Fuel & Tires: In do or die scenario, Harvick survives to advance in Chase
Well, it looks like Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch did exactly what they had to do to stave off elimination in NASCAR's Chase for the Sprint Cup. Harvick took the win Sunday at Dover International Speedway while Busch finished second to advance to the next round. I must admit I had my doubts.
Winning was going to be about the only way for defending champion Harvick to advance to the next Chase round and he dominated by leading 355 of the 400 laps at a track he'd never won at. Unlike last weekend at New Hampshire, Harvick had enough fuel to seal the deal.
The four drivers failing to advance to the next Chase round include six-time champion Jimmie Johnson, who had mechanical issues Sunday and finished 41st. Jamie McMurray, Paul Menard and Clint Bowyer were also eliminated following Sunday's race. McMurray actually tied Dale Earnhardt Jr. in points, but since Earnhardt finished ahead of McMurray, McMurray lost the tiebreaker.
Twelve drivers will now battle through the three-race Contender round before the four lowest in points are eliminated from contention:
1. Matt Kenseth
2. Joey Logano
3. Denny Hamlin
4. Carl Edwards
5. Martin Truex Jr.
6. Kurt Busch
7. Jeff Gordon
8. Brad Keselowski
9. Kyle Busch
10. Ryan Newman
11. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
12. Kevin Harvick
Prior to the next race, all twelve drivers' points are reset to 3000. The three races in the Contender Round include Charlotte Motor Speedway, Kansas Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. The wild-card race will certainly be Talladega, where a driver is most likely to get caught up in accident not of their doing and have a bad finish.
If I had to pick who will be eliminated following the next three races, I say Newman, Earnhardt Jr., Kurt Busch and Keselowski will miss out on advancing to the Eliminator round. But anything can happen and with the way this Chase has gone so far, anything will.