How the Eliminator Eight drivers stack up heading to Martinsville
And then there were eight.
With four races left in the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, eight drivers remain in championship contention. They will all enter Sunday’s race at Martinsville Speedway tied with 4,000 points each.
Martinsville is the first of three races in the Eliminator Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Texas Motor Speedway comes next, followed by Phoenix International Raceway.
After Phoenix, the top four drivers in points will race heads up for the championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Here’s how the eight championship hopefuls compare heading into Martinsville.
8. Kyle Busch — On the season, Busch has four victories, eight top fives and 12 top 10s, despite missing the first 11 races of the year because of injuries. At Martinsville, Busch has led 487 laps and has an average finish of 15.65. He has eight top fives here. Busch has 33 career Sprint Cup race victories, but only one in the Chase, and that was in 2005.
7. Kevin Harvick — The defending champion has three victories and 20 top-five finishes, including a remarkable 11 runner-up runs. He has one victory and three top-five finishes at Martinsville, with an average finish of 16.143 and 518 laps led. In the Chase, Harvick has finished 15th or worse four times in six races.
6. Martin Truex Jr. — Historically, Martinsville has not been one of Truex’s best tracks. He’s never finished in the top five here and has an average finish of 22.211, with just 24 laps led in 19 starts. On the season, Truex has one victory, eight top fives and 20 top 10s.
5. Brad Keselowski — The 2012 champion has been eclipsed this year by teammate Joey Logano, but he’s running well, with one victory, seven top fives and 22 top 10s, including three in a row in the Contender Round of the Chase. Keselowski has two top fives and an average finish of 14.0 at Martinsville, where he has led 28 laps.
4. Kurt Busch — The elder Busch is a two-time Martinsville winner, most recently in the spring of 2014. He has led 442 laps here, with an average finish of 21.067. In the Contender Round of the Chase, Busch posted three top 10s. On the year, he has two victories, 10 top fives and 18 top 10s.
3. Jeff Gordon — The four-time Sprint Cup champ has eight victories at Martinsville, which ties him with his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson for most in the series among active drivers. His average finish here is 6.889 and he has led 3,744 laps at the Virginia short track. Winless on the season, Gordon has four top fives and 17 top 10s, including three in a row in the last three races.
2. Carl Edwards — Martinsville has been a challenging track for Edwards, who has just one top five and 44 laps led in 22 starts here, with an average finish of 15.955. In his first season with Joe Gibbs Racing, Edwards has won twice and posted six top fives and 14 top 10s.
1. Joey Logano — The hottest driver in the sport right now, Logano won all three races in the Contender Round of the Chase to give him a series-high six victories on the year. At Martinsville, Logano has four top fives and 207 laps led in 13 starts. His average finish here is 13.154.