Here's an interesting fact: Only four drivers—Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne—who run significant Nationwide schedules made it into this year's Chase for the Sprint Cup.
That's down from five last year, when Carl Edwards nearly parlayed running both full schedules into his first Sprint Cup title, tying Tony Stewart in points, but losing the tiebreaker by virtue of victories. Both Edwards and Kyle Busch missed this year's Chase after decreasing their Nationwide schedules this season, with Edwards almost entirely pulling out of the series.
Perhaps they're onto something when they run both schedules; extra track time, especially given the similarities of the two schedules these days, comes at a premium for many of Cup's best. And many drivers who run both series and missed the Chase, such as Edwards and Busch, were still in wild-card contention until the very end.
For the following drivers, strong performances in a decent-sized slate of Nationwide races could be the key to either repeating their Chase appearance from this year or breaking in—perhaps for the first time—in 2013.