Of the eight remaining drivers in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, four drive for Joe Gibbs Racing and four don’t.
Yesterday, we looked at the chances of the JGR drivers making it to the championship round of the Chase at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 20.
Of the four non-JGR drivers, Jimmie Johnson of Hendrick Motorsports has already locked up a spot at Homestead, thanks to his victory at Martinsville Speedway last Sunday.
That leaves Team Penske’s Joey Logano and Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch battling the four JGR drivers for the final three spots in the championship race at Homestead.
Here’s how Logano, Harvick and Busch stack up with races at Texas Motor Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway still left in the Chase Round of 8.
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Joey Logano, 4033 points, 5th
Throughout the Chase, Logano has run pretty well, winning at Talladega and posting thee top fives and five top 10s in seven races, with an average finish of 9.71. Throw out the 36th-place finish at Charlotte and the average finish in his six other Chase races was an outstanding 5.33.
At Texas, Logano has one victory, six top fives and an average finish of 17.50. In his last seven Texas races, Logano has the win and five top fives, so he should be strong there on Sunday.
Logano’s Phoenix record show a better average finish of 15.00, but no victories and only three top fives.
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Kevin Harvick, 4021 points, 6th
Talk about mixed messages: Harvick’s Chase results have been all over the board,. The 2014 champion won at New Hampshire and Kansas, but has also had four finishes of 20th or worse in seven Chase races, which is not good.
Harvick has never won at Texas, where he has six top fives in 27 starts and an average finish of 12.22.
The good news for Harvick is that he is almost unbeatable at Phoenix, where he has won eight times, including five of the last six. And in both 2014 and ’15, he won Chase races while facing elimination, so he’s no stranger to coming up big in the clutch.
Kurt Busch, 4019 points, 7th
Getting out of this round could be a huge challenge for Busch. At Texas, he has one victory and three top fives in 27 starts, along with an average finish of 15.296. Busch hasn’t had a top-five finish here since April 2010, although he does have three top 10s in the last four Texas races.
Busch’s record is a little bit better at Phoenix, where he has posted one victory, six top fives and an average finish of 13.37.
So far in the Chase, Busch has been good but not great, with two top fives, three top 10s and an average finish of 11.43.
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Who gets the job done?
So who makes it in and who doesn’t? That remains to be seen, but of these three drivers, the chances look better for Logano and Harvick than they do for Busch.
But anything can still happen in the final two races of the Round of 8, where the battles for the last three Chase spots at Homestead ought to be fierce and close.