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, 5 top 5s, 7 top 10s
2. Matt Kenseth – 2 wins, 2 top 5s, 6 top 10s
3. Kyle Busch – 1 win, 5 top 5s, 5 top 10s
4. Carl Edwards – 1 win, 5 top 5s, 6 top 10s
5. Kasey Kahne – 1 win, 4 top 5s, 5 top 10s
6. Brad Keselowski – 4 top 5s, 7 top 10s
7. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. – 3 top 5s, 6 top 10s
8. Clint Bowyer – 4 top 5s, 5 top 10s
9. Aric Almirola – 4 top 10s
10. Paul Menard – 4 top 10s
11. Kevin Harvick (Wild Card) – 1 win, 1 top 5, 2 top 10s
12. Martin Truex, Jr. (Wild Card) – 2 top 5s, 4 top 10s
Right now it appears as though the two drivers to beat are Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth. Johnson has been the more consistent of the two which is why he ranks ahead of Kenseth.
Brad Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. have not been strong the past few races yet have still been able to keep themselves high in the point standings. Even after a disappointing 17th place effort at Talladega, Earnhardt moved to third and he should be a major contender should he and his team get back to the form they showed earlier this season.
Aric Almirola and Paul Menard break into the top 10 thanks to their consistent good finishes. Kevin Harvick’s win at Richmond gives him the first wild card slot while Martin Truex, Jr.’s speed in comparison to others gives him the best chance to move to the second wild card position.
Just missing the cut: Greg Biffle, Jeff Gordon, Jamie McMurray, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.
After finishing fourth at Texas, Greg Biffle has had finishes of 19th, 36th and 36th and has fell to 10th in the points. Jeff Gordon is keeping a safe gap to the 10th spot in points but needs to not only run better but finish better. Jamie McMurray showed a lot of potential thus far into the season but has cooled off in recent weeks while Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. lacks consistency but has the capability to pull off a sudden win.
On the fence: Ryan Newman, Joey Logano, Jeff Burton, Kurt Busch
All four of these drivers had bad finishes at Talladega. Once again, Kurt Busch was the one who ran the best and looked like a potential winner. If there’s a driver who can get into the Chase from this group, it appears to be him right now.
The clock is ticking: Marcos Ambrose, Tony Stewart, Juan Pablo Montoya, David Ragan, Denny Hamlin
Another race, another bad finish for Tony Stewart. His best finish in the past five events was 17th at Martinsville. It’s getting harder and harder to believe that Stewart will even have a chance of contending to make the field for the Chase. Denny Hamlin returned to start this past weekend but only gained a handful of points due to Brian Vickers getting caught up in the big one.
David Ragan has the chance to pull off one of the biggest upsets in history. If he is able to get into the top 20 in points, he could sneak into one of the two wild card positions. It will be tough work to do though as Ragan is more than 50 points behind 20th in the standings, Kurt Busch.