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CP MOTORSPORTS – MONTE DUTTON: RACING A RATTLESNAKE

Seldom has NASCAR made more sense than in the first two races of the second segment of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Come to think of it, seldom has NASCAR made sense at all, but that’s a recurring theme from which I shall today depart.

Since NASCAR began its Chase format in 2004, Jimmie Johnson has won six championships. He won at Charlotte. Since NASCAR began the current version of the Chase in 2014 – 16 to 12 to eight to four, over 10 races – the only driver who has advanced to every round is Kevin Harvick. He won at Kansas.

ENFINGER SCORES FIRST TRUCK WIN; CHASE FIELD NARROWED TO SIX

 

In the race that decided the lineup for the Round of 6 in the inaugural NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase, Alabama native Grant Enfinger stole the thunder from the playoff drivers in Saturday’s Fred’s 250 at Talladega Superspeedway.

With a strong push from GMS Racing teammate and Chase driver Ben Kennedy after a restart on Lap 93 of 94, Enfinger surged to the front and stayed there in the face of a last-lap challenger from another teammate, Spencer Gallagher, who came home second, .108 seconds behind the winner.

CP MOTORSPORTS - HARVICK EXTENDS HIS CHASE WITH KANSAS VICTORY

 

He did it again.

Last in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings and faced with an uphill struggle to make the Round of 8, Kevin Harvick and his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing team did what they do best—win with their backs to the wall.

Moments after a restart on Lap 238 of 267, Harvick cleared Carl Edwards for the lead through Turns 1 and 2 at Kansas Speedway and pulled away to win Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 by 1.183 seconds.

CP MOTORSPORTS - KYLE BUSCH SNAGS ANOTHER XFINITY WIN

 

Kyle Busch’s domination of Saturday’s Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway was about the only predictable thing that happened in the first race of the Round of 8 in the inaugural NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase.

In winning his fourth XFINITY race at the 1.5-mile track, his ninth of the season and the 85th of his career—extending his own series record—Busch led 150 of 200 laps, passing Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Daniel Suarez after a restart with 13 circuits remaining.

KENSETH SCORES KANSAS POLE POSITION

Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 DEWALT FLEXVOLT Toyota, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying in the pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on October 14, 2016 in Kansas City, Kansas.

TRUEX TO MAKE 400TH CAREER START IN KANSAS

Martin Truex Jr., who will make his 400th career Sprint Cup Series start in Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway, is keenly aware of the stakes at hand as the high-pressure Chase continues to unfold.

After winning two of the three races in the first round of the Chase, the Furniture Row Racing driver slipped to a 13th-place finish in the opening race of Round 2 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He was running in the top three when the clutch malfunctioned while leaving his pit stall with fewer than 30 laps remaining.

The good news for Truex is that he returns to Kansas where he has come close to winning a number of times, including at this year’s spring race. As was the case at Kansas in May, Truex will drive the No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Toyota Camry.

CP MOTORSPORTS – MONTE DUTTON: TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND WAIT A WEEK

Jimmie Johnson is now the favorite to win the Sprint Cup championship. That’s what Las Vegas says. Last week the favorite was Martin Truex Jr., and, before that, Kevin Harvick.

It doesn’t seem that complicated, this prognosticating biz. Every week the guy who wins becomes the favorite. I thought oddsmakers might use all those statistics like the ones in baseball and politics. I expected to read about how the IQX crossed the Maginot Line, and a cross-pollination of the VNC in regard to the QXY revealed an SFZ that correlated to a Johnson title.

CP MOTORSPORTS: TOM HIGGINS: REMEMBERING THE RUDD-EARNHARDT WAR

 

There always seemed to be an uneasy peace between Dale Earnhardt and Ricky Rudd during their NASCAR glory years in the 1980s.

But there was a sense that a fuse was burning slowly behind the scenes and the fireworks it was attached to could explode at any time.

That moment came on Oct. 17, 1988 during the Holly Farms 400 at North Wilkesboro Speedway.

The two clashed angrily with their cars on the track and then with strong words and name-calling in the garage area afterward. The incident triggered the most ill will seen on NASCAR’s major tour that season.

LOGANO SWIPES VICTORY AT RAIN-DELAYED DRIVE FOR THE CURE 300

 

If stealing a race were against the law, there would be an arrest warrant out for Joey Logano on Sunday night.

Grabbing the lead from Kyle Larson after a restart on Lap 183 of 200, Logano held off a charging Elliott Sadler by .462 seconds to win the Drive for the Cure 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the event that trimmed the inaugural NASCAR XFINITY Chase field from 12 drivers to eight.

CP MOTORSPORTS - JOHNSON CLAIMS CHARLOTTE AS FIVE DRIVERS FALL ON HARD TIMES

 

After Sunday’s victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Jimmie Johnson can proclaim justifiably "The Boys are Back in Town."

But for five other Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers, all of whom finished 30th or worse in the rain-delayed Bank of America 500, the race ended in a medley of dire straits.

Taking the lead from Matt Kenseth after a restart on Lap 317 of 334, Johnson pulled away to win by 1.474 seconds over the driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Johnson put his No. 48 Chevrolet in Victory Lane for the third time this season, the eighth time at Charlotte – the third since the repaving of the track in March 2006 – and the 78th time in his career.

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