NASCAR: The Chase After Kansas Is Up For Grabs

By James Williams
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

NASCAR had a wild weekend in Kansas with the winner of the Hollywood Casino 400 going to Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 29 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet. For Havick, the win put him squarely in contention in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship with just six races left on the 2013 schedule.

Matt Kenseth, the pilot of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, is still sitting atop the points standings. However, his lead is is very slim at this point as the familiar N0. 48 of Jimmie Johnson‘s Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet is sitting just three points back.

Havick moved into the third spot at 25 points back, followed by Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports partner Jeff Gordon, who has his No. 24 Chevrolet just 32 points off the pace. The top five is rounded out by another Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, the No. 18 car of Kyle Busch, who is just 35 points behind his teammate at the moment.

This week, we are headed to Charlotte for a prime time Saturday night race, the Bank of America 500. As most of you know, this is considered a home race since the top teams and their drivers live within about a 50-mile radius of the speedway.

The last time that NASCAR was here was for the Coca Cola 600 on Memorial Day weekend. The winner that evening was the man who won yesterday in Kansas — none other than Mr. Harvick. If we go by the numbers, the most successful team at  Charlotte since 2011 has been Joe Gibbs Racing, followed closely by Roush Fenway Racing.

I will let you draw your own conclusion for now, and I will give race fans my thoughts on who will win come Saturday later in the week. For fans of the Chase, there is very good news and that is the fact that with six more races to go, there are at least seven or eight drivers who can get hot and win this.

After Charlotte, there is Talladega, Martinsville, Texas, Phoenix and the season-ending race in Homestead-Miami. So we have, give or take, 2900 laps over six very different tracks before the Chase draws to a close sometime in the cool night air of South Florida on November 17.

My suggestion for now is to sit back and enjoy it, because the final chapter in this book on the 2013 Sprint Cup season is far from over.

Rant Sports columnist James Williams is a seven time Emmy Award winning producer, director and writer. Follow him on Twitter @Wordmandc and add him to your Google circles.

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