Avondale, Arizona:The man who invented NASCAR's Chase for the championship is expecting Jeff Gordon to at least gain ground on Jimmie Johnson this week.
"I think Jeff's going to run better here, and I think it could be very, very close going into Homestead," NASCAR chairman Brian France said.
Johnson has a 30-point lead over his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Gordon going in to Sunday's Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.
The competition next week in Homestead is the last of the 12 races that make up the Chase.
France agreed that having teammates going for the title isn't the best scenario.
"All things being equal, we'd like to see 12 different drivers from 12 different teams, but that's not how it always works," France said after appearing at a NASCAR business seminar at the track on Friday.
"We can't predict who's going to be good in a given year. That's why they race."
France was pleased with the revised Chase system this year.
"I think it's worked," he said.
Among the changes was adding bonus points for victories. He used Johnson's victory last week in Texas as an example.
"He knew how close it was and he knew those bonus points may be necessary to win it all," he said. "In the old days, a couple of years ago, somebody might have settled for second.
He took a lot of chances. I hope it was because the rewards were such that it counts. That's what I'm hearing."