|Helping Chasers to title puts drivers in gray area|
|Written by Admin|
|Saturday, 06 November 2010 11:56|
That's why drivers were being asked in Texas whether they would help others and how to draw the ethical line.
``They aren't getting any help from me,'' said Greg Biffle, a two-time winner and Chase qualifier whose title hopes have faded. ``The 16 is out there to win and I am going to show all of them respect just the same as I would expect them to show me in these final races.''
It's not quite so clear-cut for also-rans - Chase qualifiers or otherwise - who happen to be teammates of contenders Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick. The trio are separated by just 38 points with three races remaining heading into Sunday.
Take Kyle Busch. Hamlin's teammate and his crew decided it was too risky to drop back and help Hamlin when his Chase hopes were fading before a late rally last weekend at Talladega. A week earlier, though, he finished one spot ahead of Johnson in fourth at Martinsville, figuring every little bit helps.
``I raced the 48 as hard as I could because I knew that if I could get a spot in front of him then obviously that would help the points scenario for not only myself, but of course for the 11 as well, who was leading at the time,'' said Busch, who is fifth in points.
The difference in points between first and second is the largest on the 43-place scale at 15, raising the question of whether someone would let a teammate win. That seems unlikely.
``We're racers. We all want to win at the end of the day,'' Kurt Busch said.
The suggestion drew a strong reaction from veteran Jeff Burton.
``I think if you start letting people win, that's the extreme integrity issue,'' Burton said. ``If I was second in points and I had a teammate win the race and had I won the race, I would have won the championship, honestly I wouldn't want to win the championship in that regard. No matter what you think, you're always going to know that you probably shouldn't have won the championship.''
BOOOORING?: Kevin Harvick says he wasn't joking when he declared last weekend that the Sprint Cup needed a new series champion, not a successful drive for five from Jimmie Johnson.
``I think people get tired of seeing the same guy winning,'' Harvick said.
When Jeff Gordon was asked why someone would think that, he asked rhetorically, ``Because they want to win?''
But that was just the start of a long answer about how the same perception was directed his way when he was dominating the sport a decade ago.
``I don't think there's anybody here in this room today that would disagree that if Dale Junior was going for the championship and what that would do for us,'' Gordon said. ``Shoot, let's put Danica Patrick in there as well. We all know what draws those mass number of fans and what gets those spikes in there.''
DANICA WATCH: Danica Patrick was never a factor in her 11th Nationwide start. Starting 28th, she got bumped early in the race and had to make a pit stop for quick repairs. Patrick spent most of the afternoon running at least two laps down.
Patrick finished 22nd for the second consecutive race - three laps down - after a career-best 21st-place finish in Charlotte.
MORE OF A GIBBS THING: Joe Gibbs Racing is adding a third car in the Nationwide Series for 2011 with 22-year-old Brian Scott. Since 2008, the Gibbs team has won 48 Nationwide races led by Kyle Busch and Joey Logano.
Scott is running his first full Nationwide season with Braun Racing, which was recently acquired by Turner Motorsports. He is second in the rookie of the year standings and has five top-10 finishes.
``Everyone knows the success JGR has had in the Nationwide Series the past few years,'' Scott said. ``I can't wait for Daytona.''
CHIEF IS BACK: A week after winning at Talladega, Clint Bowyer gets crew chief Shane Wilson back from a six-race suspension that was part of penalties that crippled Bowyer's championship hopes.
Team owner Richard Childress appealed the 150-point deduction slapped on Bowyer after he won the first race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. NASCAR said the car was altered and didn't meet strict specifications. Most of the decision was upheld, although Wilson's fine was reduced from $150,000 to $100,000.
``I saw him standing on top of the hauler and I said, 'I bet your radio batteries are charged up. They have had four weeks to get charged up and they probably won't be running down in his radio anytime soon,''' Bowyer said.
SPARK PLUGS: A new nose for the Dodge Charger has been approved by NASCAR for 2011, meeting the circuit's requirements for a common lower nose and trying to match the look of the street car. ``With the shape if it in general and how it looks, I'm excited about that because it looks more like what our cars need to look like,'' Kurt Busch said. ... Camping World Trucks Series driver Ron Hornaday will be on standby Sunday for Ryan Newman, whose wife is due to deliver their first child any day.