We only have three races left in our 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup regular season. So we know all 12 of our winners to date will be in the Chase. There still are four spots available with only three races to go, so the tension is really ramping up on some of those drivers on the outside looking in.
What’s interesting is when you look at those three remaining races. We have two short tracks (Bristol and Richmond) plus a mile-and-a-half track, which by the way we only visit once a year, so that means we haven’t been to Atlanta yet with the new rules package. It is hard to imagine but we still have nine drivers even after 23 races this season who haven’t won a race but did win in 2013. Nine drivers are a lot in my book.
I’m sorry, but I am just not convinced we are going to see another new winner for 2014 in these last three regular-season races. For 23 races, week in and week out you hear us say Matt Kenseth will eventually end up in Victory Lane. The stark reality is it just isn’t happening for them on that No. 20 car right now. We saw it Sunday at Michigan. Sure, you can say that Matt was a victim to a certain extent, but he was back there early in the race because he didn’t qualify well. So Matt got caught up in the "eye of the storm," as we call it.
While I am still convinced we will see Matt win a race this season, I am just not sure it will be any one of these next three races. Since we are at Bristol this weekend, I went back and looked at our top-five finishers from the spring race and it is actually pretty interesting. Outside of Carl Edwards, these were guys we normally don’t talk about when it comes to top-five finishes.
I think if I had to pick one driver to keep my eye on, it probably would be Clint Bowyer. A year ago he absolutely had the field covered at Atlanta, but then had engine problems. We also know he runs really well at Richmond. Again, looking at the list of non-winners this year compared to last year, I’m not convinced we are going to see a new one in these last three races. With that said, if I had to pick one driver to be a new winner at one of these last three regular-season races, it probably would have to be Clint Bowyer, simply based on the upcoming tracks.