Before Matt finishes his 5 parter I should add my 2 cents here first. Now this isn’t my predicted final order, I’ll do that when Matt is done his so we can compare and tell each other off or pat each other on the back – we’ll see.
If you read between the lines though you’ll get a good idea of where I expect everyone to finish anyway.
No go do the jump and see what I’ve got to say …
The Chase is finally here, and the 12 drivers in it are now looking at a 40-point difference between first and 12th in the standings.
Last week’s race in Richmond, Va., proved to be a real nail-biter for Brian Vickers’ fans as well as Kyle Busch’s. Vickers did exactly what he had to do by keeping Busch just eight points behind him, to clinch his place in the Chase.
Here is my quick breakdown on the Chasers:
Mark Martin: Always a bridesmaid but never a bride in his previous championship runs and a sentimental favourite to win for most. His maturity and experience will do him well in the Chase.
Tony Stewart: A spectacular start to his first season as an owner-driver. His team has passed everyone’s expectations so far this year and will continue to do so during this Chase run.
Jimmie Johnson: Right where he needs to be. Johnson and his team are made for the playoffs, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him clinch his record-setting fourth consecutive championship.
Denny Hamlin: Good run to get into the Chase, but his team is lacking that consistency to finish in the top five every week, and that will hurt during the Chase.
Kasey Kahne: Like Hamlin, Kahne’s team lacks the consistency to finish in the top five each week, and with his team switching to Fords next year I wonder how technologically supportive Dodge is going to be toward the RPM team.
Jeff Gordon: If this guy gets the “eye of the tiger” going, look out; and if he doesn’t, look for a top five finish for him at best.
Kurt Busch: Is a proven winner, but the Penske Dodge he is driving is still lacking in performance. More consistency is needed by driver and team if these guys are going to stand a chance in the Chase.
Brian Vickers: Has a ton of momentum in his favour as well as one of the most consistent records since early July but lacks Chase experience, as does his team. Emotion gets you only so far, and then it comes down to experience. Look for a midpack finish here.
Carl Edwards: Compared with last year, Edwards has had a disappointing year, and unless that Roush-powered Ford of his suddenly comes to life, don’t expect Edwards to be a big factor in the Chase. If his car comes around, expect him to be a contender; otherwise, expect a midpack finish at best.
Ryan Newman: Has been overshadowed by owner-teammate Stewart but still has had some solid runs this year; unfortunately he and his team have not been very consistent. Expect a midpack finish at best here.
Juan Montoya: Is in his first Chase this year and is close to finally winning on a track that is not a road course. I wouldn’t be surprised if he won a race in the Chase. If his team continues to build on what they’ve done so far this season expect a good run from him, but I don’t think it will be a Championship run – top five at best.
Greg Biffle: Everything I just said about teammate Edwards applies here. Edwards and Biffle are championship-worthy drivers but for whatever reason they have been lacking in performance this year with their Roush Fords. Expect a midpack finish at best.
Well there is my quick breakdown. Go online to 4ever3blog.com later in the weekend to see my final finish predictions for the Chasers.
Now let’s bring on New Hampshire and see how the first race goes. I wouldn’t be surprised to see either Johnson or Montoya in victory lane here.