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Jul. 19—Things are starting to get interesting in NASCAR's Cup Series with six races remaining until the Chase for the Championship starts.
Christopher Bell became the 14th different winner this year after capturing the New Hampshire race.
The playoff field will consist of 16 teams, and with six races remaining before the Chase there is a good chance all the championship contending spots will consist of race winners.
Ryan Blaney and Martin Truex Jr. are currently ranked 15th and 16th based on points with former champion Kevin Harvick currently in 17th.
Should no new winners surface in the final six races, the final two Chase spots will go to the 15th an 16th driver based on points.
The series has two road course races remaining before the Chase at — Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Watkins Glen International.
A different winner could emerge at either of these two races, with Truex a likely candidate to pull into victory lane.
Oval races are at Pocono, Michigan International, Richmond and the final race before the Chase at Daytona.
There could be a lot of pressure on drivers and teams should the final Chase spot hinge on the race at Daytona.
Aside from Truex, it appears the other two drivers knocking on the door for a win are Blaney and Harvick.
Should more than 16 drivers win a race prior to the Chase, the driver with one win and the fewest number of overall points will miss a bid for the championship.
I've never been a fan of the Chase format, but to have 16 race winners contending for the championship is exactly what NASCAR has been anticipating.
By winning the Indy Car race at Toronto over the weekend, Scott Dixon is tied with Mario Andretti with 52 career wins.
Controversy is brewing in Indy Car surrounding defending champion Alex Palou.
Palou currently drives for Ganassi Racing, which announced last week he would return for the 2023 season.
The problem is that announcement came on the same day it was announced Palou signed to drive for the McLaren team next year.
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out over the coming weeks.
IN OTHER RACING NEWS
The racing world was stunned to learn of the stabbing death of Bob East in California.
East won the USAC National Midget Series title in 2004 driving for Steve Lewis Racing in a chassis built by his father.
He won 15 times racing with USAC in 2004 and has a Glen Niebel Classic win at Anderson Speedway for non-wing sprint cars.
East competed in the NASCAR Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series for several seasons starting in 2005.
Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.