The Chase is here. Sixteen teams can focus on winning a Sprint Cup. Twenty-seven can focus on 2015. While it would seem obvious those 16 and 27 respective crews are the winners and losers from Richmond, there are some names and faces that might think differently. Here’s a Bert Convy inspired breakdown.
Win: Greg Biffle
The same Greg Biffle who was down a lap for much of the race and finished 19th. The same Greg Biffle who called out Roush Fenway Racing. The same Greg Biffle who hasn’t won a race in 2014.
Greg Biffle is in the Chase. I can barely believe it either. Biffle now has the same statistical chance of wining the Sprint Cup as Ryan Newman and Matt Kenseth. He’s also only 12 points behind the points leader entering Chicago. Nascar does have a crazy points system.
Lose: Clint Bowyer
What a year for Bowyer. Consider the Richmond mess, almost winning a Sprint Cup, losing a car at Michael Waltrip Racing, never getting in gear in 2014 and having his boss compete on a reality dancing show. Ever since that issue/intentional wreck/whatever it was, Bowyer’s world hasn’t been the same. There may not be another driver on the Sprint Cup who needs the offseason more. 2014 never got rolling for a team thinking title back at Daytona.
Draw: Competitive Balance
On one hand, Nascar got what it wanted. The sixteen Chase drivers come from eight different teams. Names like Almirola and Allmendinger have a chance to win the title with ten races left.
One the other hand, the top five drivers come from two teams. Team Penske and Hendrick Motorsports have won 16 of the 26 Sprint Cup races in 2014. That’s 61.5 percent for those without a calculator on hand.
If you took both teams vs. the field, I’m not sure anyone would take the wager at this moment. For these two teams to be this head and shoulders above the field is quite the surprise, especially when you consider Jeff Gordon and Brad Keselowski didn’t initially qualify for the Chase last year.
The playoffs are here. Enjoy the various scenarios and hoopla as we get ready for Chicago, and insert a random catchphrase here.