Among the best parts of NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup is the prognostication and prediction of who will or won’t make the final 16-driver field.
The media does it, fans do it, even fellow teams and drivers do it.
In their ongoing series of unique NASCAR statistics, CNBC.com is out this week with its own look at how things currently stack up – and how it expects the Chase field will play out.
How many drivers will have wins to make the Chase, and how many others will make it on points alone?
Last season, 13 drivers won at least one race to make the Chase, while three other drivers (Ryan Newman, Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth) made it on points.
After the first nine races of the 2015 season, seven different drivers have won races to make themselves Chase-eligible; Kurt Busch became the most recent with his win this past Sunday at Richmond.
CNBC.com’s Eric Chemi and PitRho’s Andrew Maness predict that once again this season, 13 drivers will make the Chase with wins, with the remaining three playoff entrants doing so on points.
If they don’t win a race between now and the second race of the season at Richmond, Martin Truex Jr., Jamie McMurray and Ryan Newman have the best chance of making the Chase on points according to Chemi, Maness and PitRho co-founder and former NASCAR crew chief Josh Browne.
“These three drivers may not win a race, but could be consistent enough to get in as winless Chase drivers,” Browne said. “We would expect Kasey Kahne, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon to all get wins before the Chase starts.”
You’ll definitely want to read who they think will not make the Chase unless they earn a win.