Watching NASCAR: Johnson, Keselowski to Duel in Phoenix

Two weeks ago Jimmie Johnson passed Brad Keselowski to move into the top position in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship and last week he passed him in a two lap shootout to remain the top dog in the Chase.

In what I am sure Johnson hopes is a portent for the last two races and Keselowski hopes does not, the two were side by side on a restart on lap 334 in the 335 lap race, and Johnson outsprinted Keselowski and then held on to win the race. The third restart in the last laps ensured that it would go one extra lap, but after the first half lap Johnson was in control and stayed there.

The two were very close the entire race, as witnessed by the side by side banging that occurred late in the race but others played a major role in the race, including the drives that continually caused all of the late restarts. Third place finisher Kyle Busch led for 80 laps and was followed by Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart taking fifth.

This week: AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway

The second to last race of the season and the point differential is only 7, but that can be a lot to make up. However a number of drivers such as Busch have been shining of late and I am sure that they would relish a spoiler role.

Broadcast: Nov. 11 at 2 pm ET on ESPN


Sprint Cup Standings
1) Jimmie Johnson
2) Brad Keselowski -7
3) Clint Boyer -36
4) Kasey Kahne -58
5) Matt Kenseth -72
6) Jeff Gordon -72
7) Denny Hamlin -73
8 ) Tony Stewart -80
9) Martin Truex Jr. -80
10) Greg Biffle -83
11) Kevin Harvick -101
Dale Earnhardt Jr. -151

The chase to win the Nationwide title got a great deal tighter as Elliott Sadler has company in the top spot as Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has tied him for the lead by managing a fourth place finish last week in what appeared to be a very badly handling car.

First let’s not forget that Kevin Harvick had a dominating performance at the track, leading 127 of the 200 laps to win the race. With just a few laps to go Sadler started to fade from his sixth position after a restart and ended up finishing 11th. The top five was filled out with Ryan Blaney in second, Kyle Busch in third and Denny Hamlin taking fifth.

Good news for Danica Patrick fans. She has signed to do two ads for GoDaddy that will run during the upcoming Superbowl. There had been some question if the company’s new advertising agency would retain her services.
This week: Great Clips 200 at the Phoenix International Raceway
Broadcast: Nov. 10 at 3:30 pm ET on ESPN

Nationwide Standings

1) Elliott Sadler
2) Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
3) Austin Dillon -21
4) Sam Hornish Jr. -95
5) Michael Annett -157

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