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From the Marbles

Based on recent results at Chase tracks, your 2012 winner will be …

Jay Busbee
From The Marbles

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Sure, they're all celebrating NOW. But only one will still be partying in 10 weeks. (Getty Images)

The Chase begins this weekend at Chicagoland, and that's one of only two tracks (Homestead is the other) out of the 10-race Chase which is a one-time visit for the NASCAR Sprint Cup series. That gives us a statistical basis, if not necessarily a representative sample size, to make some guesses as to which driver is in the best position to make a run at the Cup.

Here are the average finishing positions of each of the 12 Chasers at the eight Chase tracks at which the Sprint Cup series has already run this season. We start with the worst average finish and move upward. No fair peeking at No. 1 ...

12. Tony Stewart (average finish: 19.0)
11. Clint Bowyer (15.00)
10. Jeff Gordon (13.25)
9. Kasey Kahne (12.75)
8. Brad Keselowski (10.5)
7. Kevin Harvick (9.875)
6. Martin Truex Jr. (9.75)
5. Jimmie Johnson (9.375)
4. Denny Hamlin (8.125)
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (7.125)
2. Matt Kensenth (6.875)
1. Greg Biffle (6.375)

So this tracks fairly well with what we've expected. It's important to note that even a single finish in the 30's can torpedo your average ranking, and Stewart did himself no favors by not having any of his wins come at a Chase track. (Apologies to those of you who saw an earlier, less accurate version of this.)

Obviously this is by no means definitive — there are two tracks unaccounted for, for starters — but this is an interesting look at past history and consistency. And it's another way to keep Biffle Nation watching, am I right?

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