There are now only ten races left in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series regular season. Tony Stewart became our 11th different winner of the year. I think the biggest eye opener is in the last eight races we’ve had eight different winners. With 16 spots in the 2016 Chase the question becomes how many different winners will we see.
Ironically the only winner from 2015 yet to win in 2016 is Dale Earnhardt Jr. I say ironically because of where we are racing this weekend — Daytona International Speedway. We all know how much he loves that place.
So when you look at the remaining 10 races that include a superspeedway this weekend, two short tracks plus another road course race, I think we will end up with 13 different winners. By the way, that is the same number of winners we had in 2014.
I still maintain Chase Elliott or Ryan Blaney will win a race this year. Actually I could see them both winning in their rookie season. Obviously I can’t sit here and tell you that it will happen before the Chase starts but I just think as we head back to these tracks for a second time in 2016, one or both of these young men are going to get their first visit to Victory Lane.
Since he is only nine points out of 30th spot which would make Tony Stewart Chase-eligible, I think it is a pretty safe assumption he will meet both of NASCAR qualifications for the Chase. If we do end up with, let’s say, two more winners in these last ten races that then would give us 13 winners for 16 Chase spots.
Then the fun really begins as we head into Richmond in September for the final regular season race of who is going to get the other Chase spots based on points. You’ll really see some intensity if it comes down to how a team or teams have to perform at Richmond to make or miss the Chase.
These next ten races are going to be exciting and you are going to see the pressure continue to build for those who are close, but aren’t yet locked into the 2016 Chase.