Saturday, September 1, 2012

Sprint Cup 2012: Race 25 -- Atlanta and One More for the Chase

Hot ‘Lanta – Two to Go for the Chase

The battle for “The Chase” focuses on two scenarios. First, who will be secured in the top 10 on the basis of points and who will make the top 12, securing 11th or 12th position on the basis of wins.

All eyes are on Tony Stewart who has two victories but also languishes in 10th place only 16 points ahead of Kasey Kahne in 11th who also has three wins. The driver who remains in the top 10 will be seeded ahead of all drivers with one win or none with 20 bonus points Wild card drivers get no bonus points and are seeded at the bottom of the field.

Kevin Harvick has no wins and sits in 9th place. He holds on to a 37 points advantage, almost a full race worth of points over 11th place so a catastrophic mess could knock him completely out of “The Chase” having neither the points nor the wins to get in.

Carl Edwards currently stands in 12th place with no wins. Any driver with a victory would bump him from the chase. He either needs a win an maintain a points advantage over the other one win drivers or would have to leap frog into the top 10 on points needing to make up at least 35 points in the next two races.

Kyle Busch holds the second wild card position. The remaining one win drivers would either need a win or would have to surpass him in points. The wild card chasers are as follows, shown with their points deficit behind Kyle Busch.

Jeff Gordon (-16)
Ryan Newman (-19)
Marcos Ambrose (-28)
Joey Logano (-69)

Jeff Gordon and Ryan Newman can advance with strong performances and mediocre work from the #18 crew. Ambrose and especially Logano must win to get in.

The entire chase drama has come down to Tony Stewart to the extent to which he could only be a wild card driver, but to minimize that, Stewart starts from the pole for the AdvoCare 500. As long as he maintains his lead over Kasey Kahne, Stewart should be in good shape. Thus the real battle for the next two weeks is between the one win teams and Carl Edwards for who will take the second wild card position.

Of lesser interest would be the seedings based among race winners. Here’s how that field sets up with each driver earning ten points for each win.

Jimmie Johnson +3
Brad Keselowski +3
Tony Stewart +3
Greg Biffle +2
Denny Hamlin +2
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. +1
Matt Kenseth +1
Clint Bowyer +1
Martin Truex, Jr. (0)
Kevin Harvick (0)

Danica Patrick joins the field with her second consecutive Sprint Cup race qualifying in 23rd position. Despite four cars not quality, there still remain a substantial number of junk entries whose presence would be disgraceful if having any impact on the final chase field selections. NASCAR fans need to get the word out that if a team that is part of a go-or-go home scenario where a team prepared to go the distance could be denied entry in the race, they’d damned well ought to just STAY HOME. How much longer the “start and park” fiasco will be allowed to continue is hard to figure and that the NASCAR allows this farce to continue reflects horribly on the sport. Thank God they don’t run the “Tour De France” where everyone lucky enough to pass a drug test could peddle into the great European spectacle. Alas, Joe Nemechek and his cronies will show up in their tricycles and go for a short Sunday cruise and disappear predictably again.

114Tony StewartChevroletOffice Depot / Mobil 1186.122
216Greg BiffleFord3M / Manheim Auctions185.648
318Kyle BuschToyotaWrigley's Doublemint185.492
417Matt KensethFordFord EcoBoost185.319
524Jeff GordonChevroletDuPont185.307
655Mark MartinToyotaAaron's Dream Machine185.232
711Denny HamlinToyotaSport Clips185.220
848Jimmie JohnsonChevroletLowe's / Kobalt Tools185.139
920Joey LoganoToyotaThe Home Depot185.084
109Marcos AmbroseFordDEWALT185.053
115Kasey KahneChevroletHendrickCars.com184.997
1299Carl EdwardsFordSubway184.930
1343Aric AlmirolaFordAdvoCare184.874
1434David RaganFordGlory Foods184.738
1522Sam Hornish Jr.DodgeShell / Pennzoil184.609
1651Kurt BuschChevroletHendrickCars.com184.566
1739Ryan NewmanChevroletArmy Medicine184.480
1827Paul MenardChevroletQuaker State / Menards184.425
1913Casey MearsFordGEICO184.082
201Jamie McMurrayChevroletBass Pro Shops / Tracker Boats184.070
212Brad KeselowskiDodgeMiller Lite184.058
2236Dave BlaneyChevroletTommy Baldwin Racing183.747
2310Danica PatrickChevroletGoDaddy.com183.673
2429Kevin HarvickChevroletRheem183.643
2547Bobby LabonteToyotaKingsford183.509
2631Jeff BurtonChevroletCaterpillar183.412
2778Regan SmithChevroletFurniture Row / Farm American183.388
2856Martin Truex Jr.ToyotaNAPA Shocks183.370
2938David GillilandFordHouse / Autry183.364
3015Clint BowyerToyota5-hour Energy183.333
3130David StremmeToyotaInception Motorsports183.037
3221Trevor BayneFordGood Sam Club / Camping World182.886
3342Juan MontoyaChevroletTarget182.759
3449Jason LefflerToyotaRobinson-Blakeney Racing182.675
3588Dale Earnhardt Jr.ChevroletNational Guard / Diet Mountain Dew182.627
3695Scott SpeedFordJordan Truck Sales182.549
3787Joe NemechekToyotaAM / FM Energy 182.380
3891Reed SorensonChevroletPlinker Tactical182.189
3923Scott RiggsChevroletNorth Texas Pipe182.141
4083Landon Cassill+ToyotaBurger King181.224
4193Travis Kvapil+ToyotaDr Pepper / Burger King180.527
4232T.J. Bell+FordGreensmoke180.457
4337J.J. YeleyChevroletMaxQworkforce182.069
4498Michael McDowellFordPhil Parsons Racing181.777
4526Josh Wise*FordMDS Transport181.390
4633Stephen Leicht*ChevroletLittle Joes Autos181.283
4719Mike BlissToyotaPlinker Tactical180.651

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