Page 2 for the week of 09-08-2014

The First Reid:  Don’t Sleep on Non-Chase Drivers

By Reid Spencer

NASCAR Wire Service

Now that the 26-race NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular season is over, most of our focus turns to the Chase, and rightly so.

The Chase will determine which of the 16 drivers who earned berths in the 10-race playoff ultimately will claim the series championship.

But let’s not forget the other 27 drivers who will compete in each Chase race. History tells us that, in all likelihood, at least one of those drivers, maybe more, will win a race in the Chase. That in turn could influence which Chase drivers advance from one elimination round to the next.

Last year, three non-Chase drivers scored victories in the last 10 races, Jamie McMurray at Talladega, Denny Hamlin at Homestead and reigning series champion Brad Keselowski at Charlotte.

In 2006, Tony Stewart won three times in the final 10 after failing to make the Chase. Guess who’s not in the Chase this year?

Kyle Larson has been touted universally as the next likely first-time winner. He has 10 races to get it done. And don’t forget Clint Bowyer, who narrowly missed the Chase. Bowyer is a demon at New Hampshire, and he’s not bad at Talladega either.

So when you’re handicapping the next 10 races, resist the temptation to focus solely on the Chase drivers. Otherwise, you’re almost certain to miss a couple of winners.

@nascarcasm

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Brad Keselowski – giving new meaning to the term “Four fresh stickers…”

The sigh of relief Greg Biffle let out following the race Saturday night could probably inflate a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade balloon.

Clint Bowyer’s goal for the evening which he unfortunately didn’t achieve: Earn a “W,” but not the additional “TF” like last year.

Form tweet to save on your phone and just fill in the number later: “@KevinHarvick lost ___ spots during that last pit stop.”

(Follow @nascarcasm on Twitter. His unique views on NASCAR are his own – but chances are you have probably figured that out by now.)

NASCAR NUMBERS

By Reid Spencer­

­­1,278: The combined number of laps led in 26 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races this season by Brad Keselowski, a career-best and most in the series thus far. Keselowski blew right through the 1,000-laps-led mark on Saturday night at Richmond, where he was out front for 383 laps, a record for a 400-lap race at the .75-mile short track.

1: Of the 16 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers, the number who have been running at the finish of every race this season. That distinction belongs to Jeff Gordon, and it’s no coincidence that Gordon was the regular-season points leader in the Cup series.

400: The number of all-time wins by Team Penske following Keselowski’s victory at Richmond. The Roger Penske-owned team will look to add to that total in the Chase as Keselowski and Joey Logano attempt to bring the organization its second NASCAR Sprint Cup title.

2: The number of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories recorded at Chicagoland Speedway by Kevin Harvick, the only 2014 Chase driver with more than one triumph there. Harvick won back-to-back in 2001 and 2002. Non-Chaser Tony Stewart has three victories at the first playoff track.

577: The number of laps led by Jimmie Johnson at Chicagoland Speedway, most ever for a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver. Only one problem: Johnson has never won at the 1.5-mile track. Doubtless he’d like to cross Chicagoland off his checklist on Sunday.

NASCAR NOTES

Brad Keselowski capped off the regular season by notching his series-high fourth win in dominant fashion, leading all but 17 of the 400 laps in the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond on Saturday. The win locked Keselowski in as Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup’s No. 1 seed. He needs just one more victory to tie his career-high total of five from 2012 when he won his first Chase title.  … After totaling a series-best 10 wins in the regular season, Hendrick Motorsports sends all of its drivers to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup for the third consecutive year. Drivers Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson each have three victories on the season and are seeded 2-4 entering the Chase, while Kasey Kahne (one win) occupies the 11th seed. Represented by 25 percent of the drivers in the Chase field, HMS will attempt to add to its record of 11 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series titles. … Clint Bowyer put a scare into Greg Biffle Saturday night at Richmond, but was unable to secure the victory needed to bump him from the 16th and final spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field. Since a winless driver did not take the checkered, Ryan Newman and Biffle locked themselves into the Chase with respective ninth and 19th-place finishes.

Tune-In: NASCAR On Television, September 8-14

Monday, September 8

4:30 p.m., NASCAR America, NBC Sports Network

5 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1

6 p.m., The 10 NASCAR’s Most Outrageous Moments (re-air), FOX Sports 2

6:30 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub (re-air), FOX Sports 2

Tuesday, September 9

5 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1

5 p.m., NASCAR America, NBC Sports Network

6:30 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub (re-air), FOX Sports 2

7:30 p.m., The 10 NASCAR’s Greatest Finishes (re-air), FOX Sports 2

Wednesday, September 10

Noon, NASCAR Race Hub Special (re-air), FOX Sports 1

5 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1

5 p.m., NASCAR America, NBC Sports Network

6:30 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub (re-air), FOX Sports 2

7:30 p.m., The 10 NASCAR’s Greatest Race (re-air),

FOX Sports 2

8 p.m., NASCAR K&N Pro Series Race at Kern (re-air),

FOX Sports 2

Thursday, September 11

5 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1

5 p.m., NASCAR America, NBC Sports Network

7 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub (re-air), FOX Sports 2

1 a.m. (Fri.), NASCAR’s The List: Iconic Cars (re-air),

NBC Sports Network

1:30 a.m. (Fri.), NASCAR’s The List: Tracks (re-air),

NBC Sports Network

2 a.m. (Fri.), NASCAR’s The List: Dale Earnhardt Sr. Moments (re-air), NBC Sports Network

Friday, September 12                                           

11 a.m., NASCAR K&N Pro Series Race at Kern (re-air), FOX Sports 1

Noon, NASCAR Nationwide Series Practice, FOX Sports 1

1 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Practice, FOX Sports 1

2:30 p.m., NASCAR Live, FOX Sports 1

3 p.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Keystone Light Pole Qualifying, FOX Sports 1

4:30 p.m., NASCAR Nationwide Series Final Practice,

FOX Sports 1

6::30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, ESPN2

8 p.m., NCWTS SetUp, FOX Sports 1

8:30 p.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race at Chicagoland, FOX Sports 1

3 a.m. (Sat.), The 10 NASCAR’s Most Bizarre Moments (re-air), FOX Sports 1

Saturday, September 13

10 a.m., NASCAR K&N Pro Series Race at Kern (re-air), FOX Sports 1

11 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Practice, FOX Sports 1

Noon, NASCAR Nationwide Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FOX Sports 2

1:30 p.m., NASCAR Live, FOX Sports 2

2 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Final Practice,

FOX Sports 2

3:30 p.m., NASCAR Nationwide Series Race at Chicagoland, ESPN2

Sunday, September 14

9 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Final Practice (re-air), FOX Sports 1

Noon, NASCAR RaceDay, FOX Sports 1

1 p.m., NSCS Countdown, ESPN

2 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race at Chicagoland, ESPN

TBA, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race at Chicagoland,

ESPN Deportes

7 p.m., NASCAR Victory Lane, FOX Sports 1

11:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race at Chicagoland (re-air), ESPN2

3 a.m. (Mon.), NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race at Chicagoland (re-air), FOX Sports 1

5:30 a.m. (Mon.), NASCAR Victory Lane, FOX Sports 1

National Series Schedule

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES

The Next Race: MyAFibStory.com 400

The Place: Chicagoland Speedway

The Date/Time:Sunday, Sep. 14, 2:00 p.m. (ET)

TV: ESPN

Radio: MRN Radio,Sirius XM Channel 90

 

NASCAR NATIONWIDE SERIES

The Next Race:Jimmy John’s Freaky Fast 300 Powered by Coca-Cola

The Place:Chicagoland Speedway

The Date/Time: Saturday, Sep. 13, 3:30 p.m. (ET)

TV: ESPN 2

Radio: MRN,Sirius XM Channel 90

NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES

The Next Race: Lucas Oil 225

The Place: Chicagoland Speedway

Date/Time: Friday, Sep. 12, 8:30 p.m. (ET)

TV: FOX Sports 1

Radio: MRN, Sirius XM Channel 90

NASCAR National Series Standings

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This year, wins matter more than in any season in the 65-year history of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

In the regular season, a win locked a driver into the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and gave him three bonus points to start the Challenger Round. During the Chase, a driver can automatically advance to the next round with a victory.

Thirteen different drivers won races in the regular season. The remainder of the 16-driver Chase Grid is filled by those drivers highest in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points. See below for how the Chase Grid looks entering NASCAR’s playoffs:

Chase Grid Outlook
Pos     Driver                     Wins

1        Brad Keselowski        4

2        Jeff Gordon                3

3        Dale Earnhardt Jr.     3

4        Jimmie Johnson         3

5        Joey Logano               3

6        Kevin Harvick             2

7        Carl Edwards              2

8        Kyle Busch                  1

9        Denny Hamlin            1

10     Kurt Busch                  1

11     Kasey Kahne              1

12     Aric Almirola              1

13     AJ Allmendinger        1

14     Matt Kenseth             0

15     Greg Biffle                  0

16     Ryan Newman            0

NASCAR Nationwide Series

Pos        Driver                 Points

1      Chase Elliott #              916

2      Regan Smith                 897

3      Ty Dillon #                    874

4      Elliott Sadler                 862

5      Brian Scott                    859

6      Trevor Bayne               832

7      Chris Buescher #         747

8      Brendan Gaughan       720

9      Ryan Reed #                 686

10   James Buescher          671

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Pos    Driver                      Points

1        Johnny Sauter            524

2        Matt Crafton              517

3        Ryan Blaney               511

4        Darrell Wallace Jr.    486

5        German Quiroga       476

6        Ron Hornaday Jr.       460

7        Joey Coulter               456

8        Timothy Peters          448

9        Ben Kennedy #          441

10     Jeb Burton                  420

 

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