Monday, October 4, 2010

California Storylines: Pepsi Max 400

The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup heads into its fourth race, at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. – the Pepsi Max 400. The NASCAR Nationwide Series also will run at Kansas, with Saturday’s Camping World 300.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has an open week, returning to action Oct. 23 at Martinsville Speedway.
The GRAND-AM Road Racing season, meanwhile, is complete, with the Rolex Series and Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge looking to the 2011 season-opening races at Daytona International Speedway Jan. 28-30.
Storylines follow:
Closest Chase Ever Thus Far
Believe it: only 101 points separate the top nine drivers in the points, coming out of Kansas, the third event in the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
And to take it a step further, the top three – Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick – are separated by only 30 points.
Back On Top
It’s an ominous sign. Jimmie Johnson, the four-time defending series champion, has reclaimed the points lead, after finishing second at Kansas. The Chase is Johnson’s time of year. It’s up to his Chase rivals to change that.
Biffle Is After a Title – And Some History
No one has ever won championships in all three of NASCAR’s national series – NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck. Greg Biffle, winning this past Sunday at Kansas has a chance to do so.
Biffle won the truck title in 2000, the Nationwide title in 2002. He came close to a career sweep in 2005, finishing second to Tony Stewart by only 35 points.
Biffle is up to eighth in the standings, 85 behind Johnson.
Gordon Looms – Still
Four-time series champion Jeff Gordon ran fifth at Kansas and he’s up to fifth in the points.
 And remember, he’s hung tough all year despite the fact that he hasn’t won a race.
Auto Clubbin’
California natives Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon are 1-2 on the all-time win list at Auto Club Speedway, Johnson with four and Gordon with three (tied with Matt Kenseth).
Johnson goes into this weekend as the Pepsi Max 400’s three-time defending champion.

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