12 drivers remain in the Chase hunt with Kansas staring them straight in the face and Talladega lurking at the end of the tunnel. Charlotte lies between the two. After these three races, another four drivers will join A.J. Allmendinger, Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle and Aric Almirola on the outside, and the rest will advance with dreams championship still alive.
Here are some things to watch over the next three events:
- This segment is all based around the sure tension that will be faced at Talladega.
- Drivers will look to get themselves locked in with a win in the two races before the unpredictable beast.
- With fewer drivers in the Chase, there are more drivers that can upset the championship competitors.
- You think Talladega was crazy before? Wait until someone’s championship hopes are on the line.
Here is this segment’s board heading Kansas Speedway.
- Brad Keselowski – He carried his momentum through the last three races with two top-two showings and a seventh place at New Hampshire.
- Jeff Gordon – Like Keselowski, Gordon has two top-two finishes in the last three races with a tire issue forcing him into a 26th place finish at New Hampshire.
- Joey Logano – He has been fast every week of the playoffs, notching off two fourth-place finishes and a win at New Hampshire.
- Kevin Harvick – He might just have the most speed of anyone this season and could be the most dangerous of the remaining competitors.
- Jimmie Johnson – No one seems to be talking about the six-time champ. That could be right where he wants to be. Look for him to strike soon.
- Kyle Busch – While he seems to be complaining about his car every week, he put up top-10 finishes in the last three races. If he gets that Toyota to a point where he likes how it’s driving, look out.
- Dale Earnhardt Jr. – He ran so well earlier in the season. This may just be a matter of peaking too early for the No. 88 team. He finished fifth at Kansas in the spring.
- Denny Hamlin – He had a pretty decent start to the Chase if you overlook the issues in Loudon, where he led 32 laps.
- Matt Kenseth – Although he hasn’t blown away the field with his speed this season, he was consistent. That will get you to the next round, but it won’t win you the championship. He has an average finish of 6.8 over the last five races.
- Carl Edwards – Edwards didn’t show particularly well in the last few races, but he has finished in the top six at both Kansas and Charlotte earlier this year. The guy has a shot.
- Ryan Newman – Consistency may get Newman to the next round, but I don’t know how far beyond that merely consistency is going to take him. This team has to step it up.
- Kasey Kahne – There are simply too many issues on this team right now. Unless he gets some serious help from the other drivers or a win, he’s in trouble. He had an average finish of 18.7 through the last three races.
- AJ Allmendinger – They made the Chase. That was their goal for the season. I just don’t think Cinderella has the strength in her legs to dance.
- Kurt Busch – In his one win this year, his car was torn up. We’d be talking about how much of a disappointment his year was if he didn’t qualify. He only has 4 more top tens than his teammate Danica Patrick.
- Greg Biffle – Like Newman, not anything jumps off the page when you look at Biffle. He was simply good enough to get in.
- Aric Almirola – I think this team might just be saving a little something. He reeled off top 10 finishes in the last two events.