Last Chance to Get Into the Chase [Cup Series Live Thread]
The points system and Chase system are different this year. Currently, 8 of the top 10 drivers are set. It's the Top 10 in points plus 2 wild cards. Those drivers are the 2 with the most wins inside the top 20, but OUTSIDE the top 10. If nobody outside the top 10 has a victory, we just go with 11 and 12.
There are many scenarios for tonight's main event. Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, and Ryan Newman have all clinched Chase berths. Brad Keselowski earns a chase berth with his 3 victories, earning one of the wild card spots. HOWEVER, if one of the drivers in 9th or 10th fall out and Keselowski gets in, you've got a ton of confusing scenarios. Here's the simple facts...Dale Earnhardt Jr sits 9th in the standings, 25 points ahead of 11th. He makes the Chase by finishing 20th or better, 21st or better and leading a lap, or 22nd or better and leading the most laps. Tony Stewart is 23 points ahead of 11th. He gets into the Chase if he finishes 18th or better, 19th or better with a lap led, or 20th or better with the most laps led. Both need to move up a few from their respective starting positions. Stewart starts 22nd and Junior starts 27th. Here's the full starting lineup.
If Denny Hamlin wins, he gets the other wild card spot. If Paul Menard wins, he gets the other wild card spot. If nobody outside the top 10 wins tonight, it gives Hamlin the other wild card berth by virtue of being the highest. Now comes the fun part. If Brad Keselowski gets into the top 10 with some faltering by Junior or Smoke, by virtue of NOT having a win, that driver would be bumped out and Hamlin AND Menard would make the Chase. Also, if David Ragan, or Marcos Ambrose win and get inside the top 20, one of them would be the other wild card winner by virtue of TWO wins. Marcos is 7 points out, David is 20 points out. Confused yet? GOOD! If you're still wondering what the hell I just said, click here for some help.
Tonight, some drivers will also run special paint schemes to remember 9/11 10 years later.
So who wins this mess tonight? I think it's going to be someone who's NOT going to make the Chase.
My Pick: David Reutimann
He's sitting on the pole, and he led the most laps in this very race a couple of years ago. With the drivers like Busch, Edwards, and Johnson pushing for nothing but a win, they won't be terribly upset if they go out with a bang pushing a little too hard. Add to that the guys like Junior and Smoke who have to try to make their way to the front, but also must be cautious not to get caught up in anything, and it opens the door for a guy like Reutimann to slide on in to victory lane.
Dark Horse: Clint Bowyer
Don't count him out just yet. Getting wrecked by Montoya hurt tremendously last week, but he's been a pro at racing his way into the Chase the last few years. He's only 12 points behind Denny Hamlin who sits 12th. If Bowyer wins this race and Hamlin were to wreck out early, or struggle and finish say 20th, Bowyer's in with a win AND higher points position than Hamlin.
This is your official race thread to discuss the happenings before, during, and after the race...now LET'S GO RACING!
BK over and out