Twelve drivers will attempt to make history. Eleven will fail.

As the 2010 Chase for the Sprint Cup begins Sunday at Loudon, I think back to a failed prediction of 2009, when I boldly stated that nobody was going to win the 2009 Chase. Jimmie Johnson proved me wrong.

This year, I decided to change things up and use past history to predict future success. It’s a terrible concept for Wall Street, but I’m not Gordon Gekko. Here’s why history shows 11 of the 12 Chasers are in for a rough ten races:

Eighth or Worse, You’re Dead To Me

Kurt Busch was seventh before the 26th race of the 2004 season. He went on to win the title. Nobody eighth or worse going into the final race before The Chase has gone on to win The Chase. This means a driver has to be running well the entire season in order to have enough mojo to take the title.

This rule really sucks for Kurt Busch, since he is eighth in the standings. It’s also bad news for Clint Bowyer, Greg Biffle and Denny Hamlin.

Yup, Denny Hamlin isn’t winning the Chase. Blow an engine in Atlanta, and you can survive. Do that once in the next ten races, and you’ll get great sponsorship exposure. But you won’t win the big prize. At least that’s what history shows.

Don’t Win a Race, Don’t Win The Chase

It’s a simple concept. A driver has never won the title without winning at least a race preceding The Chase. Paging Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards, Jeff Burton and Matt Kenseth. The Winner’s Club called, and there’s a question about your membership dues. You need to pay them before evening thinking about a hug from Sprint Girl after Homestead.

About That Last Rule…Oops

A quick amendment. A driver has never won the title without winning two races prior to The Chase. So the moment Tony Stewart stops texting Carrot Top while eating his flamed broiled delight, we can cross him off the list.

That leaves three men competing for one spot. Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson.

Consistency Counts
No driver has ever won the Sprint Cup having not made The Chase in the previous season.  I have some bad news for Tom Logano’s favorite driver. I have great news for Brad Keselowski. I have ambiguous news for racing fans. Jimmie Johnson is about to cement his legacy with a heaping slab of history. Eleven drivers will lose the 2010 Chase. Jimmie Johnson won’t be in that group for the fifth straight year.


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