NASCAR at PIR: Is it truly a two-man race?

The second to last Sprint Cup Race has started Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway in what many people are calling a "two-man race."

Mathematically, nine drivers are still contending for this year's championship, but it's looking like it will come down to Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth.

Johnson's season has mirrored the season he had in 2012. This time last year, he was leading by seven points coming in Phoenix. But in the final two races of last season, Johnson had two bad finishes that dropped him from first to third in the point standings. This year Johnson has a seven point lead over Kenseth and a 40 point lead over Kevin Harvick.

In 2013, Kenseth finished outside the top 25 five different times.

Meantime, Harvick is being painted as the "dark-horse" in this year's chase. He comes into Phoenix third in the point standings but could potentially knock off Johnson and Kenseth (if they have poor finishes), but Harvick can't place worse than fifth if he wants to win this year's championship. By the way, Harvick is a three-time winner at Phoenix and is the defending champion. (On a side note, Johnson is a four-time winner at PIR while Kenseth has only won in the Valley once.)

Former NASCAR driver and current ESPN commentator Dale Jarrett told ABC15's Craig Fouhy to keep your eye on Jeff Gordon.

It was last year that Gordon and Clint Bowyer stole the show when they got into a fight after the race. By the way, both Gordon and Bowyer are 69 points behind Johnson and will have their trailers parked next to each other at PIR this weekend. 

So even if mathematically it's likely that Johnson or Kenseth will walk away as this year's winner, Phoenix has proven to be an interesting and entertaining race, regardless of the outcome.

Top 10 Chase for the NASCAR Spring Cup Standings:

1: Jimmie Johnson           Leader

2: Matt Kenseth                  -7

3: Kevin Harvick                 -40

4: Kyle Busch                     -52

5: Dale Earnhardt Jr.        -62

6: Jeff Gordon                   -69

7: Clint Bowyer                  -69

8: Greg Biffle                      -73

9: Joey Logano                  -91

10: Kurt Busch                   -96

Print this article Back to Top