Sunday, November 10, 2013

Harvick Wins, Sixth Title In Sight For Johnson

For the fourth time in 2013, Kevin Harvick is a winner in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series as the Californian keeps his championships hopes alive heading into the season finale next week at Homestead.

Harvick passed Carl Edwards coming to the white flag as Edwards ran out of fuel. Kasey Kahne finished second ahead of teammate Jimmie Johnson who will have a twenty-eight point lead over Matt Kenseth entering Homestead. All Johnson will have to do is finish better than twenty-third and he will have his sixth championship.

Kenseth was leading the point standings at one point during this race but a sloppy pit stop cost him and the 2003 Cup Series champion never recovered, finishing one lap down in twenty-third.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Kurt Busch rounded out the top five with Juan Pablo Montoya finishing sixth in his penultimate round with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing as he will be heading to IndyCar to drive for Roger Penske. Kyle Busch was the top Toyota in seventh, ahead of Martin Truex, Jr. and the top Ford of Joey Logano in ninth. Ryan Newman finished tenth in his penultimate round for Stewart Haas Racing as he will be heading to Richard Childress Racing in 2014.

Johnson leads Kenseth by twenty-eight and Harvick by thirty-four entering Homestead. These are the final three drivers mathematically eligible for the championship. Kyle Busch is fourth in the standings with Earnhardt, Jr. in fifth. Jeff Gordon is sixth, three points ahead of Greg Biffle with Clint Bowyer in eighth. Logano and Kurt Busch round out the top ten. Kurt Busch is twenty-six points ahead of Ryan Newman. Kasey Kahne and Carl Edwards round out the final two Chase positions.

Of the three championship contenders, Kenseth is the only one with a victory at the track in the Cup Series. He won the 2007 season finale. Kenseth won the Nationwide Series race at Homestead in 2006 and Harvick won the 2004 Nationwide Series race and 2009 Truck Series race at Homestead.

Johnson's average career finish at Homestead is 15.33 with four top-fives and seven top tens but has finished thirtieth or worse at Homestead three times. Kenseth's average career finish at Homestead is 17.61 with one win, three top-fives and five top-tens. Harvick's average career finish at Homestead is 7.91 with five top-fives and ten top-tens with his worse finish at the track being twentieth.