Is all the attention in NASCAR on the Chase championship contenders these days? Greg Biffle would say yes.
“It’s clear they’re paying attention to the top three because we led 234 laps last week [at Texas], and they didn’t even interview us, so it’s obvious they’re paying attention to the top three, which they should – that’s the championship,” Biffle said.
It’s true that The Big Story is Denny Hamlin vs. Jimmie Johnson vs. Kevin Harvick for the Sprint Cup championship with two races to go, but there also are other issues to settle – and other dollars to assign. Positions four through 10 in the standings are separated by only 80 points, which means there could be quite a bit of bouncing up and down in the next two weeks, and every forward position means more money at season’s end. Plus, the top 10 drivers earn spots on the Las Vegas awards banquet program.
Carl Edwards is currently fourth – the best of the non-championship contenders – and wants to stay there for the season’s final two weeks.
“We want to finish fourth and not sixth or eighth or 10th because when it comes down to the end of the year, you have to look at how you did with what you have,” Edwards said. “If you look at the laps led, I think we’ve led 150 to 200 laps this year. We have not had the best performing race cars and the best results that we’ve ever had, so, for us, there’s a lot of pride in making the most with what we’ve got.
“If we can finish fourth in points, that’s a heck of a job for what I feel like we had. For us, there’s a lot of pride in that – for me there personally is, and when you go back and look at history, it looks nicer to finish fourth and third and second.
“If you’ re not going to win it, you want to do the best you can. You’ve got to have goals, and this is our goal right now.”
Edwards leads Roush Fenway Racing teammate Matt Kenseth by eight points in the battle for fourth. Both drivers made advances with their runs at Texas last week, Edwards gaining two spots and Kenseth three. Biffle, also with RFR, is ninth.
“You kind of look at it when you get home and see where you moved up to in points or moved back to in points, but, other than that, I don’t pay a whole lot of attention to it,” Kenseth said. “You just try to finish the best you can every week and hope to finish as high as you can in the points at the end of the year once the championship is not attainable.”
Kenseth said there is not an in-house battle at Roush for points position, but, of course, everybody wants to finish as close to first as they can.
“Greg and Carl would have to answer for themselves, but I want to do the best I can for our team every week. If we had it our way, we’d be 1-2-3 in points and battle it out. I want those guys to finish as high as they can, but just like everybody else in the top 12, I want them to finish behind me. You want to do the best you can for your respective team and car.”
Mike Hembree is NASCAR Editor for SPEED.com and has been covering motorsports for 28 years. He has written several books on NASCAR, including "NASCAR: The Definitive History of America's Sport" and "Then Tony Said To Junior: The Best NASCAR Stories Ever Told". He is a six-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.