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.
|1||14||Tony Stewart||Chevrolet||Office Depot / Mobil 1||186.122|
|2||16||Greg Biffle||Ford||3M / Manheim Auctions||185.648|
|3||18||Kyle Busch||Toyota||Wrigley's Doublemint||185.492|
|4||17||Matt Kenseth||Ford||Ford EcoBoost||185.319|
|6||55||Mark Martin||Toyota||Aaron's Dream Machine||185.232|
|7||11||Denny Hamlin||Toyota||Sport Clips||185.220|
|8||48||Jimmie Johnson||Chevrolet||Lowe's / Kobalt Tools||185.139|
|9||20||Joey Logano||Toyota||The Home Depot||185.084|
|14||34||David Ragan||Ford||Glory Foods||184.738|
|15||22||Sam Hornish Jr.||Dodge||Shell / Pennzoil||184.609|
|17||39||Ryan Newman||Chevrolet||Army Medicine||184.480|
|18||27||Paul Menard||Chevrolet||Quaker State / Menards||184.425|
|20||1||Jamie McMurray||Chevrolet||Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Boats||184.070|
|21||2||Brad Keselowski||Dodge||Miller Lite||184.058|
|22||36||Dave Blaney||Chevrolet||Tommy Baldwin Racing||183.747|
|27||78||Regan Smith||Chevrolet||Furniture Row / Farm American||183.388|
|28||56||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||NAPA Shocks||183.370|
|29||38||David Gilliland||Ford||House / Autry||183.364|
|30||15||Clint Bowyer||Toyota||5-hour Energy||183.333|
|31||30||David Stremme||Toyota||Inception Motorsports||183.037|
|32||21||Trevor Bayne||Ford||Good Sam Club / Camping World||182.886|
|34||49||Jason Leffler||Toyota||Robinson-Blakeney Racing||182.675|
|35||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Chevrolet||National Guard / Diet Mountain Dew||182.627|
|36||95||Scott Speed||Ford||Jordan Truck Sales||182.549|
|37||87||Joe Nemechek||Toyota||AM / FM Energy||182.380|
|38||91||Reed Sorenson||Chevrolet||Plinker Tactical||182.189|
|39||23||Scott Riggs||Chevrolet||North Texas Pipe||182.141|
|40||83||Landon Cassill+||Toyota||Burger King||181.224|
|41||93||Travis Kvapil+||Toyota||Dr Pepper / Burger King||180.527|
|44||98||Michael McDowell||Ford||Phil Parsons Racing||181.777|
|45||26||Josh Wise*||Ford||MDS Transport||181.390|
|46||33||Stephen Leicht*||Chevrolet||Little Joes Autos||181.283|
|47||19||Mike Bliss||Toyota||Plinker Tactical||180.651|