New Hampshire Motor Speedway brought fireworks with Kyle Busch winning his third race in the last four weekends. It also brought an end to the regular season races that will be repeated in the Chase.
Eight of the 10 events during the Chase for the Sprint Cup will be duplicate races from earlier in the year. Only Chicagoland and Homestead-Miami—the first and last races in the Chase—will be new to the drivers. Therefore, we can take a look at the recent past to learn more about what’s to come.
More importantly, the recent results can tell us who will be in the final four at Miami.
Here’s a look at how each driver fared at the repeat tracks this season.
Defending champion Kevin Harvick holds the best average finish with a remarkable 4.4 from the eight tracks. Of the 11 races where Harvick has come away with a top-two result, four have been at repeat Chase tracks. Ironically enough, he has one in the Challenger, Contender and Eliminator rounds.
Consistency has always been key in the Chase, but winning has become the easiest way to advance. With Jimmie Johnson holding a win at three tracks—one from each round—sweeping the tracks would guarantee him a spot in the final four. He may hold an average finish of 14th at those tracks, but that won’t mean anything if he makes it to Homestead.
The only other drivers to average a top-10 finish at the tracks outside of Harvick were Martin Truex Jr. (7.4) and Brad Keselowski (7.9). Truex has slipped some in recent weeks while Kes has stepped his game up—leading 162 laps over the last two races. But with the speed both Team Penske and Furniture Row Racing have brought to the track on a consistent basis, both will have a chance to compete for a title in Miami.
Seven races still remain before NASCAR’s postseason begins, so the Chase Grid might see a lot of fluctuation before the field is set. Will Kyle Busch crash the Chase and put a Joe Gibbs Racing driver in the final four again? Can Furniture Row keep their magical season going? Will any of that matter with the success Johnson and Harvick have at the Chase tracks?
One thing we know for sure: We can’t wait to find out.
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