AVONDALE, Ariz. — As the NASCAR Sprint Cup season enters its penultimate race, the Can-Am 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, it appears as things cordial are out the window, even for teammates.
Throughout the Chase, many teammates have taken it easier on each other than in recent seasons. There has been much more give than take, especially with a championship on the line.
This Sunday however, things look to change, as only four drivers will be eligible for a chance at the Sprint Cup title by race’s end.
Two of those names are already locked in, as Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards have won in the third round and are the only two safe under the Arizona sun.
The final six drivers are Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch and Kevin Havick.
Of those half-dozen names, three belong to Joe Gibbs Racing in Kyle Busch, Hamlin and Kenseth.
All three have shown speed all season and have shown their muscle when it is necessary. As far as the reigning Cup series champion, Kyle Busch has openly said that will do whatever it takes, even wrecking his teammate, in order to ensure his spot in the Championship 4 and a chance to defend his title.
The other duo of teammates come from the Stewart-Haas Racing stable. Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick enter this weekend in a must win situation, as they both have had poor luck in this third round. The two haven’t been the best of buddies in this Chase, with tempers getting the better of the two at Talladega that resulted in Harvick hitting Busch in the helmet on pit lane following an altercation on the track.
Some teams prefer their drivers to race each other hard, but never to wreck each other. With a championship on the line however, all bets may be off.
Four will walk away from PIR contending for the title, while four will walk away thinking about what they could have done differently. There is no time left to play nice and to let the teammate in. In a sport where it’s all about you, it comes down to 312 laps. 312 laps all about you.
Otherwise you could find yourself on the outside heading into the off season, thinking about what could have been instead of what you did accomplish.
The opinions expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of Race Chaser Online, the Performance Motorsports Network, Scorpion Radio Group, their sponsors or other contributors.
About the Writer
Rence Brown is Race Chaser Online’s West Coast-based correspondent, who currently resides in California and carries a deep passion for NASCAR, but is a follower of multiple forms of auto racing across multiple disciplines.
Brown, 23, is going back to school to pursue a journalism degree at Pierce College
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