Nextel Cup: The Chase Heads to Cali

Chase conteders just about set with Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth co-favorites.

Two races remain in the Nextel cup season before the 10 drivers will be determined for the chase to the championship. In 1994, the first year of the chase, Kurt Busch was 9th heading into the chase but went on to win the championship. It is therefore quite clear that anyone who makes the chase truly has a chance to win. Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth have already clinched a spot in the chase and have been instilled by as the co 3/1 favorites.

Kenseth has won the last 2 races and is favored for the Sony HD 500 in California, a track he won on earlier this year. Jimmie Johnson has led the standings all year long and the final 10 races are tracks he tends to do well on. The top 10 drivers as they currently stand only consist of 4 teams. Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch race for Hendrick Motorsports. Matt Kenseth and Mark Martin race for Roush Racing. Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin race for Joe Gibbs Racing. Only Dale Earnhardt Jr from Dale Earnhardt Inc. is a lone member in the chase currently.

Two Rousch Racing drivers, Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards are still mathematically alive but will need a near miracle to make the chase. As such the 2 drivers who were among the favorites at the beginning of the year to win the championship are now 100/1 each.

The most interesting race seems to be for the 9th and 10th spot. Mark Martin seemed almost a sure thing to make the chase just 3 weeks ago but a series of terrible finishes see the veteran in 10th spot just 90 points ahead of Kasey Kahne. Dale Earnhardt Jr was out of the chase just 3 weeks ago but consecutive good finishes have moved him into 9th spot just ahead of Martin. Kasey Kahne has his work cut out for him to overcome Martin and Earnhardt but he does tend to do well on the bigger tracks like California. The shorter track of Richmond could be his downfall.

Among the chase contenders the most intriguing has to be Denny Hamlin. The rookie has been nothing short of sensational and has been in contention almost every race. In fact he has been more consistent and is ahead in points of his Gibbs Racing teammate Tony Stewart who of course won the nascar championship last year.

The complete set of odds as posted by are as follows:
Jimmie Johnson 3/1
Matt Kenseth 3/1
Jeff Gordon 6/1
Tony Stewart 6/1
Kevin Harvick 6/1
Denny Hamlin 7/1
Dale Earnhardt Jr 9/1

Kyle Busch 9/1
Jeff Burton 12/1
Mark Martin 18/1
Kasey Kahne 30/1
Greg Biffle 100/1
Carl Edwards 100/1

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by Michael Cash - - Email Us

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