Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick have shown they know how to win this season.
They will likely need to win over the next two races if either or both hope to have a chance to compete for the Sprint Cup Series championship in the Nov. 16 series finale at Homestead, Fla.
Both drivers – who won races in Round 2 of the Chase to advance to Round 3 – fell victim to problems in Sunday’s Goody’s 500 at Martinsville Speedway, leaving both at the bottom of the standings.
Matt Kenseth got loose and collected Harvick and Stewart in an accident as the three raced into Turn 1 on Lap 228 of 500. Harvick took the brunt of the damage, which required extensive repairs.
Harvick finished 33rd and is last among the eight remaining Chase drivers, 33 points behind leader Jeff Gordon.
“The good thing about this format is you have two more weeks and two race tracks that we can win on,” Harvick said. “Everybody was so worried about us starting in the back (because of a poor qualifying effort) and we wrecked at the front.”
Harvick was not happy with Kenseth’s involvement in the incident. “Yeah, he won’t win this championship.,” Harvick said. “If we don’t, he won’t.”
Keselowski found trouble early with a pit road speeding penalty on Lap 163 that sent him to the rear of the field. His day got worse when he fell off the pace on Lap 439 with a broken rear end gear and triggered a six-car wreck.
After extensive repairs, Keselowski returned to the track and finished 31st. He is seventh in points among Chase drivers, 31 behind Gordon.
Wins by still-eligible Chase drivers in this round automatically advance them to the championship season finale. Harvick has won three races this season and Keselowski six.
“Just a part failure. There’s no explanation behind it,” Keselowski said. “It’s been tough (in the Chase) but it builds character and makes us stronger. With this format, we’re by no means out.”