Found August 08, 2012 on
With only five races until the 2012 NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup field is set, Hendrick Motorsports is on the verge of having all four cars in the championship-determining field.
That's a pretty remarkable rebound considering how both Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne struggled early on in the season.
Obviously there is a lot at stake in the Chase today. Having teammates in the Chase is extremely beneficial. The key, as with most everything, is communication. It's in everyone's best interest within the organization to maximize the opportunity before them.
If you look at Jeff Gordon, for example, he seems to have benefited from the break we had between the races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I think he and his No. 24 team did an excellent job of maximizing that off week when you look at how they ran in the Brickyard 400 and then obviously pulling off the win Sunday at Pocono Raceway.
With Kasey Kahne finishing second at Pocono, all four Hendrick cars were strong all day long. Now sure, Dale Earnhardt Jr. had the transmission problem, but up to that point he had been running really well. I think if he hadn't had the transmission woes, he clearly had a car capable of fighting for the win.
With his win Sunday, Jeff really changed the complexion of the wild-card race. His teammate Kasey currently holds one of the two wild-card spots and now Jeff has the other. Remember that only a week ago, all the talk was about Jeff not having any wins and that he probably was going to miss this year's Chase. All that changed Sunday afternoon when Mother Nature rained on everyone's parade, except for Jeff Gordon.
If you look at Stewart-Haas Racing, for example, that organization now faces a similar situation. Even though he has a win this season, because of where he is in the points, Ryan Newman is on the outside of the Chase window looking in. Naturally his teammate and owner, Tony Stewart is all but locked into the Chase, so now as an organization, Stewart-Haas Racing will be focused on doing whatever it takes to get Ryan into the Chase.
It's pretty much the same song over at Joe Gibbs Racing, but it now has a harder hurdle. Going into Pocono, the organization had two of its three cars in the Chase. Jeff Gordon's win and Kyle Busch's continued struggles bumped Jeff in and Kyle out.
Denny Hamlin is securely in, but like Ryan Newman, both Kyle and Joey Logano have a win this season but right now neither is in the Chase field. The marching orders in the Gibbs' camp obviously are do whatever is necessary to try and get Kyle and Joey into the Chase field.
All these teams realize the clock is running. In five short weeks, the 2012 Chase field will be set. The other interesting dynamic that I am not sure folks realize is have you noticed there really isn't any talk about who is leading the points going into the Chase? The focus isn't at the top of the charts, it's at the bottom and who will be able to hold onto those coveted 11th and 12th spots following that much-anticipated Saturday night under the lights at Richmond.
Taking that even a step further, the 10th position is not totally a given. So there are some teams that are sweating out the clock these next five races, like Clint Bowyer -- who is currently in that 10th spot.
I think all of us are in for a spectacular five-race battle just to get us to the Chase. You will have teams making an offensive charge, while at the same time, you will have teams taking a defensive stance in an attempt to not give up any ground.
I am not a big fan of taking a defensive position. I just believe if you take that approach you will end up losing. I maintain you go out there and run as hard as you can with the faith that the points will take care of themselves.
Like we tell you week after week, it's all about winning. That's where you can make up a lot of ground especially with the bonus points they get today.
If you are thinking about points right now, instead of thinking about winning, well in my book you are really thinking about losing. In our sport, today it's all about winning.
BEST OF MAXIM
The way qualifying had played out at Pocono Raceway, I felt Sunday was going to bring us some interesting storylines.
I also believed we were going to have some comers and goers. And that's how it all played out. In fact, if you look at our top-five finishers from Sunday, three of those drivers started outside the top 25.
Race winner Jeff Gordon finished 27th. Fourth-place...
A.J Allmendinger former driver of the No.22 Penske Dodge, failed a random drug test during the weekend of June 30; the race weekend at Kentucky. On July 24th, the driver had his “B Sample” tested; only hours later the sample came back positive as well.
Early last week, Allmendinger was released from his Penske Racing contract due to violating NASCAR’s substance abuse policy...
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to today’s NASCAR teleconference. We are joined by Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports. The four-time champion scored his first win of 2012 and his 86th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory Sunday.
Gordon has rerouted from a 35th place ranking following the Daytona 500...
THE MODERATOR: We have our race runner-up, our second-place finisher, Kasey Kahne. With this win today, it’s his 11th top-10 finish. Right now he is 11th in points, but he’s the number one person competitor as it pertains to the wildcard berth.
Kasey, big performance for you here today. You’re probably going to look back on this day here and say this was a good showing...
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will make both left and right hand turns for the second and final time of the season. The same batch of suspects will be the favorites as road racing is tough on a lot of drivers.
Last week, Jeff Gordon finally broke into the victory column and with Kyle Busch's recent troubles, Gordon took one of the wildcard spots from him. With Gordon and Busch...
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series makes it way to Watkins Glen International for Sunday’s Finger Lakes 355 At The Glen. Team Chevy is riding high after capturing the first and second positions at the Pocono Raceway. Jeff Gordon led the way by winning the rain shortened race and had teammate Kasey Kahne, on a flat tire, cross the finish line right behind him. Here is a break down on...
Of the two road courses on the Sprint Cup schedule, Watkins Glen International is the older one, having hosted its first race in 1948. This weekend, it will host its 30th Cup event, the Finger Lakes 355, the 22nd race of the season.
Last weekend's winner at Pocono, Jeff Gordon, holds the all-time record for laps led at the 2.454-mile course with 233; in 19 career Glen...
It's the time of year when Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus are fine-tuning their nefarious operations with the confidence of making the Chase, while other teams are still fighting to make the Chase, and yet others have already thrown in the towel and are thinking about 2013.
Okay, I exaggerate. There are several other teams besides the No. 48 that can assume they'll make...
The weekend's action at Pocono featured more dominating performances by the Hendrick drivers, although even though an HMS man won the race, it wasn't either of the two who looked to have winning cars. No matter. All four are now in position to make the Chase.
Which drivers are on the move after a wild and wet afternoon in the Poconos? Read on to find out.
Road Course 101: Love Them Or Learn Them
Road courses. Some drivers love them – think Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon – and others go because they’re part of the 36-race NSCS schedule.
But no competitor or team takes them for granted.
“Yeah, [it’s] pretty much just another race now,” said Kevin Harvick, winner at The Glen in 2006. “I think everybody knows that...
Nascar Evaluating Severe Weather Procedures After
Pocono Storm Kills 1, Injures 9 Fans
Nascar has decided to work with tracks across the country to come up with a safety plan to allow fans to get to their cars quickly in the wake of tragedy Sunday at Pocono Raceway.
Brian Zimmerman, a 41-year-old NASCAR fan from Pennsylvania, was killed by a lightning strike approximately seven minutes...