Fuel and Tires

All about auto racing with Gazette staffer Dave von Falkenstein.

Fuel & Tires: Who else will vie for Sprint Cup title?

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Dave von Falkenstein
November 13, 2015

Sunday marks NASCAR Sprint Cup's penultimate race at Phoenix International Raceway. Only Jeff Gordon has clinched a spot in the Championship round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

The Championship round is the fourth and final round of this season's Chase for the Sprint Cup and will include four drivers. The Sprint Cup title will be decided between those four drivers at next Sunday's season finale.

Of the eight drivers eligible to advance, only Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick can advance without a win. According to jayski.com, Busch has to finish third or better; fourth with at least one lap led; or fifth with the most laps led. Harvick will clinch a spot with a finish of second or better; third with at least one lap led; or fourth with the most laps led.

Martin Truex Jr., Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch and Joey Logano must win to make it to the Championship Round.

Keselowski led a race-high 312 of 334 laps Sunday at Texas, but non-Chase contender Jimmie Johnson passed Keselowski with less than five laps to go to take the win. Keselowski's teammate Logano blew a tire after only ten laps and ended up finishing 40th. The Penske teammates have a combined seven wins this season and have both run well at Phoenix, but it'll be a tall order to beat Harvick.

Harvick is certainly the favorite to make it through to the next round as he has won the last four races at Phoenix and has a total of seven wins at the track. Look for him to get up front early and not look back.

Edwards has won at Phoenix twice while each of the Busch brothers has one win at the track. If you're going to count on Harvick winning, it will all depend on where the points shake out behind him.

While it'd be great to see Truex and his one-car team battle the Sprint Cup behemoths for the title at the finale, I just don't see it happening. Truex has recorded eight top-ten finishes in 19 starts at the track, but never better than fifth.

What this all basically means is that it will be a hell of a lot of fun to watch those six drivers fight to lead laps and ultimately win the race.

I think the Championship round will include Harvick, Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards fighting Gordon for the championship next weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Dave von Falkenstein is a digital content coordinator for The Gazette and an auto racing fan. Follow him on Twitter at @achtungvon or email him at [email protected].

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