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Indy helps set Chase field




 

 

Making the trip to Indy’s victory lane has always been considered one of “the” wins of the year for every driver, but when Jeff Gordon took his fifth checkered flag at the track the history book was rewritten. The win broke a tie he had with his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson as the Sprint Cup all-time Indy winner with four.

Much of Gordon’s enormous success in the sport has been overlooked since Johnson starting collecting his six series titles. Gordon has four titles of his own, but just as impressive is his win total in the sport that with his Indy win now stands at 90. That ranks third on the all-time list trailing only Richard Petty and David Pearson.

The win was also the second of the season for Gordon and it clinched his spot in the Chase, as he also sits atop the points. Going into Indy only Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Brad Keselowski had clinched their spot in the 16-driver field that will race for the title over the last 10 races of the season.

Indy as it turned out also locked Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson and Joey Logano in the Chase field as all a driver needs to be locked in is to have multiple wins and at least a 289-point advantage over the 31st place. The only stipulation for these drivers to maintain their spot in the championship round is that they have to attempt to qualify for the remaining six races leading up to the Chase.

The 20 races that have gone off the board so far this season have been won by 11 different drivers with the remaining five drivers now in the Chase by their position in the points. Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman and Clint Bowyer occupy the first three non-race winning positions with the two final spots being held down by rookies Kyle Larson and Austin Dillon.

The news from Indy this past weekend wasn’t limited to what took place on the track. Carl Edwards and Roush-Fenway Racing finally made it official on the morning of the race that the two would be parting ways after the end of this season. Roush at his press conference said that an offer was made to Edwards, but that the deal could never be worked out.

Edwards has spent his entire NASCAR career racing for Roush as he started competing in the Sprint Cup Series in 2004 when he took over for Jeff Burton when he left Roush to drive for Richard Childress Racing. He has 23 Cup wins and has finished fourth or higher in the final point standings four times. His high point at the Cup level occurred in 2011 when he battled Tony Stewart for the title with the battle going all the way to the last lap of the last race at Miami when he and Stewart finished tied in the points after the final race. Stewart won the title by taking the first tiebreaker, which was the number of wins on the season.

Edwards also had a standout career in the Nationwide Series while at Roush as he posted 38 wins and won the series title in 2007.

Ford also had a hand in trying to keep Edwards in the Roush organization as it immediately issued a press release saying that it had also been talking with Edwards about staying in one of Roush’s Fords next season. He was considered by many to be the face of Ford in the sport as he is by far the most successful Ford driver and the only one to be in the Chase at this time.

Edwards said that he has a plan in place for whom he will be driving next season and that he expects an announcement to be made in September. Rumors in the garage area have Edwards being reunited with his old Roush teammate Matt Kenseth at Joe Gibbs Racing. Gibbs has been rumored for years to be looking to add a fourth team and it appears now that the driver it wants is available and that sponsorship has been found.

That leaves Roush with a 2015 lineup of Greg Biffle, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Trevor Bayne, and apparently all three drivers still need some more sponsorship for next season.

Race Preview

Event: GoBowling.com 400

Track: Pocono Raceway ( 2.5- mile triangle, banking turn 1-14 degrees, turn 2-8 degrees, turn 3-6 degrees)

Date: Aug. 3, 1 p.m.

TV: ESPN

Radio: MRN

Defending Champion: Kasey Kahne


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