Blog: NASCAR enters home stretch
By Ryan Narramore
Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon are sitting comfortably in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series right now. They’ve each secured their spot in this season’s Chase for the Sprint Cup and are gearing up to run down a championship. Heading into Atlanta this weekend, several drivers are looking to lock in their place and shot at the championship too.
In order to secure a spot in the Chase, a driver will need to have a 196 point lead above the No. 13 spot in the Sprint Cup points standings after Atlanta. Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin are the most likely to clinch their spot in the Chase this weekend. Without leading any laps at Atlanta and regardless of how any other drivers finish, Kyle Busch needs to finish 40th or better, Edwards 21st or better and Hamlin 20th or better.
Other drivers that have a chance at locking in their shot at the championship in Atlanta are Tony Stewart, Jeff Burton and Matt Kenseth. For these drivers, Stewart needs a 19th place finish or better, Burton 17th and Kenseth 15th. You never know how things will turn out, but it looks like Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch and Greg Biffle will have to see what happened at Richmond, with Johnson needing to finish 10th or better, Kurt Busch 9th and Biffle 4th.
Clint Bowyer is the only driver in the Top 12 who cannot clinch a spot at Atlanta. Bowyer will continue to battle Jamie McMurray and Mark Martin – who are only 100 and 101 points, respectively, behind the No. 12 spot – to hang onto his chances at making the Chase.
With the Chase just two races away, the points will be reset and 12 drivers will start a brand-new season. But for the rest, it’s all about winning races, improving performance and looking ahead to next year. Jeff Owens has more at SceneDaily.com: http://www.scenedaily.com/news/articles/sprintcupseries/Jeff_Owens_For_Dale_Earnhardt_Jr_and_these_nine_drivers_the_final_12_Sprint_Cup_races_are_crucial.html
Check out the SceneDaily.com staff predications for this weekend’s Sprint Cup action at Atlanta here: http://www.scenedaily.com/news/articles/sprintcupseries/PREDICTIONS_Kurt_Busch_favored_to_double_up_at_Atlanta_but_Jamie_McMurray_Kasey_Kahne_could_surprise.html
While Kyle Busch is likely to lock in his much-deserved spot in this year’s Chase after jumping five positions in this week’s Sprint Cup points standings, the 25-year-old driver is entered in all three of NASCAR’s national touring series this weekend – Camping World Trucks at Kentucky and Sprint Cup and Nationwide at Atlanta.
A victory at Kentucky will tie the record with four other drivers with five wins in a row, while a win in Saturday’s Nationwide race could tie him with one other driver holding the six-race winning streak record. While unlikely – even though he just did it three weeks ago – a first-place finish at Atlanta in Sunday’s Sprint Cup race would tie Busch with Mark Martin for the second longest winning streak in NASCAR history.
Outside of Busch’s consecutive winning streaks, he’s also got a chance at setting another Nationwide record. Sporting News’ Lee Montgomery talks more about Busch’s shot here: http://www.sportingnews.com/nascar/story/2010-09-02/kyle-busch-one-win-from-nationwide-record
Related PIR News
Phoenix Raceway invites fans and media to the second annual “Prix View” Testing event for the Verizon IndyCar Series on Saturday, Feb. 11, Phoenix Raceway President Bryan R. Sperber announced today. The event will feature virtually the entire field of drivers and teams as they prepare to race under the lights in the Phoenix Grand Prix on Saturday night, April 29, 2017.
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series stars will appear at Phoenix Raceway for the first time in 2017 when the track hosts an open test session on Tuesday, Jan. 31. Phoenix Raceway will open its gates to fans from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with general seating in the Bobby Allison Grandstand. Free parking is available and fans are asked to make a $5 donation to Phoenix Raceway Charities for admission.
Joey Logano needed a good finish to advance to the championship finale of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series next weekend. The semi-final race was extended by 12 laps due to two late collisions that significantly effected both the race and the championship battle. Logano got the best finish possible at Sunday's Can-Am 500, grabbing the lead on a late restart and never looking back.
Another NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Phoenix International Raceway, another win for Kyle Busch. The driver of the No. 18 NOS Energy Toyota dominated yet again in Saturday's Ticket Galaxy 200 for his 10th win at PIR, a track record for a single series. Busch led 190 of 200 laps, the fourth-consecutive XFINITY race at Phoenix where he has led at least 175 of the 200 laps. But even though he lost the lead on the final restart to Justin Allgaier, Busch wasn't worried about the outcome.
Phoenix International Raceway President Bryan R. Sperber announced today that DC Solar has been named the title sponsor of the track’s spring NASCAR XFINITY Series races in 2017 and 2018. The DC Solar 200 for the upcoming NASCAR season will take place on Saturday, March 18.
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