With 4 races left, the Chase is about to get exciting. My pre Chase pick of Denny Hamlin has solid history on all 4 of the remaining tracks and he needs to post a win or 2 and some top 5’s to claim the title. Jimmie Johnson also has success on the remaining tracks (No win at Homestead), so he should be in the hunt up to the last day. Brad Keselowski has limited success on the remaining tracks, but if he can post some top 5 finishes he could hold off the charge of Hamlin and Johnson. Keselowski’s main threat will be the 4 race Bowyer win streak that will win him the Chase (I wish!).
Matt Kenseth survived the unknown in Kansas to post his 3rd win of the year and his 2nd win of the Chase, to show that his isn’t done with NASCAR and that JGR is getting a hell of a driver in 2013. The top 4 in the Chase standings left Kansas in the same shape it arrived in, but shakeups are on the horizon.
|2012 NASCAR Chase Standings after Race 6 of 10|
|1. Brad Keselowski||2,250||The Blue Deuce needs to just survive and stay inside the top 10 at a track he doesn’t have much success at.|
|2. Jimmie Johnson||2,243 (-7)||JJ is always a favorite to win in Martinsville and will be in the mix at the end.|
|3. Denny Hamlin||2,230 (-20)||Denny is always a favorite to win in Martinsville and will be in the mix at the end.|
|4. Clint Bowyer||2,225 (-25)||Clint’s late race move gave the win to Newman in April. Can he get a win this time?|
|5. Kasey Kahne||2,220 (-30)||Kahne needs a good finish to try to get to the top, but Martinsville is not his favorite track.|
|6. Martin Truex Jr.||2,207 (-43)||Truex finished 5th earlier this year, so he can run well, but I don’t see him posting a good finish.|
|7. Tony Stewart||2,203 (-47)||Stewart is a threat to win and he will run well. He is just too far back to get back in it.|
|8. Jeff Gordon||2,199 (-51)||Gordon is always a favorite to win in Martinsville and will be in the mix at the end.|
|9. Matt Kenseth||2,195 (-55)||Big win in Kansas for the #17 can propel him to a few more. This will not be one of them.|
|10. Kevin Harvick||2,191 (-59)||No top tens in the Chase means that he is done.|
|11. Greg Biffle||2,188 (-62)||Biff dropped 5 places with his horrible Kansas finish and he is in trouble.|
|12. Dale Earnhardt Jr.||2,128 (-122)||Jr. comes back after missing 2 races because of a concussion. Should he? I don’t think so.|
Martinsville belongs to Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson and I see one of them winning this race. The non chasers will be led by Ryan Newman and Kyle Busch, but I don’t see a winner from the outside of the top 12. A pick from the Hendrick stable of Gordon and Johnson would be solid, but I am going to go with Denny Hamlin to get his 6th win of the season. Has the history and the fire to grab a Martinsville win and move inside ten points of Jimmie Johnson going into Texas next week.
Projected Top 3 after Martinsville:
2. Hamlin -9
3. Keselowski -12