Kenseth stretched his lead over fierce rival Dale Earnhardt Jr.
points, the biggest margin of points this season. With only 15 races
Dale Jr. and Jeff Gordon have a hard task at hand if they want to take
"I really want to get back to Victory Lane soon,"
Kenseth said after
Sunday's race, "but, on the other hand, I'm very thankful
for how we've been
The points system, first used in 1975,
was devised by Bob Latford, a
stock-car historian and a public-relations man
who died July 23. NASCAR is
re-evaluating Latford's system, which replaced
one that was more convoluted.
NASCAR has done this many times though and may
have found some flaws in the
Tony Stewart, last season's
champion, finished with 4,800 points. If a
driver had finished 10th in all
36 races, without leading a single lap, he
would have finished with 4,824
points. Consistency beats excellence, and
Kenseth has been consistent. The
problem is, nobody wants to see the
championship winner win only one race.
Kenseth is one of the more likeable
guys in the garage but many fans are
starting to get annoyed with the driver
saying, "all of it is
Latford's system will be in play for at least the rest of the
Harvick earned 180 points for winning Sunday, only 20 more points
Elliott, who finished fifth.
Tony Stewart finished 12th on
Sunday, but because he led the most laps of
any driver, he earned only five
fewer points than Jimmy Spencer, who was
eighth. Even a driver in the middle
of the pack receives 100 points.
Kenseth has improved his chance to win
his first title by being consistent.
He has nine top-five finishes and a
series-high 16 top-10 finishes. He is
one of only four regular drivers to
have completed every race. Harvick,
Michael Waltrip and Terry Labonte are
"We haven't had any bad luck this year, and a lot of it is
Roush, the owner of Kenneth's Ford, said after Sunday's
A championship for Kenseth would also be the first major
Roush, who has a formidable five-car team. He said he
expected Kenneth's car
to break down eventually or for Kenseth to be tangled
up in an accident -
perhaps one that he is not even responsible for,
possibly getting in an
accident that ends his season like last year with
Sterling Marlin. Such
things tend to happen in stock-car
"I feel good whenever you can finish and gain points,"
Kenseth said. "But
you feel good when you finish and run good enough to win.
That's what we're
The Winston Cup series now moves to
Watkins Glen, N.Y., for a race Sunday.
Watkins Glen is one of only two road
courses on the schedule. Kenseth, 31,
has only one top-10 finish in seven
road-course races in his four-year
The four-time Winston Cup
champion Jeff Gordon, who is in third place in the
standing, 318 points
behind Kenseth, has won seven of his 21 road-course
races. Gordon cannot
overcome Kenseth in the standing this weekend, but he
can chop into the
lead. Not to mention that Dale Earnhardt Jr. runs well at
Earnhardt was in the running for the win last year before being
of the way by roadcourse specialist Boris Said.
Gordon led only three
laps Sunday, but every lap leader earns a five-point
bonus. So Gordon lost
only 15 points to Kenseth in the standing even though
Gordon finished fourth
and had no realistic chance to win the race.
"I know we didn't get many
points, but that's championship form as far as
I'm concerned for this race
team," Gordon said. "I couldn't be more proud of
position is what matters. As long as a car does not blow a motor or
into a wall, a driver will be rewarded. Earnhardt finished 14th Sunday
did not lose much ground in his pursuit of Kenseth.
"We had a tire that
had a vibration," Earnhardt said, "so that's why we made
an extra stop. We
went from 23rd to 14th after that, so I'm not all that
upset about it."
Earnhardt would have been in the running for the win had
they not needed to
Earnhardt picked up 27 more points by doing so. But Kenseth did
did not win, again, but he led the points race for the 18th
Unless Gordon or Earnhardt makes a move, and soon, Roush may
win his first
"NASCAR has these cars so incredibly close,"
Kenseth said. "The 43 cars are
just so close to the same speed, and that
makes it better if you're out
many rumors surfacing that Mike Helton, the man behind the magic
may take over Dale Earnhardt Inc. Teresa Earnhardt acknowledged
have asked Helton if he wanted a job at DEI. DEI which was built
by the late
7 time champion Dale Earnhardt, may be owned by the most
powerful person in
NASCAR by the way it sounds