Nov 4, 2012; Fort Worth, TX, USA; Sprint Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson (48) leads driver Brad Keselowski (2) during the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE

Johnson Holds A Tiny Margin Over Keselowski in Chase-only Points

Jimmie Johnson leads Brad Keselowski by only 3 points in the Chase-only points system after the race at Texas. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE

First off, I offer my apologies for not updating the Chase-only standings post Martinsville. My schoolwork required great attention last week, but no matter, I’ll be here for the final three races and we’ll crown a champion under the Chase-only points system.

But now with all of the formalities aside, let’s view what the Chase-only points look like as the Sprint Cup Series heads into the penultimate race of the season at Phoenix this weekend. Remember, in this Chase-only points system, the best finishing Chase driver earns 12 points, the second best earns 11, and so on down to the worst finishing Chase driver who earns 1 point.

The Chase-only standings had everything fairly jumbled up from how the real points standings looked for most of the Chase, but after critical races at Martinsville and Texas, the two systems are starting to match up pretty closely.

After his back-to-back wins in those races, Jimmie Johnson now holds the points lead over Brad Keselowski by 3 points and that’s not too far off from his actual 7 point lead over Keselowski.

We’ve known for the last few races that this championship is going to be decided between Johnson and Keselowski under the real points system. Too many drivers are too far behind to have a realistic shot at winning the championship and that trend is becoming evident in this Chase-only points system as well. Aside from Johnson and Keselowski, Clint Bowyer is the next closest, but he’s a full race behind the two championship leaders.

Here’s a look at what the Chase-only standings look like after Texas:

Chicagoland New Hamp. Dover Talladega Charlotte
Keselowski

12

7

12

9

                6
Johnson

11

11

10

4

              10
Hamlin

3

12

8

5

              11
Kahne

10

8

4

7

                8
Bowyer

6

9

7

1

              12
Gordon

1

10

11

11

                2
Stewart

9

6

2

2

                5
Truex

7

2

9

6

                7
Biffle

4

1

3

10

                9
Harvick

5

5

5

8

                3
Earnhardt

8

4

6

3

                0
Kenseth

2

3

1

12

                4

 

Kansas Martinsville Texas Phoenix Homestead Total
7 9 11

73

6 12 12

76

3 1 2

45

10 11 1

59

8 10 8

61

5 8 3

51

9 3 9

45

11 4 4

50

2 7 5

41

4 2 6

38

0 5 7

33

12 6 10

50

 

Standings with a Chase only points system after Texas:

1. Johnson              Leader            1 (Position in Actual Standings)

2. Keselowski        -3                      2

3. Bowyer               -15                   3

4. Kahne                 -17                    4

5. Gordon               -25                    5

6. Kenseth              -26                    5

tie. Truex Jr.          -26                     9

8. Hamlin               -31                     7

tie. Stewart           -31                     8

10. Biffle                -35                     10

11. Harvick           -38                     11

12. Earnhardt Jr. -43                     12

So it’s easy to see that this championship is down to Johnson and Keselowski regardless of what points system is used, but this Chase-only system still better shows who is having a good Chase and who is not.

Just look at Martin Truex Jr. under this system. He may not be having an eye catching Chase, but he’s run consistently and the Chase-only system recognizes his steady performance and puts him in a very respectable 7th position instead of 9th in real life.

On the flip side, Denny Hamlin has had a very unfortunate Chase with the exception of his New Hampshire win yet he’s still 7th in points with the ability to quickly jump back into the top-5. In the Chase-only system, Hamlin is 8th in points but would find it more difficult to leap frog other drivers to get back into the top-5.

All in all, this system has been proving week in and week out that it more accurately reflects a Chase driver’s actual performance by eliminating the non-Chase drivers who affect the points more than we realize.

Anyway, we’ll see what Phoenix holds this weekend and if Keselowski can retake the points lead from Johnson, as well as seeing if a third driver can put his name back into championship contention.

All statistical information obtained from NASCAR.com

Original idea for Chase-only system by David Newton of ESPN.com

Follow me on Twitter for more NASCAR news and info: @Adam_Huth

 

Tags: Brad Keselowski Clint Bowyer Denny Hamlin Jimmie Johnson Martin Truex Jr. The Chase

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