Tuesday, October 15, 2013

2013 NASCAR Championship Chase: Matt Kenseth v Jimmie Johnson

Matt Kenseth won the fall Talladega race last season
During his run to last year's title, Brad Keselowski came up with an apt description of the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship when he called it "a 10-round heavyweight title bout." Indeed, it seems the Chase usually comes down to a two-driver battle, with each of the 10 races representing one round. Last year it was Keselowski vs. Jimmie Johnson. In 2011 it was Tony Stewart vs. Carl Edwards. In 2010 it was Johnson vs. Denny Hamlin. And so on.

This year's Chase is following that same formula, with Matt Kenseth and Johnson (once again) quickly separating themselves from the rest of the field. Sure, Kevin Harvick, Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch still have a chance, especially if they are able to gain significant ground this coming Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. Big wrecks are a regular feature of the restrictor-plate track because of the pack racing that takes place there. And if Kenseth and Johnson are involved in one of those wrecks, then the points race could tighten in a hurry.

For now, however, this year's Chase has all the makings of another mano-a-mano battle that likely won't be decided until the final round. Currently, the two combatants are tied 2-2-1 on the hypothetical Chase fight scorecard. Kenseth came out swinging and staggered Johnson early, winning the first two rounds (at Chicago and New Hampshire) with race victories. Johnson responded with a win of his own in round three (at Dover), then narrowly took the fourth round (Kansas) on points by finishing sixth while Kenseth came in 11th. We'll call this past Sunday's fifth-round results (Charlotte) a draw, as Kenseth finished third and Johnson was fourth.

So with five rounds/races to go, here is the tale of the tape for Kenseth and Johnson at the remaining tracks in this year's Chase:

Reads More Here.......SI.com

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