Chase breakdown: Trouble finds Chasers in Cali
Follow Yahoo! Sports’ NASCAR page on Twitter at @YahooNASCAR.
Auto Club Speedway, not Talladega, proved to be the wild card in the Chase, as a number of drivers suffered debilitating issues that pared the legit contenders down to only a handful. Greg Biffle suffered a blown engine. So did Kyle Busch. And Carl Edwards had fuel issues.
Here is a look at how the 12 Chase drivers fared in Fontana, Calif., in Race No. 4 of the Chase:
1. Jimmie Johnson – Finished 3rd: Wasn’t his dominating self, but still managed to finish in the top five. He wasn’t happy afterward, but satisfied. (-)
2. Denny Hamlin – Finished 8th: He stayed with Johnson but still hasn’t shown the kind of performance to actually beat the four-time defending champion. (-36 points)
3. Kevin Harvick – Finished 7th: Rallied from a pit-road speeding penalty to grab an all-important top-10. But it looks like he’ll need a mistake from Johnson to move up in the standings. (-54 points)
4. Jeff Gordon – Finished 9th: Also had to rally from a speeding penalty. Before that, Gordon was a top-five contender. Once again, this team found a way not to win. (-85 points)
5. Tony Stewart– Finished 1st: Did what he had to do. He’s still in a sizable hole, but Stewart grinded all day, claiming the last seat in a race that looked like musical chairs up front. (-107 points)
7. Carl Edwards – Finished 34th: A fuel issue early in the race left Edwards stalled on the track, along with his title hopes. (-162 points)
8. Jeff Burton – Finished 23rd: Was a non-factor most of the day, which was surprising considering his strong run at ACS back in February. (-177 points)
9. Kyle Busch – Finished 35th: Had a top-10 run going until his engine blew. At that point, Busch declared his championship hopes officially gone. (-187 points)
10. Greg Biffle – Finished 41st: Was the first Chaser to find problems Sunday when his engine blew on lap 40. It’s a tough break for Biffle, who was coming off a victory and into a race he thought he could win. (-215 points)
11. Matt Kenseth – Finished 30th: As soon as Biffle’s engine blew, everyone at Roush Fenway was on guard. Kenseth’s motor finally failed in the closing laps. (-241 points)
12. Clint Bowyer – Finished 2nd: Thought he had the race won until NASCAR spotted a piece of debris with under 10 laps to go. Bowyer was livid on his radio, feeling he had the win taken away from him. (-247 points)