Who's the Favorite Going Into The Chase?
Nice Season, But No Chance
12. Martin Truex Jr
This isn't just due to the fact he shouldn't be in the Chase, but that he's also injured and just not very consistent. Truex did break his years long winless streak legitimately this season and should be happy with that.
11. Dale Earnhardt Jr
Much like Jeff Gordon, Jr just hasn't shown the same speed as Hendrick teammates Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne this year. Jr will probably finish well in the Chase, but won't be a top contender.
10. Greg Biffle
Biffle has the least amount of top 5's (3) and top 10's (10) of any driver in the Chase. Avoiding disaster does not make one a contender.
9. Kurt Busch
I hate putting him here because if he was in a Hendrick or Joe Gibbs car he'd be number one. Busch is pulling off the most impressive driving I've seen in NASCAR.
Maybe There's A Chance
8. Joey Logano
Logano lucked his way into the Chase at Richmond, but prior to that was the hottest driver in NASCAR. This is his first ever Chase and experience will probably cost him at some point.
7. Kasey Kahne
Kahne easily has the speed to win the Chase but has had many issues with non-1.5 mile race tracks. The reason why he does have a chance is because the Chase has five 1.5 mile race tracks and Kahne is the best non-Joe Gibbs driver on them this season.
Second Tier Contenders
6. Kevin Harvick
Harvick has run well all season on a lame duck team. He's made a pattern of finishing well without running particularly well and its hard to see that be a path to the title.
5. Clint Bowyer
Outside of intentionally altering the outcome of the NASCAR season at Richmond, Bowyer has run extremely well all year and would've lead the regular season point race had he not intentionally wrecked himself. He's certainly a contender, but Toyota's engine issue all season concern me.
4. Carl Edwards
Won at Richmond, though he clearly jumped the final restart and should've been punished. Also had a strong car at Atlanta and had the best car at Bristol. He's peaking going into the Chase, but the Ford cars are not as strong as the Chevy and Toyotas.
3. Jimmie Johnson
There's one thing that separates him and the top two - 1.5 mile tracks. Joe Gibbs Racing has won five of the six ran so far.
2. Kyle Busch
There's one thing separating him from number 1 - the three points he trails his teammate going into the Chase.
1. Matt Kenseth
The top three have thirteen wins between them this year - half of all the races won. These three are clearly the best this year. Kenseth goes into the Chase 3 points up on Busch and Johnson and the schedules sets up to his strengths this year.
Who do you have as your top contender going into the 2013 Chase?