WHAT WE CAN LEARN FOR 2010 FROM THE 2009 CHASE

After this compelling analysis suggesting the 2009 Chase is essentially over, it’s time to start looking for meaning in these races and how they could impact 2010. There are some trends that point in some interesting directions.

Chevy is heavy.

Now we know where the government bailout dollars are going. Eight of the top ten drivers in the six Chase races drive for Chevy.  While the Hendrick mafia sits one, two and three, drivers from three other teams also find themselves in the top ten. From the natural segue department, let’s keep the Bob Seger theme rolling.

Richard Childress Racing may be close to a comeback.

None of their four drivers made the Chase. Kevin Harvick was looking to get out of town. Casey Mears may lose his ride. But whatever Richard Childress is drawing up at headquarters seems to be working.  All four RCR drivers are in the top seventeen over the six Chase races. RCR also has a good track record at Talladega; so, whatever tripped them up seems to be moving away, and Jeff Burton can keep his day gig.

Toyota is running out of gas.

Only one of their drivers, Kyle Busch, is in the top ten. And while Joe Gibbs Racing has been solid, the other Toyota teams have sputtered. Michael Waltrip Racing and Red Bull Racing have combined for zero wins. No stunner there. No finishes in the top five. A moderate surprise. One finish in the top ten. Wow. I mean super wow.

Feel free to examine these numbers for yourself.

      DRIVER                    SERIES POINTS       
1    Jimmie Johnson          1068       
2    Mark Martin                940       
3    Jeff Gordon                 938       
4    Juan Montoya             898       
5    Tony Stewart              876       
6    Kurt Busch                 848       
7    Ryan Newman            786       
8    Kyle Busch                 750       
9    Greg Biffle                  748       
10    Clint Bowyer            746       
11    Casey Mears            739       
12    Matt Kenseth            730       
13    Denny Hamlin           726       
14    David Reutimann       716       
15    Carl Edwards            685       
16    Kevin Harvick           662       
17    Jeff Burton                 641       
18    Kasey Kahne             639       
19    Marcos Ambrose       623       
20    Joey Logano              619       
21    Martin Truex Jr.         609       
22    Elliott Sadler              575       
23    A.J. Allmendinger      565       
24    David Ragan              559       
25    Brian Vickers             558