Chase Scenarios for Chase Race 1

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By Peter Carcia
TheRacingExperts.com Reporter
9/13/2010


Blog 4: Sylvania 300 @ New Hampshire (CR #1)

 

         After nearly six months of hard racing, major car changes, and catastrophic wrecks, the field has been set for the 2010 chase for the Sprint Cup. Many surprises happened over the course of the year.Mark Martin, after a runner up position in 09 failed to make the big show by a large margin. Every RCR redeemed themselves with chase berths, while Petty-Yates wasn’t even close. Dale Jr. made it two in a row for not making it in. Drivers such as Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, and Kasey Kahne did not win any races. Now, it’s time to put all of that aside and focus on ten races to decide the championship. Now let’s meet the twelve drivers going for glory:

 

12. Clint Bowyer (5000 / -60)- Clint had an up and down year in 2010. After a couple years of not having a single DNF, Bowyer had just as much, if not more, bad luck as everyone else. Regardless, there was one thing that Clint kept when the Impala wasn’t in the garage early; consistency. If Bowyer keeps the momentum from his race at Richmond, he can lead himself through the postseason.

·        0 Wins

·        4 Top 5’s

·        14 Top 10’s

·        0 Poles

·        14.7 Average Finish This Season

·        17.8 Average Finish @ New Hampshire

 

11. Matt Kenseth (5000 / -60)- After winning the first two races in the 2009 season, Matt Kenseth struggled enough to miss last year’s chase. Although he made the chase, he still has to prove himself in a way, which is yet to make a win out of this year. Now, as the most unsuccessful chase contender, this needs to be his time to shine while he still has a decent chance.

  • 0 Wins
  • 5 Top 5’s
  • 10 Top 10’s
  • 0 Poles
  • 12.6 Average Finish This Season
  • 13.7 Average Finish @ New Hampshire

 

10. Jeff Burton (5000 / -60)- Burton surprisingly had a quiet campaign this year. Although he had many missed opportunities, many disappointing wrecks, I’d admit, even I haven’t heard much from the guy except his wrecks. Nevertheless, he did stay consistent enough to make it into the show. As long as he can get into the form that he was in early in the year, he is very well into a chance.

  • 0 Wins
  • 5 Top 5’s
  • 13 Top 10’s
  • 0 Poles
  • 12.7 Average Finish This Season
  • 13.5 Average Finish @ New Hampshire

 

9. Carl Edwards (5000 / -60)- It’s black, it quacks, it’s sponsored by Aflac, but could this guy be close to a comeback? He’s had 2 poles and has had a lot of decent success over the last couple of months or so. You all know the rules, though; you can’t get a championship without wins, and that should be the main focus on this guy’s mind. This guy hasn’t won on an oval without being docked. I have one simple message when choosing this guy; if he can’t build his 2008 momentum, he will be this year’s Brian Vickers.

  • 0 Wins
  • 6 Top 5’s
  • 14 Top 10’s
  • 2 Poles
  • 11.9 Average Finish This Season
  • 14.8 Average Finish @ New Hampshire

 

8. Jeff Gordon (5000 / -60)- What can I say? This guy has had many missed opportunities throughout the season. Whether it’s a wreck, a white flag pass, it just seems like everyone gets an added boost whenever Jeff Gordon has a legitimate chance of getting the checkered flag. Many people I’ve talked to have said that this guy has simply gone over the hill. If he wants any chance with the trends that he’s had, this guy needs to hope that everyone else is completely inconsistent and he finds a way into the checkered flag. Hopefully, he and crew chief Steve Letarte will have the magic of his third place points finish last year with some added trophies, ‘cause in this chase environment, it’ll take more than experience to slay the 48 dragon.

  • 0 Wins
  • 10 Top 5’s
  • 13 Top 10’s
  • 0 Poles
  • 12.1 Average Finish This Season
  • 11.2 Average Finish @ New Hampshire

 

7. Greg Biffle (5010 / -50)- When you talk about Rousch’s rebound, you’re an idiot if you can’t point out this guy. Biffle not only his win drought, (Dover fall ’08) but he also was the first current Rousch driver since the ‘09 Auto Club 500 to win when he snagged the Pocono victory about a month and a half ago. Back it up though, with what happened in Atlanta and Richmond, I’m pretty sure he’s glad with a fresher start here in New England. For this guy to conquer the cup, the dark horse needs to stay out of immediate trouble from here on in. play conservative when running in the top 5, and fight clean and hard when you’re not. These are some of the things he’s proven to do very well, and hopefully he won’t be afraid to use that power to his advantage.

  • 1 Win
  • 5 Top 5’s
  • 14 Top 10’s
  • 0 Poles
  • 15.3 Average Finish This Season
  • 17.4 Average Finish @ New Hampshire

 

6. Tony Stewart (5010 / -50)- A year ago, Stewart was the favorite. He had 3 wins, a dominating point lead before the reset, and plenty of momentum. When the points were into the 5000s, the magic disappeared. Stewart was hugging the spot to dear life, making sure Joey Logano didn’t take it away. Then, he shook off the cobwebs and went forward compared to Logano’s backwards, giving him not only a win, but a decent cushion to keep championship number three alive. If I have any advice for him, it’s to not get into those kinds of rivalries your Zippadeli predecessor has been getting into lately. Stay on the prize, and keep the maturity that brought you into the team owner business, and you’ll do fine.

  • 1 Win
  • 7 Top 5’s
  • 14 Top 10’s
  • 2 Poles
  • 13.0 Average Finish This Season
  • 11.9 Average Finish @ New Hampshire

 

5. Kurt Busch (5020 / -40)- Kurt Busch has seemed more of the guy in his brother’s point last year. Obviously, he wasn’t the most hated driver in Nascar, but he did have a relatively inconsistent, out of the spotlight season. Many people, even though he won two of the fast intermediate races, are questioning if he’s got the guts to have a chance. Myself? You can take that quote, crumple it up, and throw it in the trash. This is the jaguar cautiously waiting for his next move. Kurt, I have a message for you, though. The deer are getting ready to head to another grazing area. You’re still here. He can clearly make the leap over, but I’m warning you now, my faith in you is gone once you’re lapped in NH.

  • 2 Wins
  • 8 Top 5’s
  • 15 Top 10’s
  • 2 Poles
  • 14.4 Average Finish This Season
  • 13.7 Average Finish @ New Hampshire

 

4. Kyle Busch (5030 / -30)- Rowdy is back, and I don’t mean he’s going into that phase where he’s all “oh, I’m the best in the world, suck it, JJ” I mean he’s REALLY back. I had the idea for this part of the notes planned out for you all, but there was one moment that changed it all. When it was time for him to talk to the ESPN pit crew, he talked as if he really knew what was ahead of him. I hadn’t seen that kind of calmness in him before, and I think missing the chase last year was like in the movie Moonstruck where he gets a slap in the face and hears, “Snap out of it!” There’s only one man who I’ve heard comment on a race the way Kyle did Saturday night, and his name is Jimmie. Get my drift?

  • 3 Wins
  • 8 Top 5’s
  • 14 Top 10’s
  • 2 Poles
  • 12.5 Average Finish This Season
  • 15.2 Average Finish @ New Hampshire

 

3. Kevin Harvick (5030 / -30)- Hang it, Harvick lead all season? That’s what a guy from February would ask if you went to the past. After a dismal 2009 campaign, Harvick is clearly in championship form. As all point leaders have trended to do lately however, he’s been hiding under a bridge so to speak, just mellowing enough so that he could keep the lead, but not bang up cars in the process. Now, it’s time to roll again. My advice, it’s back in business. You had time to have fun with the year, now you’re in a deficit. Keep on pushing those intermediate tracks out, and that could be just enough to get things rolling again in RCR.

  • 3 Wins
  • 11 Top 5’s
  • 17 Top 10’s
  • 0 Poles
  • 9.8 Average Finish This Season
  • 14.3 Average Finish @ New Hampshire

 

2. Jimmie Johnson (5050 / -10)- Jimmie has been one to disappoint this season with his bad luck this year. He DNFed every restrictor plate race, he had elementary penalties, it just seemed like he wasn’t himself at times. That being said let me be clear and concise; this driver, no matter what the circumstance, will shine in the weeks ahead. Before it was the racing world against Jimmie, now, it’s Jimmie against Jimmie. 16 career postseason wins under his belt, now he’s ready to add more.

  • 5 Wins
  • 10 Top 5’s
  • 14 Top 10’s
  • 1 Pole
  • 14.5 Average Finish This Season
  • 9.0 Average Finish @ New Hampshire

 

1. Denny Hamlin (5060 / Lead)- Third place in his rookie year? You knew this boy was special. It was just a matter of time before the world found a man called Denny Hamlin who would lead the way in stopping Hedrick’s dominance. He is ready to become the first driver ever to win a championship in a car not based in the US. Many expected this to happen, but as the favorite, you have a lot of responsibilities. As a point leader, the fans and the media will be watching you’re every move, good or bad. It could very well be all in a matter of time before he can’t take it anymore. This will be Denny’s true test, to see how he can react to being that the world is watching. He’s won at MartinsvilleTexas, and Homestead, all chase races. In these ten races, we can decide whether there’s a championship in his future.

  • 6 Wins
  • 10 Top 5’s
  • 11 Top 10’s
  • 1 Pole
  • 15.2 Average Finish This Season
  • 8.2 Average Finish @ New Hampshire 
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            Now we only stand with one question: Who wants is more?