The Backstretch Blog: In the heat of the chase

Published On: Dec 24 2013 12:49:48 PM CST   Updated On: Oct 30 2013 10:08:22 AM CDT

Three down, seven to go and this Chase for the NASCAR Championship is intense. Just think about this, Kyle Busch has finished second, second and fifth in the three chase races. He is third in the points.

"It's frustrating to be fifth," said Busch. "But yet you look at the grand scheme of things and it's three straight top-fives to start the Chase so not bad."

Not if he keeps up at that clip. I mean the big three, Busch along with Matt Kenseth (who has finished first, first and seventh and leads the points) and Jimmie Johnson (seventh, fifth and first) can't all keep up this torrid pace. Can they?

"My whole thought process was just how tough this championship's going to be," said Johnson. "They're bringing their best and doing their best.  You've got to deliver.  That was my mindset when I was racing with both of those guys for three-quarters of the race."

I know there is still a lot of racing to do before they hand out the title, but it does appear to be turning into a three car race. The top three are separated by 12 points. It is 39 points between first and the two cars tied for forth.

Johnson, a five time champions, certainly looks at the two cars from the Joe Gibbs stable as the ones to beat.

"I think any points on the 18 or the 20 would have been a very good day.  Max points, it's an awesome day," said Johnson."Again, it's just relative.  It's a little early to play that game too much right now.  There's a point in the season where you just worry about who's leading, who's behind you if you're the leader, beating them."