Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship Round 2014: Who fell short


In any playoff elimination format, there are always going to be those that came oh, so close, yet fell short of making it to the championship round.

In many instances, it’s heartbreaking, particularly for certain teams that had so much incentive and drive to accomplish something special this season, such as Jeff Gordon’s “Drive For Five” and Carl Edwards’ bid to leave Roush Fenway Racing in his final season with the organization as a champion.

Sadly, that’s part of what happened Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway, as Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski and Edwards all ultimately ended up being eliminated.

Here’s a breakdown of those four drivers who fell short of both advancement and a chance for the championship:


For the 13th consecutive season, Gordon’s drive for a fifth championship — the so-called Drive For Five — came up short.

Even though he finished runner-up to Harvick in the race, Gordon missed advancing to Homestead by one single point as Newman’s move on Larson knocked Gordon out.

While obviously disappointed, Gordon took things in stride.

“We have a lot to hold our heads up high about,” Gordon said. “The way raced this race, this whole Chase and the whole season, we raced hard, we raced together as a team.”

But Gordon also didn’t pass up the opportunity to surreptitiously blast Keselowski again for last week’s run-in at Texas.

“But I hope we taught somebody (veiled reference to Keselowski) you can race clean, still go out there and give it your best and you don’t have to wreck people to make it in the Chase or to win the championship, Gordon said.

“This makes last week hurt that much more, but we did everything we could. Second just wasn’t good enough. Harvick was in another zip code. There was nobody that was going to get him today.

“We did a great job finishing second. I’m not happy about it, but at the same time, I’m really proud of what we’ve done this year and we’re going to try and win Homestead and end the season on a positive note.”


Bad Brad is now Sad Brad. Keselowski failed to advance to the championship round, missing the cutoff by eight points, and also missing the chance to compete for his second championship in three seasons.

“We were just a little bit short,” Keselowski said somberly. “Kevin (Harvick) was really, really strong all day long. We just weren’t strong enough to win. We were strong enough to finish second or third, and wound up fourth. We have a lot to be proud of, just not enough.

“It doesn’t really feel good, but at the end of the day, we won six races and that’s a lot to be proud of. We’re going to wind up solidly in the top five or six points, so that’s an effort to be proud of, as well.”


Kenseth was hoping to become the second driver to reach the championship round without having won a single race this season.

But in the end, the same guy who won a series-high seven races last season, remains winless and missed advancing to the championship round by a mere three points.

He pointed to last week’s race at Texas as being more of a reason why he fell short than his third-place finish in Sunday’s race.

“The last half of last week’s race was just disastrous,” Kenseth said. “I can’t say I’m surprised (he came up short Sunday). I’m pleasantly surprised in the way we ran today. These guys never gave up.

“We’re still going to go to Homestead and try to win the race. I was surprised we were out by one point last week, and we performed real good this week, but that just wasn’t enough.”

Can he still get that elusive first win of the season at Homestead, where he has won before?

“The performance just hasn’t been that good this year,” Kenseth said. “… We’re definitely a championship caliber team, we’re looking forward to go try and go win Homestead and get ready for next year and hopefully run (in 2015) like we did last year (2013).”


Edwards seemed like he was never in Sunday’s race from the opening green flag.

Sure, he managed to get up close to the top 10 a couple of times, but with the poor practices and qualifying effort he had on Friday and Saturday, it was just a matter of too little, too late for Edwards.

“We tried every trick that we could,” Edwards said. “We just didn’t have a lot of speed all weekend. The car actually drove pretty decently at the end, so I thought Jimmy (crew chief Jimmy Fennig) did a great job with it. We just didn’t have enough speed, so that’s how it goes.”

Edwards ultimately missed advancing to the championship race by a fairly hefty 15 points.

In falling short, it ended his hopes for a Cinderella-like story that would have culminated in his first career Cup championship in his final season with Roush Fenway Racing.

“These guys dug deep and worked hard,” Edwards said. “I’ve never been a part of something like this where everybody just doesn’t give up. This means the world.”

Edwards had so wanted to leave RFR with a going-away title, but it was not to be. He’ll try yet again for a championship next season with his new home, Joe Gibbs Racing.

“We made it awfully far, so I’m very proud of everybody,” Edwards said. “We’ll just go to Homestead and try to get another win. Hopefully, Joey (Logano) can get the win and bring Ford a championship.”

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

IndyCar results, points after 107th Indy 500


INDIANAPOLIS — With his first victory in the Indy 500, Josef Newgarden became the first repeat winner through six race results of the 2023 NTT IndyCar Series season and made a move in the points.

Newgarden, who celebrated with fans in the grandstands, moved from sixth to fourth in the championship standings with his 27th career victory and second this season (he also won at Texas Motor Speedway).

The Team Penske star won his 12th attempt at the Brickyard oval, tying the record for most starts before an Indy 500 victory with Tony Kanaan (2013) and Sam Hanks (1957). Newgarden, whose previous best Indy 500 finish was third with Ed Carpenter Racing in 2016, became the first Tennessee native to win the Greatest Spectacle in Racing and the first American since Alexander Rossi in 2016.

He also delivered the record 19th Indy 500 triumph to Roger Penske, whose team ended a four-year drought on the 2.5-mile oval and won for the first time since he became the owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar in 2020.

Newgarden, 32, led five laps, the third-lowest total for an Indy 500 winner behind Joe Dawson (two in 1912) and Dan Wheldon (one in 2011).

The race featured 52 lead changes, the third most behind 68 in 2013 and 54 in ’16, among 14 drivers (tied with ’13 for the second highest behind 15 leaders in ’17 and ’18). Newgarden’s 0.0974-second victory over Marcus Ericsson was the fourth-closest in Indy 500 history behind 1992 (0.043 of a second for Al Unser Jr. over Scott Goodyear), 2014 (0.0600 of a second for Ryan Hunter-Reay over Helio Castroneves) and 2006 (0.0635 of a second Sam Hornish Jr. over Marco Andretti.).

It also marked only the third last-lap pass in Indy 500 history — all within the past 17 years (Hornish over Andretti in 2006; Wheldon over J.R. Hildebrand in 2011).

Ericsson’s runner-up finish was the ninth time the defending Indy 500 finished second the next year (most recently four-time winner Helio Castroneves in 2003).

Here are the IndyCar results and points standings after the 107th Indy 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway:


Click here for the official box score from the 200-lap race on a 2.5-mile oval in Indianapolis.

Lap leader summary

Full lap chart

Best section times

Full section data

Event summary

Pit stop summary

Here is the finishing order in the Indy 500 with starting position in parentheses, driver, engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (17) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 200, Running
2. (10) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 200, Running
3. (4) Santino Ferrucci, Chevrolet, 200, Running
4. (1) Alex Palou, Honda, 200, Running
5. (7) Alexander Rossi, Chevrolet, 200, Running
6. (6) Scott Dixon, Honda, 200, Running
7. (8) Takuma Sato, Honda, 200, Running
8. (16) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 200, Running
9. (21) Colton Herta, Honda, 200, Running
10. (2) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 200, Running
11. (18) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Chevrolet, 200, Running
12. (27) Callum Ilott, Chevrolet, 200, Running
13. (25) Devlin DeFrancesco, Honda, 200, Running
14. (14) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 200, Running
15. (20) Helio Castroneves, Honda, 200, Running
16. (9) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 200, Running
17. (24) Marco Andretti, Honda, 200, Running
18. (32) Jack Harvey, Honda, 199, Running
19. (30) Christian Lundgaard, Honda, 198, Running
20. (13) Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, 197, Contact
21. (11) Benjamin Pedersen, Chevrolet, 196, Contact
22. (33) Graham Rahal, Chevrolet, 195, Running
23. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, 195, Running
24. (5) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 192, Contact
25. (22) Simon Pagenaud, Honda, 192, Contact
26. (26) Agustin Canapino, Chevrolet, 192, Contact
27. (3) Felix Rosenqvist, Chevrolet, 183, Contact
28. (15) Kyle Kirkwood, Honda, 183, Contact
29. (23) David Malukas, Honda, 160, Contact
30. (19) Romain Grosjean, Honda, 149, Contact
31. (31) Sting Ray Robb, Honda, 90, Contact
32. (28) RC Enerson, Chevrolet, 75, Mechanical
33. (29) Katherine Legge, Honda, 41, Contact

Winner’s average speed: 168.193 mph; Time of Race: 2:58:21.9611; Margin of victory: 0.0974 of a second; Cautions: 5 for 27 laps; Lead changes: 52 among 14 drivers. Lap leaders: Palou 1-2; VeeKay 3; Palou 4-9; VeeKay 10-14; Palou 15-22; VeeKay 23-27; Palou 28-29; VeeKay 30-31; Rosenqvist 32; Rossi 33-34; Palou 35-39; VeeKay 40-47; Palou 48-60; VeeKay 61-63; Rosenqvist 64-65; O’Ward 66; Power 67; Herta 68; Rosenqvist 69; O’Ward 70-78; Rosenqvist 79-81; O’Ward 82-89; Rosenqvist 90-94; Ilott 95-99; Rosenqvist 100-101; O’Ward 102; Rosenqvist 103-107; O’Ward 108-109; Rosenqvist 110-113; O’Ward 114-115; Rosenqvist 116-119; O’Ward 120-122; Rosenqvist 123-124; O’Ward 125-128; Rosenqvist 129-131; Ferrucci 132; Ericsson 133-134; Castroneves 135; Rosenqvist 136; Ericsson 137-156; Newgarden 157; Ericsson 158; Ferrucci 159-168; Ericsson 169-170; Rossi 171-172; Sato 173-174; O’Ward 175-179; Hunter-Reay 180-187;
O’Ward 188-191; Ericsson 192; Newgarden 193-195; Ericsson 196-199; Newgarden 200.


Click here for the points tally in the race.

Here are the points standings after the GMR Grand Prix:



Engine manufacturers

Pit stop performance

Top 10 in points: Palou 219, Ericsson 199, O’Ward 185, Newgarden 182, Dixon 162, McLaughlin 149, Rossi 145, Grosjean 139, Power 131, Herta 130.

Rest of the standings: Lundgaard 122, Kirkwood 113, Rosenqvist 113, Ilott 111, Ferrucci 96, VeeKay 96, Rahal 94, Malukas 84, Armstrong 77, Daly 73, Castroneves 69, Harvey 65, DeFrancesco 63, Canapino 61, Pagenaud 55, Pedersen 51, Robb 47, Sato 37, Carpenter 27, Hunter-Reay 20, Kanaan 18, Andretti 13, Enerson 5, Legge 5.

Next race: The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix, which has moved from Belle Isle to the streets of downtown, will take place June 4 with coverage starting on Peacock at 3 p.m. ET on NBC.