There may be one race left before the “Chase” – or championship – for the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, but the excitement for the series’ conclusion is already burning as hot as the race cars’ tires on the track.
The top 10 standings for the series have been shuffled once again after the AdvoCare 500 race at the Atlanta Motor Speedway on September 2nd, wherein No. 18 Toyota Camry driver Kyle Busch not only won the checkered flag but also jumped to 5th place. Busch won by crossing the finish line merely .740 seconds before 23-year-old No. 22 Ford Fusion driver Joey Logano.
Jimmie Johnson remains the number one in the standings with 837 points, followed by Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards. In 6th place is Matt Kenseth, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr., Joey Logano, Greg Biffle and Kurt Busch.
Kyle Busch Rises as Early Chase Favorite
Fresh from winning the AdvoCare 500 race and a guaranteed spot in the Chase for the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, 28-year old Kyle Busch appeared to be keen on winning his first Cup title, especially after a failed attempt just a year ago. Many race analysts – and even more Busch fans – are already cheering Busch to keep his momentum, and eagerly await his performance in the series finale.
Busch holds some of the most impressive NASCAR records. He has had the most wins – 24 to be exact – in one NASCAR season across three series in 2010. In the same year, he was also the first to win all top three touring series in one weekend. Years before that, Busch became the youngest pole winner in NASCAR’s cup series at 19 years old. He began a career in racing as a crew member of his older brother Kurt’s car team when he was 10 years old. He became a professional NASCAR driver at 16, and now competes in the Sprint Cup Series alongside his 35-year-old brother – and fellow NASCAR title holder – Kurt, who currently ranks 10th in the standings.
NASCAR Drivers Stir “Side Action”, Drama
Stealing some spotlight from the racetrack are No. 24 Drive to End Hunger/Axalta Coating Systems Chevrolet SS driver Jeff Gordon and No. 99 Ford Fusion driver Carl Edwards. The two came close to wrecking each other’s race car on more than one occasion at the recent AdvoCare 500 race at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.
The first incident happened when Gordon slid to the front of Edwards, who then appeared to attempt to return the “favor” later in the race. Both drivers were visibly displeased after the race. In a televised interview, Gordon said that he apologized to Edwards for sliding past him in the first incident, but told viewers that Edwards received his apology poorly and did not apologize for his own actions. Finishing in 6th place in Atlanta, Gordon now ranks 11th in the standings and is still striving to claim a berth in the Chase.
In a separate statement, Edwards openly admitted to being mad at Gordon, who he said was the “aggressor” in the incident. He also said that Gordon’s action did not give him an opportunity to maximize his race car, although he was able to secure a spot in the Chase. He currently ranks 4th in the standings with 795 points.
The season’s regular season finale will be held at the Richmond International Raceway, where the list of the 12 drivers who will compete in the Chase will be finalized.