KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Mark Martin, Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards - the one-two-three finishers in Sunday's Banquet 400 at Kansas Speedway - did what was necessary to get back into contention in NASCAR's Chase for the Championship.
Points leader Tony Stewart, however, did what he was supposed to do to keep the lead.
By finishing fourth, Stewart minimized the domination of the three Roush Racing teammates. And after four races in stock car racing's playoffs, Stewart now leads by 75 points heading into Saturday night's race at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
"If we can keep running in the top five, that's what we need to do," Stewart said. "Like I've always told people, there's no guarantees. Everybody wants to talk points every week. But the easiest way to put it in perspective, we're not even halfway through the (Chase) schedule in the last 10 weeks. We've got a long way to go.
Martin and Biffle were both in crashes last week at Talladega. Edwards, a rookie, started the postseason with finishes of 19th, ninth and fifth to be sixth before Sunday's race. Even with a third-place finish, he's still sixth.
Ryan Newman was involved in a crash on the 17th lap at Kansas and struggled to finish 23rd. He's still second in the rankings, but he dropped 71 points to Stewart to be 75 out of first place with six races to go.
Despite his victory at Kansas, Martin said his chances to win his championship remains slim.
"My thoughts on the championship is we probably let it slip away last week (at Talladega)," he said. "It's too far back. But if we go on and do this some more, you never know."
NO TEAM ORDERS: Kurt Busch wasn't happy with his teammate, Matt Kenseth, early in Sunday's race because he wouldn't let him lead a single lap - and gain five bonus points in the championship race.
Kenseth said there are no company orders to help teammates, especially when that teammate is a competitor in the playoffs.
"When you get in the Chase you've got to get all the points you can," Kenseth said. "You can't give points away. I'm sure (Busch) is mad at me."
Jack Roush said he doesn't want his drivers to play favorites.
"I don't expect them to do that," he said. "In fact, I'd be disappointed if they did that."
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