Published on September 13th, 2014 | by Michael J Smith0
Harvick Will Be 2014 Cup Champion
When the checkered flag waves at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Kevin Harvick will be your 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, if statistics from the three previous Chases are any indication.
When you average out the points each driver earned in the Chase races over the last three years – including bonus points for race wins, laps led, and most laps led, Kevin Harvick will beat out Brad Keselowski by 5 points.
At the end of the Challenger Round, Johnson will hold an 11-point lead over Keselowski. Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin, Aric Almirola and AJ Allmendinger will be eliminated in this round, according to the numbers.
After the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, Kenseth will hold a 10-point advantage over Kasey Kahne. Jeff Gordon, Joey Logano, Dale Earnhardt Jr, and Ryan Newman will be eliminated in this round. Sorry, Jr Nation.
At the conclusion of the Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, Johnson will lead Harvick by 10 points. Greg Biffle, Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, and Carl Edwards will be eliminated in this round.
In the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead, Harvick will win because he’s earned 36 points, on average, at the track over the last three years. Keselowski has earned 31. Coincidentally, so has Kahne. So Keselowski and Kahne will end up in a tie for second place, though Keselowski will own the tie breaker.
Johnson has earned 19 points, on average over the last three years at Homestead. Granted, in two of the last three races at Homestead, he’s had a problem. In 2012, he had a rear gear problem. In 2011, he was involved in an accident that put him several laps down.
Dale Earnhardt Jr’s numbers could be artificially inflated or deflated because he missed two races in 2012 with a concussion. His numbers would be deflated, if he finished higher than his average in those two races; they would be inflated if he had finished lower than his average finish. Since he didn’t run those races, it is impossible to know where he’d finish.
Kyle Busch’s numbers were also affected. Busch was involved in an incident with Ron Hornaday during the WinStar World Casino 350K. As a result of his actions, Busch was parked by NASCAR for the rest of the weekend, causing him to miss the 2011 Chase race at Texas Motor Speedway. Like Earnhardt, his numbers would be deflated, if he finished higher than his average in the race he missed; they would be inflated, if he finished lower than his average. It’s impossible to know where he would’ve finished.
Aric Almirola’s numbers could be off. Since he did not compete in the Sprint Cup Series in 2011, his averages come from the last two years, not the last three.
Similarly, AJ Allmendinger did not run the full Chase in 2012 or 2013, so his numbers are based on the average of the races he did run in the Chase at the specified track. In some cases, he ran two races at the Chase tracks in the last three years (Chicagoland, Dover, Kansas, Charlotte, Talladega, Martinsville, Texas, and Homestead). In others, he only ran one race in the last three years (Loudon and Phoenix).
At the end of the day, it’s highly unlikely that Biffle and Edwards outlast Earnhardt Jr and Gordon, based on the way they’ve been running this season. Nor does it seem likely that Kahne will still be in championship contention going into the Ford EcoBoost 400. Still, it was interesting to see what the numbers say.