Monday, October 17, 2011

Kenseth Wins, Johnson Loses

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series raced at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday for the only night race in the Chase.  The race came down to a 12 lap shootout between Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, and Carl Edwards.  Kyle Busch, who is always good on restarts, was no match for Kenseth, who pulled away for his 3rd win of the season.  The win vaulted Kenseth to 3rd in the point standings.  Kyle Busch picked up 4 spots after his runner-up finish, and is now 4th in points, 18 points behind Carl Edwards.  Edwards finished 3rd, and is still the Championship leader.
Matt Kenseth celebrates his 3rd win of 2011 (Photo courtesy Getty Images)
 The biggest Chase shakeup was not Kenseth's win, however.  On lap 316 of the 334 scheduled laps, Jimmie Johnson got loose underneath Ryan Newman.  His car swerved to the right, and headed straight for the Turn 2 wall.  The impact sent his rear tires off the ground, and Johnson seemed shaken when he got out of the car.  However, the wreck may have made a bigger impact on his Chase hopes.  Johnson now finds himself 8th in points, 35 points behind Carl Edwards.  At the halfway point, Johnson is the lowest he's ever been since 2004, the inaugural year for the Chase.
Johnson's car sits in the garage after a wreck at Charlotte (Photo courtesy Getty Images)
 Four other Chasers finished inside the Top 10; Kevin Harvick was 6th, Tony Stewart 8th, Denny Hamlin 9th, and Ryan Newman 10th.  Denny Hamlin's 9th place finish was his first Top 10 in the Chase.  Kurt Busch (13th), Brad Keselowski (16th), and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (19th) finished inside the Top 20.  Jeff Gordon was 21st.

Rick Hendrick was probably very happy to leave Charlotte.  The highest finishing Hendrick Motorsports car was Dale Earnhardt Jr.  Jeff Gordon finished a lap down, Jimmie Johnson finished 34th following his wreck, and Mark Martin finished 37th after a broken left front wheel hub.

Following the Bank of America 500, the Chase for the Sprint Cup point standings have been shaken up yet again.  This time, it seems Jimmie may have used his mulligan a little too early.  Jimmie finds himself down in the points with Talladega and Martinsville still to come.  Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick are still 1-2 in the standings, separated by only 5 points.  Here are the points after Charlotte, courtesy of

The Chase has been shaken up, and it's about to get a little more dicey.  The Sprint Cup Series will pull into Talladega Superspeedway this weekend, where anything can happen.  After this race, we should see a better outlook of who will compete for the Championship.  If a driver can avoid a big wreck, they will move one step closer to hoisting the Sprint Cup Trophy.

On the right, you can follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, add me to your circles on Google+, and add me as a friend on PSN.  See you around!

No comments:

Post a Comment