Two Sprint Cup drivers are defying the “win and you’re in” mentality of this year’s Chase to the NASCAR championship. Both Ryan Newman and Matt Kenseth have not made it to the winner’s circle yet this season, but both men have made it to the third round of the Chase, known as the “eliminator” round.
Newman and Kenseth are two of the eight drivers vying for one of four spots in the final race of the Chase that will determine this year’s Sprint Cup champion. Sunday’s race in Texas is the second race in the eliminator round and Kenseth will lead the other Chase contenders at the start of the race since he won the Coors Light pole during qualifying.
As USA Today reported, the eight Chase contenders in the eliminator round failed to guarantee their spot in the Chase finale at Homestead by not winning last Sunday at Martinsville, which was the first eliminator race. That makes this week’s NASCAR race all the more important, especially for drivers that had trouble at Martinsville and are behind the other Chase drivers.
Kevin Harvick crashed in Martinsville and, despite his strong runs this season, he could face elimination if he doesn’t do well this Sunday. Currently, Harvick is 28 points behind the Chase leader, Jeff Gordon. Brad Keselowski also had a tough race at Martinsville, having mechanical issues with 65 laps to go, and is 25 points behind Gordon. Of course, if either of them win in this week’s race in Texas or the November 9 race in Phoenix, they automatically secure their spot in the Chase finale.
Even though neither man has made it to the Victory Lane this season, consistency has been the key for both Kenseth and Newman. As reported by Bleacher Report, Newman has had the best year of his NASCAR career and is in the No. 2 spot in the Chase going into the race at Texas Motor Speedway.
This is the second year in a row in the Chase for Kenseth, who is currently in fourth place in the Chase standings. In 2013, he made it to the winner’s circle seven times and placed second in the Sprint Cup Championship, 19 points behind Jimmy Johnson. Even though he hasn’t won yet in 2014, his consistency on the track has put him in contention to go to Homestead and race for the championship.
As the Inquisitr reported in August, Gordon is looking to win his 5th Sprint Cup championship and leads the Chase going into Sunday’s race. Even though “win and you’re in” is the Chase motto, being consistent seems to be working just as well.
[Image via NASCAR.com]