17 September 2012
Keselowski too strong for Johnson at Chicago
Keselowski's lead in the Sprint Cup standings is just 3pts over Johnson, with Tony Stewart a further 5pts back after finishing a solid sixth place in Chicago despite that early problem with having a pit a second time with a vibration.
"We probably passed more cars than anybody today, so not exactly what we were looking for," admitted Stewart of his afternoon. "We were just a little bit off and we'll keep working on it, but if we can be a little bit off and end up with a top ten then we're in good shape."
Denny Hamlin is in fourth place in the Cup standings, despite a problem refuelling problem which left him with too little gas in the tank to make it to the end, causing him to drop out of the top ten all the way to 16th place in the final minutes.
"We ran out of fuel, we didn't get it all the way full on the last stop," he explained. "We made an adjustment instead of putting fuel in the car and you have to have fuel to finish."
After his third place at Chicago, Kasey Kahne is up to fifth place in the standings, 15pts adrift of Keselowski but very much right back in the thick of it: "We had a great run, the team did a really nice job," he said. "The pit stops were perfect throughout the whole race. The car was good.
Even so, it wasn't quite good enough to match the likes of Keselowski and Johnson, and Kahne wasn't happy imply being the "best of the rest".
"We battled for about three laps there through the middle part of the race, and ended up third. I think I ran third most of the race, it was a solid run for us," he said. "I was slipping a little more than I would have liked to off the corners, and we weren't able to get a handle on that. Tried to lead a lap there with Jimmie and just wasn't able to get by him."
Chase contenders Dale Earnhardt Jr., Martin Truex Jr. and Clint Bowyer all finished in the outer regions of the top ten, which keeps their Chase hopes very much alive but wasn't the explosive start to the play-offs that they had been aiming for.
Earnhardt in particular was left ruing the mistake that had forced his overnight engine change and sent him to the back for the start of the race: "I was disappointed with myself in making the mistake with the engine and getting us that far back at the start of the race. We couldn't really overcome the track position
"We had a great car at the start and first half of the race - for the first 100-130 laps we had a really fast car," he said. "We made a couple of adjustments that didn't really help us out how we needed help and we sort of made the car ordinary and just kind of had to maintain track position ... We're still in the fight, so we'll go on to the next one still with a shot."
Tagged as: Kasey Kahne , Jeff Gordon , chase , Tony Stewart , Roger Penske , Matt Kenseth , Chicago , Brad Keselowski , Jimmie Johnson , Denny Hamlin , Casey Mears , Dale Earnhardt Jr.
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