Monday, December 11, 2017
Sports

NASCAR Chase for the Championship capsules

Chase for the Championship at a glance

Matt Kenseth, No. 20 Toyota

New points: 2,015

Outlook: The 2003 Sprint Cup champion, in his first season with Joe Gibbs Racing, led in the regular season with five victories and has perhaps his best chance to win a title in the Chase era.

Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Chevy

New points: 2,012

Outlook: The five-time champion has led the standings almost all season (until Saturday), but the team hasn't really looked the part lately with finishes of 40th, 36th, 28th and 40th in the past four races.

Kyle Busch, No. 18 Toyota

New points: 2,012

Outlook: There has never been a question of his ability. Timing has always been his issue — of his 28 Sprint Cup victories, only one came in the Chase, in 2005. He owns a season-high 11 top-five runs this season.

Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Chevy

New points: 2,006

Outlook: He's headed for Stewart-Haas in 2014 but has not looked like a lame duck on his way out at Richard Childress Racing, with two wins and 13 top-10 finishes this season.

Carl Edwards, No. 99 Ford

New points: 2,006

Outlook: Solidly in the Chase all season, then took a huge leap Saturday, leading after the final restart and taking victory at Richmond, his first since February, to grab the top spot in regular-season points.

Joey Logano, No. 22, Ford

New points: 2,003

Outlook: "Sliced Bread" has finally started to live up to his hype this season, his first with Penske Racing. Has come on strong with six consecutive top-10s (including a win) before his midfield run at Richmond.

Greg Biffle, No. 16 Ford

New points: 2,003

Outlook: Too bad for him Michigan, site of four of his 19 career wins including this June, isn't a Chase race. The good news: He's a three-time winner at Homestead, site of the season finale.

Clint Bowyer, No. 15 Toyota

New points: 2,000

Outlook: He has been in the top five in points since April and his 11.8 average finish coming into Saturday tied Johnson for best in the series. But Chase glory lies in victory — preferably plural.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 Chevy

New points: 2,000

Outlook: Two victories in five-plus seasons with powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports tells its own story of disappointment, though this is his third consecutive season in the Chase.

Kurt Busch, No. 78 Chevy

New points: 2,000

Outlook: No wins, but that's the only feat missing from a remarkable year in which he has pulled one-car Furniture Row Racing up from mid-pack obscurity on his way to Stewart-Haas in 2014.

Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Chevy

New points: 2,000

Outlook: Kahne makes the Chase for the second time in two years with Hendrick Motorsports, but as a wild card, so he loses the six bonus points (thanks to two wins) he would have had by coming in the top 10 in points.

Martin Truex, No. 56 Toyota

New points: 2,000

Outlook: The Michael Waltrip Racing driver's road-course victory in June at Sonoma broke a drought of more than six years. His six top-five finishes are one away from his career best — and who knew his runnerup finish at Texas would be so critical?

Jim Tomlin, Times staff writer

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