There is no question that NASCAR's Chase for the Sprint Cup is now down to just two drivers.
Clint Bowyer, in third, is 36 points out, which is a lot of points. Thirty-six points, especially when you factor in the number of start-and-park drivers that we have, that's getting close to a full race out. Forty-eight points is the most you can earn in one race and he's only 12 points shy of a full race tally behind - and that's not even including those four, five, six drivers that pull in early in the race, which certainly makes that points total that you can gain in a race smaller.
The interesting thing, not that it get a lot of focus when you look at how tough this championship battle has gotten, but I look at Matt Kenseth in fifth all the way back to Greg Biffle, in 10th, those six drivers, they're separated by 11 points.
There's a lot of pride in finishing in the top five in points. There's a lot of pride in finishing in the top five in a race and there's a lot of pride in a top-five finish in the points.
Obviously now the focus is on the championship and the bottom line is, not that these drivers think much about it, but the money difference between finishing fifth and 10th, I would say is several hundred thousand drivers.
We've only got two drivers that are mathematically eliminated because they are more than 96 points out, and that's Kevin Harvick - who finally did get a top-10 finish, his first in the Chase, Sunday at Texas - and Dale Earnhardt Jr., for the obvious reason of missing two races, who also had a good run and finished seventh at Texas Sunday.
I would say we've got a dogfight for the championship, and that's what we'll be putting our full focus on for these next two races, but boy have we got a battle for fifth through 10th.