Gas 'N' Go: Which Champs Make Chase?

Brad Keselowski

Brad Keselowski celebrated his first Sprint Cup title in November. Will he get a chance to defend the crown this year? (Photo: Getty Images)

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The pits are open again and, MotorRacingNetwork.com's Pete Pistone and Dustin Long each answer this week's featured question in "Gas 'N' Go."

Will former champions Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch and Brad Keselowski make the Chase at Richmond?

MRN Staff Answer
Pete Pistone
Pete Pistone

There will be only two former Sprint Cup champs in the Chase after Saturday night's regular-season finale in Richmond and their names are Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth. Johnson, a five-time champ, locked himself in weeks ago. Even though he's been on a downward spiral the last three weeks, he'll have a chance for a sixth title. Kenseth may well be the No. 1 seed based on his five victories in his first year with Joe Gibbs Racing. That number could move up to six after Richmond.

Unfortunately, neither Jeff Gordon, Brad Keselowski nor Kurt Busch will join the other two former champs in this year's playoffs. Gordon has once again backed himself into a corner coming into Richmond, but, unlike last year, his Hail Mary bid to make the Chase will fall short. Keselowski will have the unflattering distinction of following his 2012 crown by missing the playoffs. And the storybook season for Busch and the single-car Furniture Row team will come up short of making the Chase if only by a whisker.

That leaves it up to Johnson and Kenseth to try and add another championship trophy to their mantles. 

Dustin Long
Dustin Long

I’ve been down on Kurt Busch’s chances in recent weeks because of his team, yet, he’s managed to remain in contention and enters Saturday night’s race 10th in the points. Four top-10 finishes in the last five races have won me over. I think Busch will lead Furniture Row Racing into the Chase.

As for Jeff Gordon and Brad Keselowski? I don’t see either making it.

I’m not convinced that Gordon’s team can get him back into the Chase. For Gordon to do so, he’s going to need someone in front of him to have a poor finish. It happened last year, but I don’t think he'll take advantage of it a second year in a row.

Keselowski needs too much to happen to make the Chase. If he makes it, it truly will be a wild night. 

 

Photos

  • 1994 Brickyard Winner: Jeff Gordon
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  • 1998 Brickyard Winner: Jeff Gordon
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  • 2000 Brickyard Winner: Bobby Labonte
  • 2001 Brickyard Winner: Jeff Gordon
  • 2002 Brickyard Winner: Bill Elliott
  • 2003 Brickyard Winner: Kevin Harvick
  • 2004 Brickyard Winner: Jeff Gordon
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