Skip to content

After Charlotte, Kenseth up four points on Johnson in Chase

Oct 13, 2013, 12:22 AM EDT

Matt Kenseth AP

What seemed to be a sure win for Jimmie Johnson tonight at Charlotte Motor Speedway instead went to Brad Keselowski. And what seemed to be the perfect situation for Johnson to overtake Matt Kenseth (pictured) for the lead in this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup instead ended with Kenseth still atop the standings with five races left.

Kenseth and Johnson ultimately finished third and fourth in the Bank of America 500. That effectively constitutes a draw, as Kenseth was only able to extend his lead in the Chase by one point to a margin of four as the scene shifts to Talladega Superspeedway next weekend.

But Kenseth will surely take it, especially as it appeared that Johnson would be the new Chase leader coming out of North Carolina this evening. He’d been crushing the competition in the middle stages of the race, but a debris caution with 27 laps left changed everything.

As the yellow waved, Johnson led the race leaders to the pits for their final stops of the night but dropped back to third when he took four tires, while Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne took two and grabbed first and second positions respectively.

Then, instead of capitalizing on his four fresh Goodyears, Johnson fell all the way back to seventh after a poor restart. He would regain three of those lost positions back, but an opportunity to seize control of the championship had vanished.

Still, Johnson – as usual – tried to keep on an even keel about the situation.

“I wish we’d finished better, but it was still a strong performance for the Lowe’s car,” Johnson said to ESPN. “I’m very proud of the effort – we had a fast car, great qualifying, great pit stops. Everything’s there. We’ll just keep doing our jobs and work at it week after week, and see what we can get.”

But with Charlotte in the rear view mirror, the biggest wild card in the post-season now beckons. Nothing more and nothing less than a 200 mile-per-hour game of Russian Roulette, Talladega and its dreaded “Big One” can wipe out championship dreams in an instant.

For his part, Kenseth emphasized both Dega’s unpredictable nature and the fact that he still has the Chase lead when asked about what awaits him and the rest of the Chasers in Alabama.

“Jimmie’s certainly been strong in the [restrictor] plate races and Harvick’s always been good there, but you never really know what’s going to happen at Talladega,” he said.

“But I’m glad we’re still in the lead. We have a lot of racing to do, we made it through the first half of [the Chase] and have maintained a very small lead, so it’s better than being behind. We’ll go to Talladega, race hard, hope our car has some speed in it, and be able to hang up front.”

Latest Posts
  1. IndyCar: RHR earns second quarter Driver of the Year award

    Jul 24, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT

    Ryan Hunter-Reay AP

    Ryan Hunter-Reay earns another award after his Indianapolis 500 win.

  2. Button pleased with McLaren progress; no word on 2015

    Jul 24, 2014, 2:30 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Hungary - Previews Getty Images

    McLaren driver no closer to deciding his future, but is happy with how things are going in recent weeks.

  3. PWC: Cindric, Bove to race for charity at Mid-Ohio

    Jul 24, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    SOWF

    Pirelli World Challenge President/CEO Scott Bove and 15-year-old rising star Austin Cindric to race a GTS Ford Mustang Boss for charity at Mid-Ohio weekend.

  4. Sutil feeling confident about Hungary and his F1 future

    Jul 24, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Hungary - Previews Getty Images

    Sauber driver pleased with his pace in Germany, and cares little for the question marks about his future.

  5. Pirelli confirms tire allocations up to Singapore

    Jul 24, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Germany - Previews Getty Images

    Italian tire supplier confirms its selections for the Belgian, Italian and Singapore Grands Prix.

  6. Report: Deal for Marcos Ambrose’ return to Australia to race V8 Supercars for Roger Penske may be close

    Jul 24, 2014, 12:54 PM EDT

    (Photo: Scott Halleran/Getty Images) Getty Images

    While it’s seemed Marcos Ambrose was a lock to return to Richard Petty Motorsports, especially with all the positive things he’s said about wanting to stay in recent weeks and months, a report Thursday has Ambrose leaving NASCAR after this season and returning to his native Australia to race V8 Supercars — potentially for a new team owned by iconic American race team owner Roger Penske.

  7. Alonso: Raikkonen having the same difficulties as me

    Jul 24, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT

    Canadian F1 Grand Prix Getty Images

    Ferrari driver has few qualms about Kimi’s difficulties in 2014.

  8. Former Brickyard 400 winner Bobby Labonte to compete in Sunday’s race for Tommy Baldwin Racing

    Jul 24, 2014, 12:03 PM EDT

    bobby labonte Getty Images

    Former Brickyard 400 winner Bobby Labonte will be returning to race at the fabled Indianapolis Motor Speedway in this Sunday’s 21st running of the Brickyard.

  9. MotorSportsTalk’s Predictions: Hungarian GP

    Jul 24, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Hungary - Previews Getty Images

    Our writing team makes its predictions for this weekend’s race at the Hungaroring.

  10. Alexander Rossi joins Marussia as reserve driver

    Jul 24, 2014, 11:35 AM EDT

    © Marussia F1 Team © Marussia F1 Team

    American youngster joins Marussia as its official reserve driver with immediate effect.

  11. Massa still adamant that Germany crash was not his fault

    Jul 24, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Germany - Race Getty Images

    Brazilian driver compares it to incident at the beginning of the Australian Grand Prix with Kamui Kobayashi.

  12. Bernie Ecclestone confirms Mexican GP for 2015

    Jul 24, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Germany Getty Images

    Formula 1 will return to the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez next year for the first time since 1992.

  13. 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix Preview

    Jul 24, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Hungary - Previews Getty Images

    One final chapter to the first half of the 2014 F1 season at the Hungaroring this weekend, a track that has suited Lewis Hamilton very well over the years.

  14. IndyCar: Nearly the entire field set for Mid-Ohio test today

    Jul 24, 2014, 8:30 AM EDT

    Honda Indy 200 At Mid-Ohio - Day 3 Getty Images

    Six teams, 17 cars set to test at Mid-Ohio ahead of IndyCar race there next week.

  15. Bubba Wallace dominates to win MudSummer Classic at Eldora (updated)

    Jul 23, 2014, 10:46 PM EDT

    Darrell Wallace Jr. AP

    Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. and Kyle Larson put on a spectacular battle in the final 40-lap segment of Wednesday’s second MudSummer Classic at Eldora Speedway, but it was Wallace holding on for the win.

  16. Bubba Wallace still in the lead going into final 40-lap segment of MudSummer Classic at Eldora

    Jul 23, 2014, 10:19 PM EDT

    (AP Photo/Butch Dill) AP

    Darrell Wallace Jr. continues to lead after 110 laps (at the time of a second and final mandatory competition caution) in Wednesday night’s MudSummer Classic at Eldora Speedway.

  17. Bubba Wallace leads after first of three segments in MudSummer Classic at Eldora

    Jul 23, 2014, 9:42 PM EDT

    BubbaEld1 Getty Images

    At the end of the first segment of Wednesday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series MudSummer Classic at Eldora Speedway, it’s Darrell Wallace Jr. in the lead.

  18. All heat results from MudSummer Classic at Eldora

    Jul 23, 2014, 9:18 PM EDT

    mudsummer classic logo

    For those of you keeping score at home, here’s the results of all five heat races and the “last chance” race prior to Wednesday night’s second annual MudSummer Classic at Eldora Speedway.

  19. Kurt Busch 25th in Sprint Cup points — IndyCar, too

    Jul 23, 2014, 9:06 PM EDT

    kurt busch indy car 2 AP

    Thanks to a statistical quirk, Kurt Busch is ranked in the same place in the points standings in both the Sprint Cup Series and Verizon IndyCar Series.

  20. NASCAR America: Almirola and Hornish on what makes the Brickyard 400 so important

    Jul 23, 2014, 6:52 PM EDT

    hornish at newton win

    On Wednesday’s edition of NASCAR America, Aric Almirola and Sam Hornish Jr. discussed some of the biggest wins of their careers and talk about the importance of the Brickyard 400 on the NASCAR calendar.

Today on NASCAR AMERICA

More from NASCAR America

Brickyard 400 is 'a big deal'

Featured video

Inside scoop with Adrian Sutil
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. K. Kahne (811)
  2. T. Stewart (780)
  3. J. Gordon (668)
  4. B. Scott (603)
  5. C. Edwards (569)