We are inching in on closing out the 2012 NASCAR racing season, but not without a title fight. Fans are lucky this year to have a close race for the championships in all three series; Cup, Nationwide and Trucks.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is headed to Martinsville this weekend for the third to last race before they crown their champion. Four drivers are in real contention of taking home the title, with the fifth just barely hanging in the balance.
Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer and Kasey Kahne are your five hopeful title candidates that still have a chance of being crowned the champion.
Keselowski is seven points ahead of Johnson, while Hamlin is 20 points behind. Bowyer is barely holding on 25 points out and wild card winner, Kasey Kahne is 30 points behind the leader.
Martinsville is a track that favors well for both Johnson and Hamlin. In 21 starts Johnson has finished in the top ten 18 times. He has six wins. Hamlin on the other hand has finished in the top ten 12 times out of his 14 starts, with seven wins. Johnson and Hamlin have won 9 of the last 12 races at Martinsville, including nine consecutive wins, the last of which was a win by Hamlin in the fall 2010 race.
Keselowski has only graced the track five times, but out of those he has finished in the top ten twice. Bowyer has seven top tens in his 13 starts while Kasey has only two top tens in 17 starts.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series title battle has been heated the past few weekends. Elliott Sadler is the points leader, but last years champ, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is only 6 points behind him. Austin Dillion,who is 26 points out is still in contention as well.
Stenhouse Jr. cruised to his first championship title in 2011.
The NNS drivers only have three races left, Texas, Phoenix and Homestead. The NNS cars are off this weekend while the Cup cars and Trucks race at Martinsville.
In the Camping World Truck Series, Ty Dillion, the rookie is the points leader with James Buescher only 1 point behind him. Timothy Peters is barely in contention, 26 points out. This is an exciting series to watch as we have three very talented drivers biding for the title.
In 2011, Buescher finished second to Austin Dillion in a championship battle that was not decided until the last race. Buescher lost the title in part by failing to qualify for an early season race at Phoenix.
At this point in the season, one wrong move can end any said drivers chances of the title. Matt Kenseth in the CUP Series is one driver to look at. He won 2 of the last 3 races… yet he has no chance of taking home the title. A few bad races when it counts most – and you can be completely eliminated before you can even prove yourself. There is very little room for redemption from a bad race.
With four weeks to go, (three races in the NNS Series) emotions are high and tempers could flair… but in the end – one driver from each series will come out as the 2012 Champion.