Ken de la Bastide: Crunch time at Bristol in NASCAR Chase

Sep. 12—It's crunch time for four NASCAR Cup drivers hoping to secure the Chase championship this weekend.

The Cup Series will be in action Saturday at the Bristol short track, and it's the last race before the championship chase is reduced to 12 drivers.

Season champion Martin Truex Jr. is currently the first driver below the cut-off line and is seven points behind Kevin Harvick.

Bubba Wallace is 19 points below the cut-off line with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Michael McDowell further back.

Although it's mathematically possible for Wallace and Stenhouse to crack the top 12, the reality is they — along with McDowell — need a victory at Bristol to advance.

Truex, who is coming off two terrible races, has to hope for a Bristol victory or hope misfortune strikes Harvick or Joey Logano to advance.

The Bristol short track is a lot like the races at Daytona and Talladega, where another driver's misfortune or mistake can ruin a decent run.

It would be unfortune if Truex, who was the regular season champion, would not advance in the playoffs, but it would also be disappointing for Harvick to be eliminated during his last full-time season.

On another note, NASCAR announced Tuesday stage breaks are returning for the road course starting with the Charlotte Roval race.

Along with many fans, I have not been an advocate of the stage breaks, which really seems like a decision driven by the broadcast partners.

Does anyone really care who were the stage winners at any race?

Instead NASCAR should be concentrating on making the race cars more competitive on the road courses and short tracks instead of implementing gimmicks in an effort to excite fans.


With just two races remaining in the 500 Sprint Car Tour, the battle for the championship is shaping up as a dandy.

Tyler Roahrig retook the points lead following the series' first visit to Lorain Raceway Park by three points over Kody Swanson.

Kyle O'Gara, the race winner at the Ohio oval, is 48 points back.

The series returns to Anderson Speedway on Oct. 7 for the Tony Elliott Classic and closes out the season at Lucas Oil Raceway Park.

It was great to see Alexandria's Donnie Adams back in a sprint car at Lorain. Hopefully, it will relaunch his career.

The CRA Sportsman and Street Stocks are making their final appearance Saturday at Anderson Speedway.

Caleb Reschar has a slim two-point lead over Logan Huckeba in the Sportsman division, and Dalton Conner has a 48-point margin over Andrew Teepe in the Street Stocks.

Both Reschar and Conner have victories at Anderson this year.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.