Cup Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota, gets in his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 3, 2013 in Talladega, Alabama.

Published on September 30th, 2014 | by Michael J Smith


Biffle, Not Hamlin Eliminated

The Challenger Round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup is over. What started as 16 drivers competing for the Cup, is now 12.

Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, and Kasey Kahne all advanced to the Contender Round.

For AJ Allmendinger, Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle, and Aric Almirola, the quest for the Cup stops here. All four were eliminated from championship contention after Dover International Speedway.

Using statistics from the previous three years, including bonus points, we predicted that Kevin Harvick would win the Sprint Cup this season.

We said that Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin, Aric Almirola and AJ Allmendinger would be eliminated after the Challenger Round. And after Dover, Kurt Busch, Aric Almirola, and AJ Allmendinger were eliminated.

Denny Hamlin, however, managed to avoid elimination. In the last three years, Hamlin has averaged a finish of 26th at Chicagoland Speedway. This year, he finished sixth. At New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Hamlin has averaged a 12th-place finish. But, this year he finished 37th after being involved in an accident. Still, he rebounded with a 12th-place finish at Dover, which is slightly better than his 15th-place average.

Greg Biffle, on the other hand, didn’t fare as well. Biffle had an average finish of 18th at Chicagoland over the last three years. But this year, he finished 23rd. At Loudon, he averaged an eighth-place finish. But, this year he finished 16th. At Dover, he finished 21st, which is lower than his 17th-place average finish.

Contender Round

After revising the standings to swap Hamlin for Biffle, it appears that Hamlin, Joey Logano, Dale Earnhardt Jr, and Ryan Newman will be eliminated in the Contender Round, based on the last three years.

If the numbers hold up, Hamlin will miss advancing by one point to Jeff Gordon.

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About the Author

Michael J. Smith is a NASCAR enthusiast and blogger. In addition to founding this website, Michael is a journalist with over a decade of experience writing for prestigious media organizations.

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