point’s loss last week at Kansas due primarily to the misfortunes of others. BK’s stats here don’t bode well for him; could Martinsville be his Achilles heel? In his last five races here, Keselowski has only finished inside the top 10 once; that was in the spring race when he finished ninth after the leaders crashed out. This could be another week when he hopes just to survive.

Jimmie Johnson has six wins here; second most among the top 12. He was in a position for the win in April before disaster struck. As last week at Kansas proved though, Johnson’s lucky horseshoe is back and he could be tough to beat Sunday. MORE>>>

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