Friday, September 15, 2006

Predicting The Chase

Very quickly as I'm about to head out to my hockey game, but here is my ranking of the ten drivers chasing the Nextel Cup:

The Favorites:
1. Matt Kenseth-Pains me to say it, but he's the favorite to take this thing home. He was on fire during the "Race to the Chase" and he erased Jimmy Johnson's huge points lead.

2. Kevin Harvick-If Kenseth isn't the hottest driver in the series, then Harvick probably is. I debated long and hard about putting him #1, but that'd be kind of a homer move, since he's my favorite driver. He's going to make a nice run at taking home both the Nextel Cup and Busch series championships. He'd have to go Maurice Clarett to not take home the Busch title at this point.

3. Tony Stew......oh wait. HARRRRRRRRRRRRR!

3. Jimmy Johnson-He hasn't been worth two craps for the last two months, but you have to wonder if the 48 team hasn't been taking it a little easy, knowing that they were solidly into the Chase. He's come so close to winning his first title, this could be the year if he can get back to how he was driving at the start of the series.

The Second Tier:
4. Kyle Busch-He's kind of a dark horse to win the whole thing, but he's been strong from about the midway point of the elapsed season on. I don't think he's got the head on his shoulders yet to pull it off, but he could make some noise.

5. Jeff Gordon-This team is hard to figure out. They're like the little girl with the curl. When they're good, they're very good, but when they're bad (like last week) they're horrid. That said, it's hard to count out a guy that's won that many titles and that many races.

Not This Year:
6. Kasey Kahne-Drove his ass off to make the Chase, and at one point this year was WAY up there in points (3rd I think). If one guy in the bottom five on my list could win the title, Kahne could. He's pretty strong on a lot of the tracks in the Chase as well.

7. Dale Earnhardt Junior-He drives me nuts, and I really don't think he's consistent enough to win the title, but if he got some luck to go his way, he might make a run at it. I'd be surprised though. Having a restrictor plate race in the Chase should help him. Though one DNF can kill your title hopes and it wouldn't shock me a bit if Junior is the first guy to drop out of contention.

8. Denny Hamlin-Too young, not good enough on the non-flat-tracks to make a serious run.

Gotta Win a Race First:
9. Jeff Burton-They've run well all year and I was happy to see him make the Chase, but they haven't finished races, and in a format like this, you have to finish races.

10. Mark Martin-It'd be a nice send off for a great guy (even though my girlfriend hates him--I think she's the only person in the world), but it's not going to happen. I'd be amazed if someone could win the title without winning a race. He runs consistently, but not high enough in the standings (only 5 or 6 top fives this year and no wins). Probably won't DNF, but he's not going to run well enough to win the title.

No comments: