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Penske The Favorite? Hendrick Motorsports Might Disagree

It’s hard to argue against a Hendrick Motorsports driver winning the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

Since Jeff Gordon won the organization its first Sprint Cup championship in 1995, the team has clinched 11 (the all-time series record) of the last 19 titles. A whopping 58 percent – better odds than a coin flip.

The team has continued its winning ways in 2014 with a series-high 10 victories and is poised to earn its 12th trophy after placing all four of its drivers in the Chase for the third consecutive season. Some more math for you – that means HMS drivers make up 25 percent of the field.

Hendrick’s horsemen Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson each have three victories on the season and are seeded 2-4 entering the Chase with nine Challenger Round bonus points each, while Kasey Kahne (one win and three bonus points) occupies the 11th seed.

Sorry, more math. Since Jimmie Johnson began his historic run in 2006, he has won six championships in the last eight years for HMS – 75 percent. Although he’s had a tough year by his standards, the No. 48 Lowe’s driver never fails to peak in the Chase and is the only driver in the field to have won it more than twice. He can get off to a quick start Sunday in the MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway (2 p.m. ET on ESPN) where he has led a series track-record 577 laps, even though he hasn’t won there.

Gordon has experienced a career renaissance, enjoying his best season since his championship run in 2001. He led the series in points during the regular season and is the only driver on the circuit to finish every race. Gordon will need to improve upon his performances at early Chase tracks. He finished 26th at New Hampshire, 15th at Dover and 39th at Talladega the first go-around this season.

Earnhardt has cooled off lately with just one top-10 finish (fifth at Michigan) in five races since completing the sweep at Pocono, but has maintained a consistent average finish of 10.9. Still, NASCAR’s 11-time most popular driver has matched his win total from the last nine seasons and boasts the talent and the car to make a run.

On the Chase bubble just over a week ago, Kahne locked up a spot following a do-or-die first-place finish at Atlanta. He has lacked consistency this season, but tested at Chicagoland and should get out to a good start.

“Hopefully we can put our best foot forward in the Chase and be one of those teams in the battle going into Homestead,” Earnhardt said. “But as a company, I don’t think we could be any more prepared than we are.”

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Posted by on September 10, 2014. Filed under Breaking News,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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