Last year at Texas Motor Speedway, Tony Stewart took the checkered flag for his fourth Chase win in eight races and was within three points of points leader Carl Edwards with two races to go in the season.
This year, Matt Kenseth could win Sunday's race for his third win in eight Chase races, and well, he'd be within 17 points of Jimmie Johnson and 15 of Brad Keselowski if he did and led the most laps. Of course, that is contingent on them not starting the race. So, no, Kenseth isn't likely to be within striking distance.
But Texas may be his best shot for that third win. Of all the Chasers, Kenseth has the highest average finish at 8.6 and he's got two wins and 14 top 10s in 20 races.
As for Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski, well, the tales are a tad different. Johnson clocks in at second among all Chasers with an average finish of 9.7, and he has one win and 13 top tens in 18 starts. Keselowski? He's further down the list.
Here's how the rest of the Chasers stack up:
Denny Hamlin: Hamlin has two wins in 14 Texas starts and is set up nicely to keep pace with Johnson and Keselowski. Except after what happened at Martinsville, keeping pace isn't nearly good enough. His average finish is 10.3.
Kevin Harvick: Cupcake was right around his average finish of 12.7 with a 13th place finish in last year's fall race. But because he was merely average, he lost 17 points to Stewart and 12 to Edwards and left Texas 33 points out of the points lead. And with the way that RCR has performed this year, it stands to reason Harvick will be right around that average finish again Sunday.
Tony Stewart: Both of Stewart's Texas wins have come in the fall race. His first came as a non-Chaser in 2006, when he led 278 of 334 laps. In the spring race, he was 24th, which fits the hot and cold Tony Stewart theme of 2012 just nicely if he gets a top five on Sunday. His average finish is 13.1.
Clint Bowyer: Bowyer's average finish is 13.3 with seven top 10s in 13 starts, and with the way he's rolling, he seems an almost sure bet to outperform it. But it's likely that Johnson and Keselowski will keep him company in the top 10, minimizing any potential gain.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior won at Texas for his first Sprint Cup Series win in 1999. Since then, he's gotten 10 top 10s in 19 more starts, including top 10s in his last three Texas starts.
Martin Truex Jr.: Other Junior started on the pole for the spring race and led 69 laps en route to a sixth place finish. In 14 Texas starts, he has seven top 10s and an average finish of 16.1.
Jeff Gordon: Gordon's lone Texas win came in the spring race of 2009, when he won for the first time since going winless in 47 races. He finished sixth in the fall last year and fourth earlier in the year in the spring. His average finish is 16.2.
Greg Biffle: The Biff is tied with Gordon at 16.2 and led the final 31 laps of the two-caution spring race for his second Texas win. And based on recent success, Biffle's average finish is misleading. Since the 2008 spring race, he hasn't finished outside the top 10.
Kasey Kahne: In his first Texas start in 2004, Kahne led 148 laps and finished second. Since then, he's led 70 laps total, and 62 of them came when he won from the pole in 2006. His average finish is 18.8, though he finished seventh in the spring and third for Red Bull in the fall.
Keselowski: Jetski's average finish is 25.2 and it wasn't helped by his 36th place finish at Texas in the spring, though that was fueled (pun intended) by fuel injection issues. His highest Texas finish is 14th, and that was in the spring of 2012. But Keselowski won at Kentucky and Chicago, finished third at Atlanta over Labor Day and was 8th and 11th at Kansas. You can throw this number out as a reliable indicator.
- Sports & Recreation
- Motor Racing
- Tony Stewart
- Brad Keselowski
- Jimmie Johnson
- Texas Motor Speedway