NASCAR Chase For The Cup: Two Drivers Left

The NASCAR Chase For The Cup has been realistically down to two drivers—Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski for a few weeks, even if TheSportsNotebook has been manufacturing ways to give other drivers a chance. But as Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 (2 PM ET, ESPN) awaits, there’s no denying that JJ and Keselowski are the only ones standing with three races to go.

Johnson’s win last week in Martinsville vaulted him from seven points back to a two-point lead. Clint Bowyer and Kasey Kahne are in third and fourth place respectively, and their margin of 26 & 29 points is simply too much to overcome. I suppose there’s always the “in the event of a massive disaster from the leaders” theory, but at this point it would have to be something truly incredible for anyone other than Johnson or Keselowski to get the Cup in three weeks.

Texas Motor Speedway, hosting its second race of the season, is a cookie-cutter track, according to TheSportsNotebook’s resident NASCAR expert, my brother Bill. “It’s a fast track, somewhat easy to pass,” he added, offering some hope that we might see a fluid race in Fort Worth on Sunday.

The strongest record of success at this venue in recent years belongs to Denny Hamlin, who swept both of 2010’s races.  Hamlin is in a tight race with Jeff Gordon for the final spot in the Top 5 and its possible Martin Truex, Matt Kenseth or Greg Biffle—who won at this track in April—could sneak into fifth.

Kahne is poised to wrap up his highest finish ever, while Bowyer could tie his previous high if he holds on to third. But there’s no doubt that in the race for the top prize, the Chase For The Cup mimics the presidential race—it’s going to be one of two men and it’s looking like a virtual dead heat.