Page 2 for the week of 10-27-2014

The First Reid: Tensions high in Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup

By Reid Spencer

NASCAR Wire Service

Which two Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers better be watching their backs over the next few weeks?

Here’s a hint: The drivers of the two yellow cars in the Chase have a number of their fellow competitors seeing red.

Matt Kenseth is the obvious first choice. Admitting later he made a mistake in the yellow No. 20 Toyota, Kenseth spun on Lap 228 at Martinsville, knocking Kevin Harvick into the wall and into the cellar of the Chase standings.

“He won’t win this championship,” Harvick asserted after the race. “If we don’t, he won’t.”

Harvick has an excellent memory, and he’s just as good at keeping promises as he is at leading laps.

The driver of the other yellow car, Joey Logano, may have concerns on more than one front. Though Logano says he and Danica Patrick have settled their differences after a run-in at Charlotte, there are those in Patrick’s camp who aren’t so sure that’s the case.

Patrick and Logano were never close together on the track at Martinsville, but there are three races left.

Denny Hamlin, on the other hand, was close enough to give Logano a few strategic bumps at Martinsville, but Logano repeatedly frustrated Hamlin’s efforts to pass.

No doubt Hamlin remembers the hard ride he took into the concrete at Fontana after contact from Logano. That accident sidelined Hamlin for four races.

So don’t be shocked if Hamlin tries to sideline Logano’s title chances.

Maybe as soon as this Sunday at Texas (3 p.m. ET on ESPN).

@nascarcasm

Kenseth

Jeff Gordon isn’t upset at Dale Earnhardt Jr. for winning that race. In fact, Jeff came by victory lane and kindly offered to clean his clock for him.

The leaves, and Stewart-Hass Racing pit crews – two things that always change during the Fall.

You’ll hear TV announcers say “(Driver name) isn’t making any friends out on track today.” Because so often drivers leave Martinsville exchanging phone numbers and making plans to hang out more.

Kasey Kahne clearly still mad he didn’t make the Eliminator Round – probably because the Eliminator Round has a “MUST BE 21 OR OLDER TO ENTER” sign hanging on it.

(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

33: Kevin Harvick’s point deficit to Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup leader Jeff Gordon after contact from Matt Kenseth rocketed Harvick into the outside wall on Lap 228 at Martinsville. Last in the Chase standings, Harvick likely faces a must-win scenario at Texas or Phoenix to keep his title hopes alive.

10: The number of top-five finishes recorded by Chase driver Joey Logano in the last 14 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. During that stretch, Logano has won twice in the Chase and earned four other top fives in seven Chase races. His worst finish in the last 14 races was 14th at Atlanta.

4: The number of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories recorded this season by Dale Earnhardt Jr., the first time Earnhardt has won more than one race in a year since collecting a career-best six victories in 2004. Earnhardt added to his stellar year on Sunday with his first career win at Martinsville.

4: The finishing position of Tony Stewart in the Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500 on Sunday at Martinsville. Staying out on old tires for a restart with five laps left, Stewart surrendered the lead on Lap 497 of 500 but held fourth at the finish for his best result since March at Bristol.

5: The current number of consecutive top-10 finishes posted by Chase driver Ryan Newman, who has remained in contention for the championship with solid, consistent performances. Newman has run eighth, sixth, seventh, fifth and third in the last five Chase races.

NASCAR NOTES

Jeff Gordon (+7 points ahead of the cutoff) placed second at Martinsville to lead all eight championship-qualifying drivers in the first race of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup’s Eliminator Round. Chase contenders Ryan Newman (+4, third), Joey Logano (+3, fifth), Matt Kenseth (+2, sixth) and Denny Hamlin (-2, eighth) each posted top-10 finishes to begin the final stretch towards Homestead.  Carl Edwards (-15, 20th), Brad Keselowski (-26, 31st) and Kevin Harvick (-28, 33rd) had tough-luck showings and essentially must win one of the next two races to advance to the Championship Round. … Barring epic collapses from the drivers ahead of them, Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards need to win at either Texas or Phoenix to keep their championship hopes alive. Edwards boasts three victories at Texas and two at Phoenix, while Harvick has never won at Texas, but has taken the checkered flag in three of the last four Phoenix races. Keselowski claims no wins at either track, but leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with six victories this season. … A week after being eliminated from the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Dale Earnhardt Jr. took the checkered flag at Martinsville to became the first non-championship-qualifying driver to win a race in NASCAR’s playoffs this season. The victory marked his first Martinsville triumph in 30 starts, and his first win during the Chase since November of 2004 at Phoenix. Earnhardt’s four wins this season are his most since 2004.

Tune-In: NASCAR On Television, Oct. 27 – Nov. 2

Monday, October 27

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 28

7 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBC Sports Network

8 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBC Sports Network

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

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

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

7:30 p.m., The 10: Greatest Comebacks in NASCAR History (re-air), FOX Sports 2

9 p.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race at Martinsville (re-air), FOX Sports 1

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

Wednesday, October 29

7 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBC Sports Network

7:30 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBC Sports Network

8 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBC Sports Network

8:30 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBC Sports Network

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

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

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

Thursday, October 30

7 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBC Sports Network

7:30 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBC Sports Network

8 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBC Sports Network

8:30 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBC Sports Network

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 31                                            

7 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBC Sports Network

7:30 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBC Sports Network

8 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBC Sports Network

8:30 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBC Sports Network

10:30 a.m., The 10: Greatest Soundbites in NASCAR History (re-air), FOX Sports 1

11 a.m., NASCAR Race Hub Special (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 Practice, ESPN2

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 Texas, FOX Sports 1

4 a.m. (Sat.), NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race at Texas (re-air), FOX Sports 1

Saturday, November 1

6 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Practice (re-air),

FOX Sports 2

7:30 a.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race at Texas (re-air), FOX Sports 2

10 a.m., NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Race at Thompson, 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 Texas, ESPN2

10:30 p.m., The 10: NASCAR’s Wildest Throw-Downs (re-air), FOX Sports 2

11 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Practice (re-air),

FOX Sports 2

Midnight (Sun.), NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Final Practice (re-air), FOX Sports 2

1 a.m. (Sun.), NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Race at Thompson, FOX Sports 2

Sunday, November 2

10 a.m., NSCS Practice (re-air), FOX Sports 2

11 a.m., NSCS Final Practice (re-air), FOX Sports 2

1 p.m., NASCAR RaceDay, FOX Sports 1

2 p.m., NSCS Countdown, ESPN

3 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race at Texas, ESPN

8:30 p.m., NASCAR Victory Lane, FOX Sports 1

1:30 a.m. (Mon.), NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race at Texas (re-air), ESPN2

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES

The Next Race:AAA Texas 500

The Place:Texas Motor Speedway

The Date/Time:Sunday, Nov. 2, 3 p.m. (ET)

TV: ESPN

Radio: PRN, Sirius XM Channel 90

NASCAR NATIONWIDE SERIES

The Next Race:O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge

The Place:Texas Motor Speedway

The Date/Time:Saturday, Nov. 1, 3:30 p.m. (ET)

TV: ESPN2

Radio: PRN, Sirius XM Channel 90

NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES

The Next Race:Winstar World Casino and Resort 350

The Place:Texas Motor Speedway

Date/Time:Friday, Oct. 31, 8:30 p.m. (ET)

TV: FOX Sports 1

Radio: MRN, Sirius XM Channel 90

NASCAR National Series Standings

The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field was trimmed down to eight for the Contender Round, after the four winless drivers with the lowest points totals following Talladega were eliminated.

Points for all championship-qualifying drivers, regardless of Contender Round victories, were reset to 4,000.

This year, wins matter more than in any season in the 65-year history of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Just like the previous Chase segments, a victory in the three-race Eliminator Round automatically advances a championship-qualifying driver into the Championship Round event at Homestead.

At the conclusion of the Eliminator Round’s third race (Phoenix), the four winless drivers with the lowest points totals will again be dropped from the Chase.

Chase Standings
Pos     Driver                     Points

1        Jeff Gordon             4,044

2        Ryan Newman         4,041

3        Joey Logano            4,040

4        Matt Kenseth          4,039

5        Denny Hamlin         4,037

6        Carl Edwards           4,024

7        Brad Keselowski     4,013

8        Kevin Harvick          4,011

NASCAR Nationwide Series

Pos        Driver                 Points

1      Chase Elliott #            1,106

2      Regan Smith               1,064

3      Brian Scott                 1,045

4      Elliott Sadler              1,043

5      Ty Dillon #                  1,042

6      Trevor Bayne             1,008

7      Chris Buescher #          912

8      Brendan Gaughan        875

9      Ryan Reed #                  820

10   James Buescher           792

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Pos    Driver                      Points

1        Matt Crafton               716

2        Ryan Blaney                698

3        Darrell Wallace Jr.     694

4        Johnny Sauter             676

5        Timothy Peters           639

6        German Quiroga Jr.   608

7        Joey Coulter                607

8        Ben Kennedy #           590

9        Jeb Burton                   587

10     Ron Hornaday Jr.        494

 

 

 

 

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