Consistency pays off for
Kenseth, Newman, and Biffle
Photo by Gregory Shamus/NASCAR via Getty Images
Ryan Newman and Greg Biffle stand on pit road prior to the start of Saturday night's Federated Auto Parts 400.
Disclaimer: Opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.
Despite not visiting victory lane in NASCAR’s regular season, Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman and Greg Biffle showed their consistency throughout the season’s first 26 races to make the playoffs.
In spite of a 41st
place effort, 70 laps down Saturday night, Kenseth’s points total was enough to
comfortably propel the driver to his tenth Chase berth in 11 seasons.
Newman’s ninth-place finish was enough to solidify Richard Childress Racing’s only driver to qualify for the Chase.
And although Greg Biffle fell two laps down, the Roush Fenway Racing veteran held on to qualify for his third consecutive Chase berth.
All three drivers had an average finish of 14.0, 14.1 and 15.3 respectively.
Yet, when looking at last year’s numbers, all three drivers had scored wins before the post-season.
Ryan Newman (31) races Kurt Busch Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway.
The trio combined for nine victories in 2013 and combined for seven at this point last season.
Nonetheless, consistency has always been the key for success in racing and these drivers proved that in 2014 by posting top-ten efforts as well as noteworthy average finishes.
Clint Bowyer (15) and Jamie McMurray (1) both failed to qualify for this year's Chase for the Sprint Cup.
These drivers will be at a slight disadvantage when the Chase begins next week in Chicago because of the new point totals, but performing well in the Challenger Round will matter most.
While none of the aforementioned drivers has won the championship under the playoff format, it’s safe to say any of the 16 drivers can realistically become the champion with great runs and a little bit of luck.
The regular season, started by Dale Earnhardt Jr. winning the Daytona 500, comes to a conclusion with 13 different drivers scoring victories.
Drivers entering the playoffs with three wins are Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, and Joey Logano. Other competitors with a lone victor include Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin.
Clint Bowyer and rookie Kyle Larson missed the Chase by seven and 16 points after both had a no-win regular season. In an interview with ESPN post-race, Bowyer said of his third place finish “that was our best effort, that was all I had, that was all we had as a race team, we put it all out there and still we are just third best.”