With just two races to go in the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup, the field has pretty much narrowed itself down to just two competitors.
Jimmie Johnson stormed back to steal the points lead from Brad Keselowski by winning the last two races. Keselowski, though, hasn’t backed down. He was neck-and-neck with Johnson last week in Texas, finishing just behind the veteran driver of the Lowe’s No. 48 car.
Johnson currently holds a seven point lead over Keselowski and will look to extend that by posting another impressive performance at Avondale.
Last March both Johnson and Keselowski were Top 5 finishers, fourth and fifth place respectively, at the checkered flag. Johnson finished just before his younger challenger.
Could it be a premonition of things to come Sunday in the desert?
Where: Phoenix International Raceway, Avondale, Ariz.
When: Sunday, April 22, 12:30 p.m. ET
Live Stream: TrackPass
Listen: Motor Racing Network
|2||56||Martin Truex Jr.|
Check out FOX Sports for the full list of qualifying times.
Full TV Schedule
AdvoCare 500 Practice, Nov. 10, 11:30 a.m. ET, SPEED
AdvoCare 500 Final Practice, Nov. 10, 2:30 p.m. ET, SPEED
AdvoCare 500 Race, Nov. 11, 2 p.m. ET, ESPN
Drivers to Watch
Johnson finished fourth back on March 4 at the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Avondale.
One place ahead of second-place points driver Brad Keselowski.
Currently, Johnson holds a seven point lead heading into Phoenix. Like last week, this race will likely come down to the two of them going toe-to-toe for the victory.
If Johnson wins or finishes ahead of the youngster it will take a big letdown next week at Miami for him to miss out on winning the Sprint Cup.
Like last week in Texas, Keselowski finished right behind Johnson the last time they were in Phoenix.
That doesn’t help the driver of the Miller Lite No. 2 car. He hasn’t won since the first race of the Chase in Chicago but could do himself a huge favor by coming out on top of Johnson this weekend.
Johnson has been here before, while Keselowski is a relative newcomer. Yet the two are neck-and-neck down the stretch. It’ll be one heck of a ride, that’s for sure.
Bowyer finished a disappointing 30th place the last time he raced at Avondale back in March due to some tire issues early on. He trails Johnson by 36 and Keselowski by 29 points heading into Race No. 9 of the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup.
He’s finished in the Top 10 at each race so far in the Chase and got himself one win at Charlotte, but it hasn’t been enough to keep pace with the red-hot Johnson and Keselowski.
Predicted Winner: Brad Keselowski
The young Keseslowski will show what he’s made of by bouncing back after losing a late lead last week in Texas.
Challenge accepted, Jimmie Johnson.
Mike Hoag Jr. is a Breaking News Team writer and NFL featured columnist for Bleacher Report.
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