NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: The Championship Chase Tightens In Charlotte

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship race tightened up a bit last week, as leader Matt Kenseth struggled, Kevin Harvick won and a few other drivers have at least moved into striking distance as the circuit gets set for Saturday night’s Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (7:30 PM ET, ABC).

Kenseth still holds the lead, and Jimmie Johnson is still in hot pursuit, at just three points back. But Harvick’s win moved him into third place, and while he’s still (-25) back, Harvick now just needs one good combo race–a win, along with Kenseth and JJ getting caught up in trouble–to put him at the top. More realistically, he still has a few opportunities to keep grinding away at the lead.

Jeff Gordon is also on the move, within (-32) of the lead and in fourth place. Gordon has earned the pole on Saturday night in Charlotte, presenting him with a tailor-made opportunity to carve further into that margin.

Kyle Busch was running neck-and-neck with Kenseth and Johnson as recently as a couple weeks ago. He’s down to fifth, and is further expecting that Brad Keselowski may take a grudge the two drivers have going over a dustup in a Nationwide Series race, and look to cause Kyle some troubles on Saturday night.

These five drivers are the ones with the best chance at winning the Cup in November. The Charlotte Motor Speedway is the place where the stars come out each May for an All-Star race. Now they’re all racing for the real thing.

Kenseth is the betting favorite on Saturday night, at 4-1. Johnson and Kyle Busch are right behind at 5-1 and 6-1 respectively. Harvick and Gordon are sitting on a 10-1 chance to win and further change the whole dynamic of the Chase For The Cup.