The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup is in the seventh of the 10-round championship fight and the contenders refuse to fall. Much like last year's epic Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup where five drivers were separated by a mere 26 points entering the final four races, this year's edition is setting the table for another classic showdown.
Five drivers are separated by 30 points - with Brad Keselowski sitting atop the standings followed by Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer and Kasey Kahne - headed into this weekend's race at Martinsville Speedway before the series returns to Texas Motor Speedway for the eighth race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup - the AAA Texas 500 - on Sunday, Nov. 4.
"That's what the fans want to see," Johnson said of the tight points battle. "It's what our sport needs."
Prior to last season, the closest points margin between multiple competitors entering the final four races of the Chase was in 2006 when Matt Kenseth, Kevin Harvick and Johnson were separated by 41 points.
"These guys are good," Martin Truex Jr. said of the Chase contenders. "These teams are very consistent - the guys that are up front are the guys you're going to have to beat for the championship. You just got to do what you can do every week."
The final four races will prove to be pressure packed with every point highly coveted. While the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has 1,413 laps to run during the remaining races, competitors understand that it may come down to the last laps to decide this year's champion.
"I see it coming all the way down to Homestead," Keselowski said after last weekend's race at Kansas Speedway. "It will be decided there. I'm happy with the season that we've had so far and the position that we're in. It's going to come down to the last race, that's pretty obvious after today."
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to Texas Motor Speedway for the eighth race in the 10-event Chase for the Sprint Cup - the AAA Texas 500. Tickets are still available by contacting the Texas Motor Speedway ticket office at (817) 215-8500 or by visiting www.texasmotorspeedway.com.