That's right folks! We are quickly approaching The Chase for the Cup in NASCAR's Sprint Cup and things are really starting to heat up. And speaking of heat, what better place for a late season playoff race than Texas Motor Speedway. Like its sister track Atlanta, TMS features incredibly fast speeds and 3-wide racing. This is what I like to call a recipe for great racing.
With the new race schedule the way it is, I truly believe that the fall race at TMS is the best of the bunch. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy all the Chase tracks.. cough.. cough [under my breath] except for Homestead, so nothing against those other tracks. However, TMS just creates the right combination of excitement and drama. Speeds will approach 200 mph and sometimes you can see cars 3-wide on this amazing track.
Did you know?
Carl Edwards has the most career victories at TMS since the track hosted its first NASCAR race in 1997.
The Texas AAA 500 is still a few months away but I am sure that the Chase drivers are already looking ahead to the playoffs and all tracks involved. It is impossible to see what the standings will look like on November 4th when the green flag drops in Fort Worth, but with Jeff Gordon's victory last week the standings shifted a bit. Now the 4 time Cup champ has a chance to keep his drive for 5 alive. Here is an updated look at the Cup standings and the current qualified Chase drivers.
|1||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||744||Leader|
|5||Martin Truex Jr.||694||-50|
There was some shifting last week in the standings that brought the top 10 closer together. Dale Jr. finished 32nd and Matt Kenseth finished 23rd at Pocono last weekend and that allowed for everyone to inch a little bit closer to the top. The most noticeable difference in this week's standings is the addition of the #24 car into the second wild card spot. Things did not look good for Gordon's chances to make the Chase throughout most of this season but he now finds himself in a favorable position. Watkins Glen is this weekend and any race fan knows how much success Jeff has on road courses. The "Rainbow Warrior" has collected 9 total road course victories and 4 of them came at Watkins Glen.
Chew On This
Jeff Gordon totaled 18 victories at the 5 remaining tracks before the Chase. His combined average finish at all of those tracks is 12.94 for his career. Not bad for a guy who has been racing full seasons since 1993.
If Gordon and Kahne can hold on to the 2 wild card spots then Hendrick Motorsports will successfully put all 4 cars in The Chase for the Cup. A feat that would be pretty amazing and a testament to how committed the Hendrick team is to winning. This proves that Jimmie Johnson isn't the only legitimate Cup threat at Hendrick Motorsports.
Where's Waldo (Carl Edwards)?
With only five races remaining before the Chase, Mr. Back-flip is finding himself in back of the contenders. All he needs to be in the picture is a win but he hasn't managed a victory all season. Edwards has had an up and down season and has struggled to stay in contention but he still has a chance. Can he find his mojo before time runs out? I'm not sure if he will but someone should let him know that it is time to show up to the dance if he was planning on making an appearance.
Written by: Craig Kibler