What role will teammates play in the Sprint Cup Championship showdown?

When the NASCAR Sprint Cup circus comes to Homestead this Sunday for the final race of the 2010 season, only three drivers will have a shot at the point’s championship. Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, and Kevin Harvick are the only three drivers in it due to the math, and NACAR has not had a season ending race like this since 1992. That year three men (Alan Kulwicki, Davey Allison, and Bill Elliott) entered the final race with a shot at the title. Of course NASCAR was a very different place in 1992. The 1992 contenders had a grand total of one teammate (#22 Sterling Marlin also ran out of the Junior Johnson shop with Elliott). This year the three men have a total of seven teammates, and one has to wonder how that will factor into the championship hunt.

Surely The Hendrick boys, the Joe Gibbs boys, and the Richard Childress boys will race the competition tough. I am not talking about the other 32 guys actually racing this weekend. I am talking about the three contenders. If Harvick, Hamlin, or Johnson find themselves behind or next to the teammates of their fellow championship contenders I would expect them to battle for each position like they were trying to win the race.

However, I do not think any one of the seven teammates to will intentionally cause the three contenders to wreck. To do so would invite the wrath of NACAR, and further turn NASCAR fans away from this sport. Racing is racing and I do expect the seven teammates to not make life easy for the championship contenders, but there is a line here and I would be weary of any driver stepping across it. I have no idea what NASCAR would do in that case, but you can bet it would be quite severe.

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