November 20, 2015

The Championship Four Preview

Homestead-Miami Championship Race Preview

Kevin Harvick, Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, and Martin Truex Jr.
(L to R) will compete for the Sprint Cup Championship. (Getty)
There's one race left.

One race left to crown a champion.  One race left to leave a legacy.  One race left in Jeff Gordon's storied career.  This is it.  It all comes down to which of the four championship contenders finishes the highest (hopefully, first) on Sunday.

Here's a look at the four contenders and why they'll win the championship, following through on the opportunity will be up to them:

Kevin Harvick will win the championship because...

November 16, 2015

Magic Mile Power Rankings: Miami

Next Up: Ford EcoBoost 400 Championship Race
at Homestead-Miami Speedway

And then there were four. That's all that's left as the final race remains on the schedule: the Championship Race at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday.

While he won't be competing for this year's championship in South Florida, Dale Earnhardt Jr. continued the red-hot streak of Hendrick Motorsports, becoming the third straight driver in the organization to win a Chase race. Jeff Gordon, who will get a chance to race for the title on Sunday, won at Martinsville, six-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson won at Texas last week, and Junior picked up the victory in the rain-shortened race this past weekend at Phoenix International Raceway.

This being the last week of the season, here's a look at the rankings heading into the 36th and final race on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Fla.:

November 13, 2015

Phoenix: Three To Watch

Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500

Kevin Harvick won at Phoenix in March, his fourth
consecutive win at the track. (Getty Images)
There's one race left before The Race.  Phoenix International Raceway is the final opportunity for the seven Chase contenders not named Jeff Gordon to stake their claim on one of three remaining spots in the Championship Race at Homestead next Sunday.

For some drivers, that task will be harder than for others.  Joey Logano can only get in via a win, while the same fate is virtually true for Brad Keselowski and Kurt Busch.  At seven points back of the cut line, Carl Edwards sits in a position to vulture a spot on points if one of the top three in points slip up.  Those three are Kyle Busch (11 points to the good), Kevin Harvick (10 points) and Martin Truex Jr. (seven points).  As previously mentioned, Gordon is already through by virtue of his Martinsville win.

Here are three championship contenders to watch closely at Phoenix:

Green Flag - Kevin Harvick

He's won the last four (yes, four) Cup races at Phoenix.  Need we learn more about what makes him the favorite?

November 9, 2015

Magic Mile Power Rankings: Texas

Next Up: Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500at Phoenix International Raceway

The end of Sunday's race will only magnify and add intensity to the budding rivalry between Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth, who didn't even race on Sunday thanks to his two-race suspension. Jimmie Johnson, one of the most respected drivers in NASCAR, passed Brad Keselowski, who led a million laps on Sunday, with six laps remaining and pushed ahead for his first win since May 31, giving the 48 team a little boost in spite of being out of the Chase for the championship.

Logano's pass on Kenseth at Kansas has been the source of controversy over the last few weeks, and now fuel has been added to the fire as many believe the way Johnson went about his business on Sunday was the way Logano should have gone about his on Oct. 18. But that's an argument for another time.

With just two weeks remaining in the regular season, here's a look at the rankings heading into the 35th race on Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Ariz:

November 2, 2015

Magic Mile Power Rankings: Martinsville

Next Up: Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500at Martinsville Speedway

Getty Images
Well, that was quite the eventful Sunday at Martinsville Speedway now, wasn't it? From a budding rivalry renewed to a champion's sendoff, the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup championship has turned into a good old fashioned bar fight. Joey Logano, who looked well on his way to a fourth consecutive win, had his run spoiled by Matt Kenseth with a little more than 50 laps to go. That left the door open for Jeff Gordon, who drove right through, punching his ticket to the Championship Race at Homestead-Miami Speedway with his ninth career victory, the most by any driver in NASCAR history.

Now Gordon has a chance to end his career as a champion, earning an automatic bid into one of the four coveted spots for the Championship Race on Nov. 22.

With just three weeks remaining in the regular season, here's a look at the rankings heading into the 34th race on Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas: