Since the inaugural 2004 Chase, championship contending drivers typically have won the final 10 races. In fact, Chase drivers won the entire 10-race Chase last season. Kasey Kahne’s victory at Phoenix in 2011 was the last time a driver outside the Chase saw victory lane in a Chase race. The question is who will break that Chase driver dominance this year?
Heading into Dover, Brad Keselowski would appear to be the best pick. The 2012 champ won the fall Dover race in last year’s Chase and scored a top-five at The Monster Mile this spring in the new Gen-6 car. Jamie McMurray is another driver to watch down the stretch. His Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing team has shown strength in recent weeks and McMurray was the only non-Chase driver to finish inside the top five this past week at New Hampshire. McMurray is always one to watch at Charlotte Motor Speedway, with two previous wins at the track in the fall race.
A few less obvious picks to play spoiler in this year’s Chase would be Brian Vickers and rookie Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Vickers quietly finished seventh at New Hampshire, despite not qualifying or practicing on Friday and starting the race from the rear of the field. Dover will be a place to watch Vickers. The driver of the No.55 car has already played spoiler once this year, winning the July New Hampshire race as a part-time driver. Stenhouse Jr. and his Roush Fenway Racing team have shown potential, especially recently, scoring two top 10s in the last three races.