How would fans react to a Chase without Dale Jr., Johnson, and Keselowski?


Regardless of what happens in next weekend’s Contender Round finale at Talladega Superspeedway, there will be good stories among the remaining eight competitors in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Whoever they may be.

But how many people won’t bother to see these stories develop if three of the Chase’s biggest names – Brad Keselowski, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Jimmie Johnson – all fail to make the cut at ‘Dega and fall out of the championship picture?

The diehards will stick around. But one could argue this new Chase wasn’t crafted for them.

No, this new Chase was made for the mainstream – or rather, a return to it after the sport’s white-hot run in the early 2000s fizzled out.

But in order to get Mr. and Mrs. Casual Fan to be interested, you need hooks. You need star power. NASCAR certainly has that. It’s largely how it became America’s No. 1 motorsport in the first place.

Keselowski, Earnhardt, and Johnson represents a major portion of the star power in this year’s Chase. But all three of them have suffered through two sub-par races in the Contender Round, and all three of them are now in the soup.

They are occupying the bottom three spots of the Chase Grid: Keselowski in 10th, 19 points behind eighth-place Kasey Kahne; Johnson in 11th, 26 points back; and Earnhardt in 12th, also 26 points arrears.

Only a victory in the GEICO 500 at ‘Dega may be enough to save them. And if they can’t get one, they’ll likely be done.

In turn, their elimination may have an adverse effect on the Chase’s standing on the American sports scene, which is currently crowded with the NFL, college football, post-season baseball, and hockey. Oh yeah, the NBA’s around the corner, too.

Take Keselowski, Earnhardt, and Johnson out of the Chase and there’s probably one driver left with a strong link to the mainstream.

Jeff Gordon’s “Drive For Five” has become a compelling story again thanks to his renaissance this year. But even if he advances to the Eliminator Round, that story may not be enough on its own to draw a sizable amount of attention beyond the base and counter fans of Keselowski, Earnhardt and Johnson possibly tuning out en masse.

(Side note: This is where Tony Stewart and his army of fans would be a big help. But Stewart did not make the Chase, and to be blunt, he has more important things to worry about right now. Danica Patrick? That would be surefire, but while she’s improved in 2014, she’s not Chase material yet.)

And if the fans of Kes, JJ and Jr. ultimately do tune out because their drivers moved out instead of moved on, it could wind up being a loss for those fans if they truly appreciate the overall sport as well. Again, good stories will still be found no matter what.

For instance, take Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick, the two drivers that have advanced to the Eliminator Round via wins: Logano, the boy that’s grown up into a world-beater with Team Penske, and Harvick, the wily veteran seeking his first title after leaving the lone Sprint Cup team he’d ever known.

Or what about Ryan Newman and Matt Kenseth possibly entering the Eliminator Round with no wins? Considering the emphasis that the new Chase has put on victories, wouldn’t that be interesting?

Still, the negative impact of Keselowski, Earnhardt and Johnson all being eliminated would not be denied. Time will tell if such a situation comes to pass.

Saturday’s Supercross Round 11 in Seattle: How to watch, start times, schedules, streams


With three multiple winners now vying for the championship, the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series heads to Round 11 at Lumen Field in Seattle, Washington.

Chase Sexton earned his second victory of the season in Detroit when Aaron Plessinger fell on the final lap. Though he was penalized seven points for disobeying a flag, Sexton is third in the championship race. The Honda rider trails leader Cooper Webb (two victories) by 17 points, and defending series champion Eli Tomac (five wins) is three points behind Webb in second with seven races remaining.

Tomac won last year in Seattle on the way to his second season title.

Honda riders have a Supercross-leading 20 victories in the Seattle event but none at Lumen Field since Justin Barcia in 2013. Tomac and Barcia are the only past 450 Seattke winners entered in Saturday’s event.

Here are the pertinent details for watching Round 11 of the 2023 Supercross season in Seattle:

(All times are ET)

BROADCAST/STREAMING SCHEDULE: TV coverage of Round 11 will begin Saturday at 10 p.m. ET streaming on Peacock with a re-air Monday at 1 a.m. ET on CNBC. The Race Day Live show (including qualifying) will begin on Peacock at 4:30 p.m. ET Saturday.

NBC Sports will have exclusive live coverage of races, qualifiers and heats for the record 31 events in SuperMotocross. The main events will be presented on Peacock, NBC, USA Network, CNBC, and NBC Sports digital platforms.

Peacock will become the home of the SuperMotocross World Championship series in 2023 with live coverage of all races, qualifying, and heats from January to October. There will be 23 races livestreamed exclusively on Peacock, including a SuperMotocross World Championship Playoff event. The platform also will provide on-demand replays of every race. Click here for the full schedule.

POINTS STANDINGS: 450 division l 250 division

ENTRY LISTS450 division l 250 division

EVENT SCHEDULE (all times ET): 

Here are the start times for Saturday’s Supercross Round 11 in Seattle, according to the Monster Energy Supercross schedule from the AMA:

4:50 p.m.: 250SX Group B Qualifying 1
5:05 p.m.: 250SX Group A Qualifying 1
5:20 p.m.: 450SX Group A Qualifying 1
5:35 p.m.: 450SX Group B Qualifying 1
6:25 p.m.: 250SX Group B Qualifying 2
6:40 p.m.: 250SX Group A Qualifying 2
7:55 p.m.: 450SX Group A Qualifying 2
8:10 p.m.: 450SX Group B Qualifying 2
10:06 p.m.: 250SX Heat 1
10:20 p.m.: 250SX Heat 2
10:34 p.m.: 450SX Heat 1
10:48 p.m.: 450SX Heat 2
11:22 p.m.: 250SX Last Chance Qualifier
11:34 p.m.: 450SX Last Chance Qualifier
11:54 p.m.: 250SX Main Event
12:28 a.m.: 450SX Main Event

TRACK LAYOUTClick here to view the track map


FINAL 2022 STANDINGS: 450 points standings | 250 East points standings250 West points standings


ROUND 1: Eli Tomac opens title defense with victory

ROUND 2: Tomac ties Ricky Carmichael on Supercross wins list

ROUND 3: Tomac holds off Cooper Webb again

ROUND 4: Chase Sexton wins Anaheim Triple Crown

ROUND 5: Eli Tomac leads wire to wire in Houston

ROUND 6: Cooper Webb breaks through in Tampa

ROUND 7: Webb wins again in Arlington

ROUND 8: Tomac wins Daytona for the seventh time

ROUND 9: Ken Roczen scores first victory since 2022

ROUND 10: Chase Sexton inherits Detroit victory but docked points


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