Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Chasing the Top-10

One of my NASCAR buddies brought up an interesting point over the weekend while watching the first Chase race at New Hampshire. Maybe it was obvious to him because his favorite driver is out of the playoffs, but he found it odd that ABC-TV paid little or no attention to the 31 cars outside the Chase. I didn’t find it that unusual, however, considering those 12 Chasers are the most prominent cars going for the championship. But more importantly, could it also be that the best cars are naturally running up front? It would be questionable for ABC to show the field-filler cars running in 30th position. So I looked into the statistics from last year’s Chase and found some interesting results.

Chasers won nine of the 10 races last year with only non-playoff contender Greg Biffle notching a victory last season at Kansas. The percentage for Chase driver finishing in the Top-10 also was surprisingly high. The 12 Chasers combined to finish in Top-10 positions 63 percent of the time. That means on average, about six Chase drivers finished in the Top-10 each race. And eight Chasers finished in the Top-10 in each of the final three races last year at Texas, Phoenix and Homestead.

So is ABC knowingly showing only Chase drivers, or does it just happen that way because most of them are running up front. The best way to find out this weekend is to watch that scrolling results ticker at the top of the screen. If the first 10 positions are stuffed mostly with those yellow-filled names, then I guess we have our answer.

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