Statistically speaking, it’ll be a wildly entertaining run to Richmond, where the 12 drivers will crowned as contenders for the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.
Who will place his or her name among those 12 drivers – that’s the question. Let’s take a look at the statistics over the remaining seven races to cull some of the favorites.
Jimmie Johnson, points leader: It’s tough to find a scenario where he doesn’t make the Chase, either as a likely top-10 driver, or a Wild Card winner. Even still, he has little to worry about. He owns the top driver rating at the next seven race tracks, with a 101.6. He also has the top average running position (11.1) and the best percentage of laps in the top 15 (73.0%).
Tony Stewart, 13th: Currently, he’s in a Wild Card spot. But looking at the upcoming allotment of races, figure on him entering – and staying – in the top 10. He has the third-best driver rating (97.7) to go along with 17 wins and 103 top-10 finishes at the next seven tracks.
Jeff Gordon, 12th: Bad luck has followed Gordon around for much of this season, but count on a swing towards positivity between now and the start of the Chase. With 28 wins, 101 top fives, 149 top 10s, an average running position of 12.0 and a Driver Rating of 97.6, the four-time champion boasts some of the top stats at the next seven tracks.
Kurt Busch, 14th: Busch, whose 31st-place finish at New Hampshire belied his actual performance (he had a driver rating of 111.2), took a big hit in the points last Sunday. But there shouldn’t be much panic from the Furniture Row Racing camp. Busch has 13 wins (fourth-most) and a Driver Rating of 91.6 at the upcoming seven tracks.