Ken de la Bastide: Chase field full of unknowns

·2 min read

Sep. 13—Strange things are taking place in the NASCAR Chase for the Championship in the Cup division.

What has made this year's Chase different than in previous years is the first two races have been won by drivers not eligible for the championship.

Erik Jones won at Darlington, and Bubba Wallace emerged as the winner at Kansas.

The field of 16 drivers will be reduced by four this weekend at Bristol, a track that could easily see another winner outside of the Chase field.

Former champion Kevin Harvick is 35 points below the cut line, and with only 36 teams entered at Bristol he will need a victory to advance.

Chase Briscoe is nine points below the cut line and could advance to the next round even without a victory, but the odds are not in his favor.

Austin Dillon is three points out of the next stage, and Kyle Busch is two points back of both Austin Cindric and Tyler Reddick.

What makes things even more interesting is the fact Busch announced Tuesday he will drive for Richard Childress Racing in 2023.

Dillon and Reddick are both drivers for Childress, so if Busch advances this year, he could knock one of those two drivers out of the championship chase.

Reddick has already announced he will drive next year for the Michael Jordan/Denny Hamlin team as a teammate to Wallace.

This past weekend, Team Penske driver Will Power not only broke the record for posting the fast time for the IndyCar Series, he earned the championship.

Power finished third, one position behind teammate Josef Newgarden, which was enough to secure the championship.

Defending champion Alex Palou won the final race of the season on the Laguna Seca Road Course.

Newgarden started 25th in the 26-car field and charged to the front, but needed Power to falter to win the title.

It was interesting to hear Kyle Busch is considering running both the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca Cola 600 next Memorial Day.

Kurt Busch, Tony Stewart, Robby Gordon and John Andretti have all raced the "double" in the past.

Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson, now a regular with the IndyCar Series, has also expressed an interest in attempting the feat.

Could make 2023 a very interesting month of May.

Tyler Roahrig recorded his third victory with the 500 Sprint Car Tour this past weekend at Berlin Raceway in Michigan.

With two races remaining, Dakoda Armstrong holds a four-point margin over Kody Swanson. The final events are scheduled at Anderson Speedway and Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.