Following the Saturday night race at Bristol, the Sprint Cup Series saw another shakeup in the points standings. With just two races left until the 12-driver Chase field is finalized, let’s take a look at the updated probability table.
Because of the strength of the competitors in the 12th through 14th spots, I am updating the 12th place points target to 3,172. That is up from 3,149 last week, and the 3,120 I had been using the last few weeks. This will cause some previous "100 percent" numbers to drop a bit, but the overall effect is not changed.
Some notes of interest:
1) We say an official goodbye to 17th-place Marcos Ambrose and everyone below him. With only two races to go, the most points somebody can score is 390. Ambrose is more than 390 points behind 3,172, so he is mathematically eliminated. I suggest ESPN limit the YELLOW bubble labels on its scrolling leaderboard to just the names I have included on my table.
2) I am ALMOST ready to say goodbye to Clint Bowyer and David Reutimann, who each had poor nights, dropping them to a zero percent chance of making the 3,172 target. Of course, my percentages are based on performance thus far predicting future results. If one wins both of the next two races, he could get in. But neither of them have two wins all year, which is why they get zero percent on this table.
3) Kyle Busch and Brian Vickers have converged. They both have the same chance of getting in, as they are virtually tied in points. The truck ride they shared on Saturday night was as symbolic as it was uncomfortable.
4) Mark Martin’s strong run moved him up two spots and gave him a 20 percent boost in getting into the top 12. Things look a lot better for him now.
5) Kasey Kahne’s 28th was one of his worst finishes of the year, dropping him down a big chunk. Remember, he finished 29th in Richmond earlier this season.
6) Similarly, Juan Pablo Montoya suffered some bad luck and saw his chances take a hit. He still has a more than 90 percent shot of getting in as long as he keeps up with his conservative points racing strategy.
7) Say hello to Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin, who each clinched spots after making the 3,172 target. They have nothing to worry about. Even last place finishes in the next two races will cover them.
8) There is about a 30 percent chance that the current top 12 all will make it. Right now the strength of both Vickers and Busch suggests one of them will be able to sneak his way in, knocking somebody out.
Win helps Vickers surge in Chase qualifying probabilities
Updated Chase qualifying probabilities
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Kyle Busch has 21 percent chance of making the Chase