Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Slow Starters Face Critical Weekend

Biffle is a former Dover winner
For the likes of Greg Biffle, Martin Truex Jr. and Matt Kenseth, it’s time to get rolling. 

After two races in the 2012 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, the annual culling of the championship herd is well underway. While Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin have established themselves as the major contenders for the crown, Biffle, Truex and Kenseth have stumbled out of the blocks, leaving themselves in “do or die” territory this weekend at Dover. 

Biffle is ninth in Sprint Cup Series points after finishing 13th and 18th in the opening two races of the Chase. Truex is 10th in the standings after recording finishes of  ninth and 17th. Kenseth, 11th in points, has finished 18th and 14th. 

Since the Chase began nine years ago, no driver has come from further back than eighth after two races to win the championship. In each of the nine previous Chases, the eventual champion was fifth or better after two events. And in five of the nine Chases, the eventual champion was either first or second at this point of the season. 

Clearly, the numbers do not favor a miraculous comeback for Biffle, Truex or Kenseth. What shot they do have will almost certainly evaporate with a third poor finish this weekend on the Monster Mile. Fortunately, all three have tasted success there in the past. 
Truex needs a good weekend
Biffle is a two-time winner there -- in 2005 and 2008 – finishing second and third in points those seasons. His Driver Rating of 104.2 is fourth-best among all active drivers. 

Truex, from nearby Mayetta, N.J., scored his only NASCAR Sprint Cup victory to date at Dover  in 2007. He is a two-time Coors Light Pole winner there -- most recently topping the speed charts in last year’s AAA 400 – and finished seventh there in June. 

Kenseth has won twice at Dover, most recently in the spring of 2011. He ranks second in now less than four critical Loop Data categories, including Driver Rating (110.5) and Average Green Flag Speed (143.630 mph). He also finished third at Dover in June of this year. 

Their backs may be against the wall this weekend, but Biffle, Truex and Kenseth all have the ability to come out of that corner fighting.
Photos: David Griffin/Icon SMI, Geoff Burke/Getty Images North America

No comments:

Post a Comment