Thursday, October 23, 2014

Eight Nations Battle
Four Will Advance

 This coming weekend will kick off the Eliminator Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. This new competition format has placed renewed prominence on the desirability of race wins. It has also increased the unpredictable nature of the championship outcome.

Who could have predicted, just a few weeks ago, that three of the four Hendricks Chase Drivers (Dale Jr., Johnson and Kahne) would eliminated in the Contender Round? More surprisingly, Kyle Busch, who started the Talladega relatively safe, needing just a twenty-fourth place finish to secure a berth in the next round, fell seven points short.

There are three races left until NASCAR’s version of the Super Bowl:

  1. Martinsville Speedway on 10/26/14
  2. Texas Motor Speedway on 11/02/14
  3. Phoenix International Raceway on 11/9

'Cause we're still here. You got as good a shot as anyone. Denny Hamlin observed. I doubt anyone had these exact eight in this position right now. But we're going to three very different racetracks than what we race most of the year. We all have the same amount of points. Really there's 30 restarts, 30 pit stops that are going to happen between now and Homestead. One could define, to the good or the bad, of you racing for a championship at Homestead or not.

What is assured, is that there are so many variables in the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase, the fans will be on the edge of their seats wondering if their favorite driver can persevere to move on to the Championship Round in Miami.

I guess for us, we look at it as an opportunity, Carl Edwards philosophized. We’re tied for the points lead with a team that has not been really dominant this year. We look forward to these three races because they're not all mile-and-a-half's on which we've struggled. We feel like Martinsville and Phoenix are probably our best opportunities to get a win and advance to Homestead.

Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings

Rank Driver Points Wins
Brad Keselowski 4000 6
Jeff Gordon 4000 4
Ryan Newman 4000 0
Joey Logano 4000 4
Carl Edwards 4000 2
Matt Kenseth 4000 0
Kevin Harvick 4000 3
Denny Hamlin 4000 1


Chase 101

A Chase driver who wins one of the next three races will automatically clinch a spot in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 16. The rest of the four-driver field to compete for the title in the season finale will be determined by the points scored in the three Eliminator Round races.

The highest finisher among the four finalists at Homestead-Miami Speedway will win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship.

Points note: In the final race, the four remaining chase drivers will start the race tied and there will be no bonus points for laps led, etc.

The highest finisher among that group will become the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion.

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