The following is a projected seeding for the 2013 Chase for the Sprint Cup. Seeding is based upon a driver’s performance thus far in the season as well as the projected performance of a driver based on their history. This is similar to most power rankings but focuses on the seeding for the Chase while also recognizing race-to-race performance.
1. Jimmie Johnson – 2 wins, 4 top 5s, 6 top 10s
2. Kyle Busch – 2 wins, 5 top 5s, 5 top 10s
3. Matt Kenseth – 2 wins, 2 top 5s, 5 top 10s
4. Brad Keselowski – 4 top 5s, 7 top 10s
5. Carl Edwards – 1 win, 4 top 5s, 5 top 10s
6. Kasey Kahne – 1 win, 4 top 5s, 5 top 10s
7. Clint Bowyer – 4 top 5s, 5 top 10s
8. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. – 3 top 5s, 6 top 10s
9. Kevin Harvick – 1 win, 1 top 5, 2 top 10s
10. Paul Menard – 4 top 10s
11, Martin Truex, Jr. (Wild Card) – 2 top 5s, 3 top 10s
12. Jeff Gordon (Wild Card) – 1 top 5, 2 top 10s
Saturday night’s race at Richmond was a tough night for many of the drivers higher in points. Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Clint Bowyer and Kyle Busch all looked strong at one point or another but were not able to take the victory.
Jimmie Johnson had a good night going until contact from Tony Stewart hindered his night. Brad Keselowski appeared to have a strong car even after hitting the wall early in the race but his engine soured in the closing stages and relegated him to a poor finish.
Obviously the big winner was Kevin Harvick, not just in terms of the race but in terms of improving his chances of making the field for The Chase. Prior to Saturday night, Harvick had not shown very much all season and it was looking as though his last season with Richard Childress Racing was going to be a major disappointment.
Just missing the cut: Greg Biffle, Aric Almirola, Jamie McMurray, Ryan Newman
Greg Biffle is still in the top 10 in the point standings yet it seems as though his team lacks the consistency necessary to stay in the top 10, much less win a race. Aric Almirola and Jamie McMurray continue to have great seasons. However, both drivers have to hope they either improve where they have been finishing or for others around them to falter so they can move into the top 10. Ryan Newman has been the best Stewart-Haas Racing car by far in 2013 and has recovered nicely from early season woes.
On the fence: Joey Logano, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Jeff Burton, Kurt Busch
Of these drivers, it appears as though Kurt Busch is the most likely candidate to win one or possibly multiple races. There is still an outside chance of these drivers moving themselves into the top 10 in standings but they will have to start getting consistent very soon for that to happen.
Time is running out: Tony Stewart, Marcos Ambrose, Juan Pablo Montoya, Denny Hamlin
It does not appear as though any of these drivers will be able to weave their way through the points to the top 10 which of course means these drivers need to win soon and likely win multiple races. Denny Hamlin is set to start his car at Talladega which will stop his free-fall in points but he will have his hands full just to make his way back into the top 20 in points.