'THE CHASE' ROLLS ON AS NASCAR RETURNS TO NBC WITH THE BANQUET 400
NBC's Weber: "No driver wants to win more than Jeff Burton. And I do believe he will win again this season."
NEW YORK � Sept. 27, 2006 � The "Chase for the Championship" heats up this week on NBC as the NASCAR Nextel Cup series rolls into Kansas for the Banquet 400. Coverage begins at 1:30 pm ET on Sunday with the "Bank of America Countdown to Green" pre-race show, followed by green flag racing at 2 pm ET.
Last weekend Jeff Burton broke his 175-race winless streak with a victory at Dover, taking not only the checkered flag but also the lead in the Chase for the Championship while Jeff Gordon, a two-time winner at Kansas Speedway with four top ten finishes at the track, has climbed into second place, a mere six points behind Burton. Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin are also right on Burton's bumper, trailing the Chase leader by only 18 points.
NASCAR on NBC/TNT pre-race host and play-by-play commentator Bill Weber isn't surprised by Burton's win at Dover last week: "I said at Daytona in February that Jeff would win this season, and probably more than once. He had me holding my breath, but I'm not surprised. I couldn't believe a national publication said the race at Dover lacked a winner with star-power. Jeff is a superstar in this sport with tremendous talent on a team with outstanding strength. I think people mistake his polite attitude for a lack of desire. No driver wants to win more than Jeff Burton. And I do believe he will win again this season.
"But at Kansas there are two clear favorites: Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin. The Chase is about strength and momentum. Burton has shown his strength and has the momentum, but I believe when the Chase leaves Kansas City, fans will be talking about the strength and momentum of Gordon and Martin."
NASCAR CHASE FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS STANDINGS
DRIVER TOTAL POINTS POINTS BEHIND LEADER
1. Jeff Burton 5351 Leader
2. Jeff Gordon 5345 -6
3. Matt Kenseth 5333 -18
4. Denny Hamlin 5333 -18
5. Kevin Harvick 5297 -54
6. Mark Martin 5276 -75
7. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 5249 -102
8. Jimmie Johnson 5215 -136
9. Kasey Kahne 5169 -182
10. Kyle Busch 5127 -224
Bill Weber, pre-race host and play-by-play
Benny Parsons, analyst
Wally Dallenbach, analyst
Allen Bestwick, Dave Burns, Marty Snider, Matt Yocum, pit reporters