Now that we have a critical race and part of the season over, we can see the championship contenders more clearly after Indianapolis. We will start with the drivers that don’t have much to look forward to unless they can step it up.
3) Ryan Newman- Newman still has a good chance at the chase, if he can pull off another win before the Chase starts. If Newman can get to victory lane again and Kyle Busch can’t, that means Newman will get the second wild card spot. If Busch wins and Newman can’t, that essentially gives Busch that wild card spot. This means Newman first has to win and pray nobody around him gets another win also.
2) Jeff Gordon- If you look at Gordon’s recent finishes, Gordon shouldn’t even be on this list. However, he still needs wins, not top-fives. In order to make the Chase, Gordon needs to get at least two wins, and beat his teammate Kasey Kahne or Kyle Busch in the standings. This however, doesn’t seem realistic, but it can happen. There isn’t any other realistic way Gordon can make the Chase, he just needs to starting winning like there’s no tomorrow.
1) Carl Edwards- Edwards is pretty much in the same position as Gordon, but he can make it to the Chase a lot easier by winning. If Edwards can get one win, and move ahead of Kyle Busch in the standings, he can make it. However, his recent finishes this year and at the upcoming tracks don’t prove to be outstanding. When in doubt, its possible Edwards can win at Watkins Glen or Richmond.
NASCAR has made winning the key point to make the championship, some drivers have already done that, and are close to the top. The man who is currently on the top of the standings though, only has one win. Let’s take a look at the drivers who have a better look at this year’s trophy.
3) Jimme Johnson- Even though he didn’t move up in the standings, Johnson won at Indianapolis this past week for his fourth time. This broke records. It’s also a good fact to know that when he wins at Indy, he likes to go on and win the Championship as well. He has done that every time he has won there so far.
2) Dale Earnhardt Jr.- As mentioned before, Earnhardt Jr. only has one win. He has been dominating with consistency all season. The only person with more top-five/top-ten combinations is Jimmy Johnson. Earnhardt Jr. needs to keep up the consistency and maybe pull off another win to continue towards a championship trophy.
1) Kyle Busch- After having a rough mid-year, Busch is once again on the top side getting good finishes. He finished second this past weekend and currently holds the highest wild card position. If someone else looking for a wild card can get a second win while Busch cannot, he will lose this wildcard spot and a spot in the Chase. Can he get it done?
Will the drivers that need to win do it at Pocono? Dale Earnhardt Jr, Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, and Denny Hamlin have outstanding chances this weekend.
By Caleb Slouha