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Auto Racing

September 17, 2006

Top 10 in Chase for the Cup

By Jenna Fryer

AP Auto Racing Writer

The 10 drivers competing in NASCAR’s Chase for the Nextel Cup championship, in order of points standings:

DRIVER: Matt Kenseth


TEAM: Roush Racing

HOMETOWN: Cambridge, Wis.

AGE: 34

CAR: No. 17 DeWalt Tools Ford

CREW CHIEF: Robbie Reiser


OUTLOOK: Kenseth, the driver many believe forced the Chase format because of his lackluster 2003 title run, has momentum on his side as he tries to win a championship under the new system. He’s got four wins this season and has turned it up a notch heading into the Chase, which begins this weekend in New Hampshire. Kenseth leads all Chase drivers with an average finish of 10.9 at NHIS.

SPEAKING: “We’ve stayed focused this year on one race at a time, and that’s how it’s going to stay this week and for the nine after that. Everyone seems to be putting a lot of pressure on this weekend, and I don’t necessarily see it. I mean, yes, you want to start the Chase with a good finish, but if you don’t, you still have nine more to make up for it,” Kenseth said.


DRIVER: Jimmie Johnson


TEAM: Hendrick Motorsports

HOMETOWN: El Cajon, Calif.

AGE: 30

CAR: No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet

CREW CHIEF: Chad Knaus


OUTLOOK: Johnson, who has four wins this season, led the points for most of the year. A perpetual title contender, he’s hoping this is the season he finally finishes the job. He faded late last year and fell to fifth in the finale after two consecutive runner-up finishes.

SPEAKING: “I think I have at least as good or even better chance to win a championship now as I ever have. So does everyone else. It will come down to who can deal with everything and have the best car. If you get off to a slow start in the Chase, if you aren’t a strong team, the pressure of the Chase can knock the wind out of your sails and hurt you,” Johnson said.

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