The "Chase" Goes On - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

The "Chase" Goes On

 DOVER, Del. - And then there were five.  After two of the 10 races used to determine the Chase for the Nextel Cup champion, five of the 10 eligible drivers have now suffered a bad incident on the track that has the potential to derail their title hopes.  Last week at New Hampshire, Ryan Newman blew his engine and drivers Tony Stewart and Jeremy Mayfield were caught up in an accident started by Robby Gordon.  In Sunday's MBNA America 400 at Dover International Speedway, Matt Kenseth, the reigning Cup series champion, was the first victim, spinning his No. 17 Ford as he attempted a green-flag pit stop and slammed into a tire barrier.  Later in the race, Elliott Sadler made a green-flag pit stop thinking he had a tire going down, only to be caught speeding on pit road while returning to the track. Sadler finished 20th after running in the top 10 almost the entire race.  Kenseth's car had to be towed back to the garage. He eventually made it back out on the track and finished 32nd.  "That's a shame. We were too tight and we thought we heard a right-front tire (going down). We were talking about whether to pit or not to pit. I was out on the track and kind of at the last minute decided to pit," Kenseth said.  "I was on the brakes plenty early and when I got on the apron it was real sandy. I should have known that because that other car blew up and it was still pretty slick down there and nobody's pitted under green yet.  "I just lost control of it and it wouldn't stop."  Sadler's problem also occurred because he thought he had a tire going down. But in his case he made it onto pit road. It was getting off that was the problem.  "I don't know what went wrong with those last set of tires. It felt like they had like 60 pounds of air in them or something. I was just bouncing all over the place," Sadler said.  Sadler said he wasn't surprised to get caught for speeding.  "I was just hauling butt to get to pit road and it was slicker than I thought," he said. "I knew if I hit the brakes I was going to spin out and do what Matt Kenseth did, so I figured on taking the penalty and not wrecking the car.  "That was just my fault because it was slicker down there than I thought."  Kenseth took the hardest points hit Sunday. He dropped three spots to seventh and trails new series points leader Jeff Gordon by 99. Sadler remained sixth, but trails Gordon by 96 points.  "I want to get through Talladega (next week) and then we'll start talking about (the championship) because if we have problems at Talladega, we'll be way too far out," Sadler said.  "That's a wild car race and anything can happen. If we can go down there and run all 500 miles, we should be fine."  

 

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