CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Blog by RaceChaser Senior Editor Tom Baker – Sean Gardner/Getty Images North America photo — NASCAR fans across the globe will be focused on the “Windy City” this weekend as the action descends upon Chicagoland. Most of the talk has been centered around the Sprint Cup Series “Chase”, but all three of the national series are competing there and they all have close points races.
In the Cup Series, Brad Keselowski goes into this weekend with a three point lead. There are four drivers tied for second – Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Jimmie Johnson and Joey Logano. Remember, there are three elimination rounds in this year’s chase. Four drivers will be eliminated every three races.
Winning will be at a premium, as a win buys you a ticket into the next round. I believe this will make each of the “chase” races much more exciting because you cannot depend on “points racing” to get you to Homestead with a shot.
Neither the Nationwide Series nor the Camping World Truck Series has a “chase” style format. In these two series, the champion is determined on the basis of all scheduled races.
The Nationwide Series finds Chase Elliott with a 19 point lead over his teammate Regan Smith going into this weekend. Ty Dillon is 42 points back in third, with Elliott Sadler and Brian Scott 54 and 57 points behind, respectively, in fourth and fifth.
While it would seem that the JR Motorsports crew is “in the drivers seat” going into the homestretch, it has been proven time and time again that anything can happen when it’s all on the line. Watch for Chase Elliott to really shine in the next several weeks as he seeks to wrap up his first Nationwide title and look toward some starts in the Sprint Cup Series in 2015.
Dillon, Sadler and Scott are going to need to find ways to win, however, if they are going to stay in mathematical contention very much longer, provided Chase and Regan keep finishing in the top 10.
Just 13 points seperate the top three in the Camping World Truck Series. Johnny Sauter has 524 points, ThorSport Racing teammate Matt Crafton has 517 and Ryan Blaney is representing Brad Keselowski Racing with 511 points in third.
The standings in this series are surprising to many, because much of the conversation has been focused all season around Kyle Busch Motorsports. But KBM uses multiple drivers in the No. 51 truck, so that truck wins a lot of races but doesn’t contend for the driver’s championship. Darrell Wallace sits in fourth right now for KBM, so they do have one truck in the top five. He’s 38 points out of first.
Mexican racer German Quiroga has had a consistent season and he rounds out the top five.
Let’s hope for circumstances to dictate close championship races all the way to Homestead!