06 September 2012

Who will make the Chase on Saturday night?

Saturday night in Richmond, Virginia is the final race before the field is set for the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Ten drivers have already clinched Chase berths with all but one locked into the top ten (Tony Stewart could fall out of the top ten in points but still is guaranteed a Wild Card slot due to his three wins). Kasey Kahne has not clinched a Chase spot but he will if he wins, if Stewart stays in the top ten or if he finished 13th or higher (14th with one lap led and 15th with most laps led). So long story short, there is one spot available. So who will get the last spot at the Federated Auto Parts 400?

There are eight drivers outside the top ten (and Kahne) that have chances to get in the Chase. (H/T Jayski)

  • Kyle Busch gets in with a win or if he finishes with no more 12 less points than Jeff Gordon AND no more than 40 less points than Marcos Ambrose. 
  • Jeff Gordon gets in with a win, finishing 13 points ahead of Busch AND finishing no more than 28 points to Ambrose AND no more than 37 points behind Newman. If Busch cracks the top ten, Gordon gets in with a win AND finishing 18 points higher than Kahne.
  • Marcos Ambrose gets in with a win or he finishes with 41 more points than Busch AND 29 more than Gordon.
  • Ryan Newman gets in with a win AND Busch or Gordon not supplanting Stewart in the top ten.
  • Joey Logano gets in with a win AND  Busch or Gordon not supplanting Stewart in the top ten.
  • Carl Edwards gets in with a win AND Busch not leading any laps while finishing 24th or worse AND Gordon finishing worse than 12th AND Busch or Gordon not supplanting Stewart in the top ten.
  • Paul Menard gets in with a win AND Busch not leading any laps while finishing 34th or worse AND Gordon not leading any laps while finishing 22nd or worse AND Busch or Gordon not supplanting Stewart in the top ten.
In my opinion, hence the picture at the top of the post, the only two really serious threats to get in the Chase Saturday night are Busch and Gordon. And in fact, I believe that Busch is going to win and make the Chase. 

Gordon has run pretty well over the years at Richmond. He has won twice (although not since 2000) and collected 15 top fives and 24 top tens in 39 races, with an average finish of 14.7. 

But Rowdy at Richmond, my goodness. Richmond is Busch's best track; Kyle has an average finish of 4.7 (4.7!) and has won four times, finished in the top five 12 times and top ten 13 times in 15 starts in Virginia's capital. And he won the spring race at RIR. 

His track record at the track is just too good for me to ignore and thus why I think he gets in Saturday night. 

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