Race to the Chase: Six to Go

Joshua LobdellCorrespondent IJuly 29, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS - JULY 26: Mark Martin, driver of the #5 CARQUEST/Kellogg's Chevrolet, races Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's/KOBALT Tools Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Instead of focusing on the never-ending soap opera that the Jeremy Mayfield situation has become, instead of focusing on the tries, or who will be where, let’s take some time today to talk about the racing.

In all honesty, it seems the NASCAR media as a whole has been hijacked this year, and instead of focusing on the great racing, we have become tabloid journalists.

For today, let us focus on the racing, the one thing all NASCAR fans love.

With six races left until the start of the chase, no one is locked in mathematically yet, but we can take a few good guesses at who will make it and who will not.

Tony Stewart currently leads the points and is 625 points ahead of 12th place. That means Tony is a virtual lock for the chase and with his two wins so far, will be among the top five seeds.

Jimmie Johnson is 433 points ahead of 12th place and now has three wins. While Jimmie doesn’t have the best record at the six remaining tracks before the chase starts, he does drive Atlanta well, and a strong run there will lock him in.

Jeff Gordon will probably make the chase, but Gordon has not done so well in past chases and it seems that his age is starting to show—on top of his continued back problems. In all reality the era of Gordon has come to an end, and it seems likely his driving career will end within the next three seasons.

We could go ahead and call these three drivers locks for the chase. However, fourth place Kurt Busch and 12th place Matt Kenseth are only separated by 179 points. While that is more that any one driver can gain on an opponent in one single race, there is the chance that a few of these drivers may fall out.

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