The most wonderful time of the year is here, race fans, and I’m not talking about Christmas.
As much as The Chase reminds me that the season is coming to a close, I’m still geared up; these are the best ten races of the year. These twelve guys will battle it out every weekend from now to become King of The Mountain. Honestly, anyone can come out on top.
Everyone has a chance, but one only can sit at the head table in Las Vegas.
Here are my picks for how The Chase order will look after Homestead, twelfth through seventh.
12. Martin Truex Jr.
With a few near-misses last year and this year, I knew Truex was going to be strong. So him getting into The Chase wasn’t a shock. But, you have to be consistently good to make waves; Truex is either almost winning or running in the back. Who knows? Maybe signing a three-year extension with Michael Waltrip Racing will give him even more momentum.
11. Tony Stewart
Yes, he won the championship last year. Yes, he’s won three races this year. It sounds hard to bet against Tony. The sponsorship troubles worry me, however. I don’t think his head will be in it enough to do much. Also, he lost Darian Grubb, the key that unlocked all that success. No offense to Steve Addington, of course, but those two haven’t clicked that well. Betting against him may be hard, but it’ll turn out to be not much of a gamble.
10. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Junior Nation, please don’t hunt me down. Your guy has been remarkable this year, knocking off good runs and capturing a drought-breaking win. Unfortunately, I think he’s burnt himself out. All that energy will be lost soon, and I don’t see him picking up speed again. Albeit, he has the opportunity to surprise me, but that doesn’t seem imminent.
9. Greg Biffle
“Everyone’s doubting me, not looking at me. That’s okay!” That’s the tune The Biff has been singing lately, trying to come off as the underdog. Given, he’s quiet, but it’s possible he could rattle off some wins, mostly because half of the Chase races are on 1.5-mile tracks. Although those types of tracks are his strong suit, much noise won’t come from the driver of the #16 when it comes to championship contention. Sorry, Biff.
8. Jeff Gordon
The way Jeff ran in Richmond was proof that he still has it. A streak of bad luck making his Chase chances go down to the wire, he’s due to have some good races. As much I like his new fire and the old-fashioned mustache revival, it’s not enough. Alan Gustafson is meshing decently with the four-time champ, yet they aren’t the best. Although, out of all the Chase competitors, he’s the one who may surprise me.
7. Kevin Harvick
I have no idea how Harvick made it into this Chase. At all. No wins, barely consistent? Magic? Oh well. Anyway, as he heads into this battle, he has brought Gil Martin back, the crew chief he had last year. They go well together, but finishing third in points wasn’t good enough for Harvick. If they’re going to do something and be competitive, Kevin needs to learn how to calm down (especially on the radio) and work with his team, not against them. Having Gil and wife DeLana back on the pit box seem to help him out. Will it be enough?
The next half will be revealed soon, so don’t miss it!