Found August 02, 2013 on
This weekend at Pocono will be the six-week mark until the 2013 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field is set. In just six short weeks I believe we are going to see some big names make it into the Chase field, but to me the bigger story will be the names that don't make it.
I think you would be foolish to discount the possibility of Jeff Gordon making the Chase. He's obviously got Hendrick power plants and he runs well at Pocono. Plus, it seems like the No. 24 bunch as a whole is getting more and more consistent. He could be one of the oddities as this Chase wild card situation is evolving. I actually can see a scenario where he can be consistent enough to actually hop over some guys and make the Chase field without a win during the regular season.
He is the only guy right now that I believe can do that right at the moment. I know at one time Kurt Busch had all the consistency in the world going his way and looked poised to make the Chase via being in the top 10 in points. Unfortunately, I think they've reached their high-water mark on that front, and if he wants to be in the Chase, he's going to have to win a race plus put good numbers up on the board to make it happen for the No. 78 car.
You can say the same thing about people like Joey Logano. It's going to take a win or multiple wins very, very quickly for them to make this 2013 Chase. I simply don't see anyone else out there other than Gordon that has the consistency to affect the wild card picture by pushing a Kasey Kahne or even a Greg Biffle out with the one win.
This weekend is one more piece of that puzzle as the Chase field picture becomes clearer, and it definitely is an exciting scenario. It's hard to believe I keep having to say this, but our defending series champion, Brad Keselowski, is in that same group. He's going to have to win for a chance to be in. It's just that simple and almost a given at this point for the No. 2 car.
There are just too many guys with the one win that will wind up outside the top 10. It really is going to come down to the wire between two or three teams about how this is all going to play out. Depending on how they are running, I can see where it can affect strategy in a couple different ways.
With the one win in your pocket, do you go for broke on, say, a fuel call deep into the race and try to secure that elusive second win? Or do you simply play it safe, go for the good points day and hope that one win still will be enough to get you into the Chase?
Richmond is coming at us fast. It's the last race of the regular season, and after that checkered flag, the 2013 Chase field will be set. So it's going to be really, really interesting to see who puts it all out there versus who plays it safe just to get the points. Risk versus reward is what you are going to be hearing about. You actually might see some players forced to change their strategy as the clock ticks toward Richmond.
We know the good teams will still run well. The real unknown is who is going to step up and surprise us within the next six weeks. I am waiting to see who comes out of the woodwork and mounts a last-minute charge. Whoever that is could upset a lot of 2013 Chase apple carts in the process. It sure is going to be exciting to watch!
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AROUND THE WEB
Jeff Gordon is the all-time leader in victories at the Pocono Raceway, site of this afternoon’s GoBowling.com 400. You’d think that means it should be a slam dunk for a great run for him. With the pressure mounting to stay in the Chase, Gordon knows he needs to perform and perform now.
“It’s a good track for us, a good place for us to come and fight and do battle like what...
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon are coming off of great finishes at Indianapolis, which may lead to success this weekend at Pocono. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/NASCAR via Getty Images).
By: Toby Christie – Follow on Twitter @Tobalical
Let’s start things by going back in time to this past January. If someone came up to you and was willing to put their life savings on the...
Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch and Brad Keselowski all are NASCAR champions who have won at Pocono.
That's not the only thing these drivers have in common. While all three are currently in the top 15 in the point standings with six races remaining in the Chase for the Sprint Cup -- there's not a single win among them in 2013.
If the Chase started tomorrow, Gordon, who is 10th...
Kasey Kahne got the jump on Jeff Gordon off the final restart with two laps left and pulled away to win at Pocono Raceway.
Kahne had the car to beat for the final half of Sunday's 400-mile race until a late caution bunched up the field. Gordon, his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, took the lead and seemed poised to win his first race of the season. After the final caution, Kahne...
Gordon Returns To Top 10; Next Stop…Victory Lane
One step forward, a heckuva lot more steps back.
Until recently, that’s been the road map of Jeff Gordon’s 2013 season. For much of 2013, any signs of momentum have been quickly squashed by trouble and bad luck.
That ninth-place finish at Phoenix that catapulted him into the top 10 in points? It was followed by a 25th at Las...
During race weekends there's always a level of uncertainty regarding what might unfold on the race track -- and who'll be left hoisting the trophy in Victory Lane.
This weekend is no different.
The uncertainty, however, doesn't end there.
As the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series approaches the beginning of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, the uncertainty surrounding the...
Photo- Getty Images
Even though it seemed as we were in Pocono a few weeks ago, it’s time to head back to the tricky triangle for a second go around. June featured another dominant performance by Jimmie Johnson and he’ll be looking to do the same thing again this weekend after coming so close at Indy last week. The ‘tricks’ Pocono has up its sleeves this weekend could come...