Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Desperation brings out best, worst during NASCAR Chase

FORT WORTH, Texas — Jeff Gordon knows there could be some desperate drivers today trying to get what he already has — one of the four spots to race for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship in the season finale.

With Matt Kenseth starting a two-race suspension after intentionally wrecking Chase for the Championship contender Joey Logano last weekend at Martinsville, the big question with only two races before Homestead is if drivers will change their approach if racing for a win in the late laps.

"Nobody should have to tell you what happened at Martinsville was wrong," said Brad Keselowski, who has the pole for today's AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. "And if somebody has to tell you, then you should have never made it this far in the sport."

Kenseth's car was damaged in a wreck with Keselowski. Later, nine laps down, Kenseth drove race-leading Logano into the wall as retaliation for a crash they had three races earlier.

"Racing is racing. Guys have wrecked each other since racing started, okay? That's not going to change," said Martin Truex, who is third in points. "Guys get mad all the time. I think that people will go about it differently now because of what happened this week, for sure. How far that goes, I'm not real sure. We'll have to wait and see."

Kurt Busch told NBC Sports on Saturday that Keselowski had intentionally wrecked Kenseth.

Last November at Texas, Keselowski was unapologetic after bumping past a leading Gordon on a restart at Lap 335, one more than the race's scheduled length. Keselowski pushed through a gap and made contact with Gordon, who wound up 29th instead of getting a big playoff victory.

By winning at Martinsville, Gordon got to Texas already assured of racing at Nov. 22 Homestead-Miami Speedway for his fifth title before retiring.

Gordon said the goal today is a solid run. But he'd go for a win if he had a chance against another Chase contender to do it in a clean way — with one exception.

"If it is the No. 2 car (Keselowski), then that is going to be different," Gordon said.

"To just go do that to whoever I'm racing in the Chase when I feel like a little more desperate or because they were blocking me, and I didn't like that, I don't know if that is worth that," he said. "Because, in my opinion, that is going to come back to you in the next couple of weeks, possibly at Homestead."

There was no practice Saturday after overnight rains left the track too wet.

Xfinity: Brad Keselowski won the second-tier NASCAR series race at Texas, leading a race-high 62 of 200 laps and wrapping up a third consecutive owners' championship for team owner Roger Penske. The drivers' championship is undecided with two races left. Standings leader Chris Buescher finished 11th in the O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge and has a 24-point lead over defending champion Chase Elliott, who finished eighth.

Sprint Cup points

Driver Pts Back

Jeff Gordon* 4,047—

Kyle Busch 4,039 8

Martin Truex 4,039 8

Kevin Harvick 4,037 10

Carl Edwards 4,030 17

Brad Keselowski 4,013 34

Kurt Busch 4,011 36

Joey Logano 4,009 38

* Clinched advancement to finale

Today's race

AAA Texas 500, 2 p.m. , Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth

TV/radio: Ch. 8, 102.5-FM

Desperation brings out best, worst during NASCAR Chase 11/07/15 [Last modified: Saturday, November 7, 2015 9:08pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Longest home run at Trop and Erasmo Ramirez's pitching doom Rays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kevin Kiermaier returned. The problem was, so did Erasmo Ramirez.

    Seattle Mariners first baseman Yonder Alonso (10) scores on the double by Seattle Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz (23) in the first inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.
  2. Rays journal: Kevin Kiermaier returns, Mallex Smith sent to Triple A

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It didn't take CF Kevin Kiermaier long to make his presence felt during his return Friday to the Rays lineup. Kiermaier pretended to have Mariners DH Nelson Cruz's first-inning line drive lined up even as the ball went past him to his right and to the wall.

    Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) flies out in the first inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.
  3. Rays vs. Mariners, 6:10 p.m. Saturday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Mariners

    6:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    This is a 2017 photo of Jake Odorizzi of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team. This image reflects the 2017 active roster as of Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 when this image was taken. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  4. Bucs journal: Starting defense disappointed holding Jags to 1 rushing yard

    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE — The Bucs' starting defense held the Jaguars to a total of 1 rushing yard on seven carries in the first half of Thursday's 12-8 preseason win.

    And its members were disappointed.

    Jacksonville Jaguars running back T.J. Yeldon (24) is thrown for a 1-yard loss as he is stopped by Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David (54) and defensive end Robert Ayers (91) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) JVS102
  5. Jameis Winston's hardest lesson: He can't always save the day

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Ever wonder what in the world goes through Jameis Winston's mind when he tries to fit the ball in a keyhole as he is being dragged to the turf like he was during Thursday night's 12-8 preseason win over the Jaguars?

    Jameis Winston, left, tries to hang on to the ball as Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler tries to strip it from him.