Magnum force will get Clint in Chase

Sep 2, 2008 7:06 PM

Finish Line by Micah Roberts |

Race 26 of the NASCAR Sprint Cup season is the Chase cut-off race. Its do or die for the three drivers battling for that one position and the right to make a run for the season championship.

Clint Bowyer sits in the No. 12 position with David Ragan only 17 points behind and Kasey Kahne a mere 48 back. All three drivers are currently listed at 50-1 to win the championship at Station Casinos sports books.

Bowyer would appear to have the edge on getting in because his Richard Childress team has been so good at the flat mid-level tracks. Bowyer won in the spring and also did well at Phoenix, which is a track that requires a similar setup to Richmond.

What Bowyer does have going against him is history. In three of the last four cut-off races at Richmond since the Chase format started, drivers on the outside looking in have raced their way in. The driver holding on to the final spot coming in has folded.

Its kind of fun watching a few drivers try to make up positions and race as hard as they can for their season. However as great as it would be to see Ragan or Kahne get into the Chase, it is going to be a tough sell taking it away from Bowyer.

Unlike the three drivers who failed in the history of the Chase coming into this race, Bowyer might be the best of all the competitors at Richmond. If he runs this race in normal fashion as he has the last two years, he should easily come out with a Top 5 finish. He might even be good enough to get the win.

Last season Ragan had his best career finish in this race at Richmond, coming in third. He may be forced to make a few extra moves in order to get more points. His odds to win the race are 35-1, which is higher than normal. Thats likely due to the volatile nature of the track and also knowing he has to perform with a kamikaze mentality.

If things stay the same in the standings, as I believe, only four teams will be in the Chase Hendrick, Gibbs, Roush and Childress. DEI, Penske and Evernham all get shut out for the first time. Penske is the biggest surprise because of how well the team came out of the gate with the big Daytona 500 win.

Not one Dodge made the Chase either.

As to the race, Bowyer is one of the favorites at 11-1, but Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch are the ones to beat. Big surprise, right? Like Busch, Johnson has dominated on the three mid-range flat tracks. He has multiple wins on all of them, including a sweep at Richmond last year.

One longshot to consider is Mark Martin, though his lone win at Richmond came back in 1990.

Micah Roberts is a race and sports director with Station Casinos, who has contributed to GamingToday for the last 11 years.

Copyright 2008 GamingToday
ROBERTS’ TOP 5
at Richmond
1. #48 Jimmie Johnson
6-1
2. #29 Kevin Harvick
12-1
3. #07 Clint Bowyer
12-1
4. #20 Tony Stewart
11-1
5. #18  Kyle Busch
9-2

 

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