29 October 2015

2015 Chase for the Sprint Cup Predictions: Eliminator Round

Following Talladega and the disgraceful way NASCAR handled the end of that race, the field of the Chase for the Sprint Cup has now been halved. This is the Eliminator Round and after the next three races, we know which four drivers will be competing for the championship. Which four drivers will be in that mix? Here are my predictions.

1. Brad Keselowski (projected Martinsville winner)
I think that Team Penske has proven themselves to be the elite team in the sport right now but much of that conversation has centered on Joey Logano and deservedly so considering he swept the Contender Round. But Keslowski has been running really well of late and was the runner-up at Martinsville in the spring. He will do one better on Sunday.

2. Kevin Harvick (projected winner at Phoenix)
How Harvick was able to advance has been the source of a lot of controversy (for what it's worth, I do think he wrecked Trevor Bayne on purposes on Sunday and frankly, I don't have an issue with it) but what is something we all know is how good Harvick is at Phoenix with five wins in the last six races there.

3. Joey Logano
Nobody has had a better Chase than Logano has had thus far. He has had only two non top threes (a sixth at Chicagoland and a tenth at Dover) and has that aforementioned three straight victories. We won't sweep the Eliminator Round, in fact I don't think he'll win, but he will return to the championship.

4. Carl Edwards
Edwards has been pulling the Ryan Newman with consistent finishes during this Chase. He has the second highest average finish of this Chase thus far of a seventh and he has shown much more consistency in the second half of the season than he did in the first half. He will find a way to get to Homestead.
5. Jeff Gordon
I have been wrong about Gordon twice in his final Chase as I projected him to miss the cut twice now. Therefore, I very well could be wrong again but I do think that this will be the prediction with Gordon that I get right. He has improved his performance a little bit in this Chase but I think he will fall a little short.

6. Kyle Busch
Rowdy put together one of the more incredible runs to make the Chase after missing the first 11 races but he hasn't won since July and has been a little more inconsistent since. He also doesn't have the luxury that the other drivers have in previous experience this season at these tracks.

7. Martin Truex Jr. 
Truex has shown more consistency since his slump in the summer but I'm still not sure he will find enough speed to get to the championship.

8. Kurt Busch
Busch has done well enough to get to the Eliminator Round but he has not had a ton of speed in this Chase with an average finish of around tenth. I think that will continue.

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