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 – 3 wins, 7 top 5s, 9 top 10s
2. Matt Kenseth – 3 wins, 3 top 5s, 7 top 10s
3. Kyle Busch – 2 wins, 6 top 5s, 8 top 10s
4. Kasey Kahne – 1 win, 5 top 5s, 6 top 10s
5. Kevin Harvick – 2 wins, 3 top 5s, 6 top 10s
6. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. – 4 top 5s, 9 top 10s
7. Clint Bowyer – 4 top 5s, 7 top 10s
8. Brad Keselowski – 5 top 5s, 8 top 10s
9. Carl Edwards – 1 win, 5 top 5s, 7 top 10s
10. Jeff Gordon – 3 top 5s, 4 top 10s
11. Tony Stewart (Wild Card) – 1 win, 2 top 5s, 4 top 10s
12. Greg Biffle (Wild Card) – 2 top 5s, 5 top 10s
Jimmie Johnson’s dominant Pocono victory boosted him to the top of the Chase seed projections while Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne both suffered misfortune. Kevin Harvick had a solid top 10 effort at the tricky triangle but so did Dale Earnhardt, Jr. who ran in the top five all race long, finishing third.
Brad Keselowski and Carl Edwards looked good for a while on Sunday but both ended up with middling finishes. Tony Stewart and his team appear to have turned their season completely around as he scored a fourth place finish. Meanwhile, Greg Biffle put an end to a series of bad runs with a second place effort that boosted him back into the top 10 in the points.
Just missing the cut: Paul Menard, Aric Almirola, Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, Martin Truex, Jr.
The in ability of both Paul Menard and Aric Almirola to get into the top five and top 10 on a weekly basis is starting to catch up to both drivers and teams. Scoring top 15 and top 20 finishes can only go so far for so long. Of these drivers, Kurt Busch has shown the most potential to make it into the Chase with finishes of third at Charlotte and seventh at Pocono. Joey Logano has also ran well as of late while Martin Truex, Jr. has run into some bad luck.
On the fence: Jamie McMurray, Ryan Newman, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Jeff Burton, Juan Pablo Montoya, Denny Hamlin
Of these drivers, it looks as though there are only two who have a legitimate shot at potentially making the Chase field; Ryan Newman and Denny Hamlin. Newman has looked really good lately in spite of a terrible 36th place effort at Dover. Hamlin still has a way to go just to get back in the top 20 but things can change very quickly in NASCAR as the Stewart-Haas team can attest to. Getting into the top 20 in points should not be a problem for Hamlin. Winning races and getting a wild card spot is the biggest question.