Everyone around Martin Truex Jr. seems to have NASCAR's Chase for the Championship on their minds.
Truex is in position to reach the Chase for the first time since 2007 and become the first-ever Michael Waltrip Racing driver to qualify.
And recently, the Stafford Township native's crew chief, Chad Johnston, named his newborn son Chase. Johnston denies that it had anything to do with "the Chase," though.
"I wanted my son's initials to be the same as mine," Johnston said in quotes provided this week by MWR. "It was between the names Chase and Cameron. My wife and I chose Chase Allen Johnston. We didn't want to sound corny and name him Chad Jr."
Truex is sixth in the standings with four races left before the Chase field is set. The top 10 drivers plus two wild cards based on wins make the Chase, and Truex has a 75-point lead over the 11th-place driver, Kasey Kahne.
Despite the large cushion, Johnston isn't considering their team a lock.
“I will feel comfortable once the race at Richmond is over," Johnston said of the last race before the Chase. "My focus right now is on the single-digit and top-10 finishes. We are not changing the way we approach races. It’s all about consistency and keeping our head down and eye on the goal.
"We want to win a race and make the Chase. The Chase is rapidly approaching so if we can be consistent with top-10, top-five finishes and not make any mistakes, then I will feel comfortable entering Richmond with the 75-point pad. I may breathe a little easier then, but I am still not sure.”
Johnston said he has to resist the urge to look ahead and start thinking about setups for Chase races.
“Right now we are not getting ahead of ourselves," he said. "I honestly have not started thinking about the Chase. Maybe as we get closer, I probably will. If we do our jobs like we do every week then getting into the Chase will take care of itself.
"Now is not the time to experiment and go out on a limb. Now is the time to continue and learn as much as we can. If you look at these next four races — Michigan, Bristol, Atlanta and Richmond, you can learn a lot for places like Chicago, New Hampshire and Dover. If we are fortunate enough to get in, we hope what we’ve learned will translate into a strong start for the final 10 races of 2012.”