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HANDICAPPING 2013 RACE CHASE........INTERESTING

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Post Sat Sep 14, 2013 10:25 am

HANDICAPPING 2013 RACE CHASE........INTERESTING

RYAN NEWMAN FANS......HE HAS A HUNCH.....I REALLY LIKE HIS HUNCH!! :D

look at Clints odds......interesting!!?!



Handicapping the 2013 Chase
Updated: September 13, 2013, 10:07 PM ET
By Ed Hinton | ESPN.com


In handicapping the Chase, let's take the drivers in order of seeding, but not necessarily according to odds.  For example, Matt Kenseth is seeded first and I handicap him first, but among others, you may see differences between seed and odds.

1. Matt Kenseth
Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Chase lead: 3 points | Wins: 5 | Top-5s: 6 | Top-10s: 13
Ed's odds: 7-2: There's reason to believe a guy who's already pulled off five regular-season wins can grab one or two or even three more in the Chase. His issue may be consistency in the races he doesn't win. Going into his Bristol win in August he had finishes of 22, 23 and 15. Then he had a so-so 12th at Atlanta. He needs more finishes like Richmond, sixth, to go with his wins to take the championship. The last driver to win the Cup under the old format, in 2003, he has never won a Chase, and somehow I keep getting vibes every year that he wonders if he really can.

2. Jimmie Johnson
Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Chase deficit: 3 points | Wins: 4 | Top-5s: 9 | Top-10s: 15
Ed's odds: 8-1: Not only do four straight finishes of 28th or worse bother me, he hasn't won since the halfway point in the season, at Daytona in July. Since then, he has led significant numbers of laps only at Indianapolis (73 before finishing second) and Pocono (43 before finishing 13th). In the five races since Pocono he has led a total of three laps, all at Michigan. Now this is the 48 team, so you have to allow for their history of mounting big runs. But they've struggled so terribly headed into the playoffs that you have to wonder whether, when they "flip a switch" as Kyle Busch says they can, the lights will come on this time.

3. Kyle Busch
Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Chase deficit: 3 points | Wins: 4 | Top-5s: 11 | Top-10s: 15
Ed's odds: 4-1: Only his poor Chase history, and teammate Kenseth's knack for snatching wins this season, keep Rowdy from being the favorite this time. He had a series-high 11 top-5 finishes in the regular season, to go with a whopping 15 top-10s and his four wins. That kind of high finishing, and a win or two here and there, might just get him his first Cup. Even if he doesn't win it, I think he'll be a bigger challenger to Kenseth than Johnson. A poor 19th-place finish at Richmond took a little luster off Busch's win at Atlanta the previous week.

4. Kevin Harvick
Richard Childress Racing (Chevrolet)
Chase deficit: 9 points | Wins: 2 | Top-5s: 6 | Top-10s: 13
Ed's odds: 10-1: The Closer has never been able to transfer that nickname from individual races to the Chase itself. I don't think his lame-duck status with Richard Childress Racing will affect the effort this time, but the team history just isn't there to indicate they'll close this deal for a championship. Harvick is plenty capable of big surprises from time to time, but if he and RCR should put together a big enough string of surprises to win the Cup, that in sum would be the biggest surprise of Harvick's tenure at RCR.

5. Carl Edwards
Roush Fenway Racing (Ford)
Chase deficit: 9 points | Wins: 2 | Top-5s: 8 | Top-10s: 13
Ed's odds: 10-1: His Richmond win was only sort of impressive, due to the controversial spin by Clint Bowyer that allowed Edwards to get out of the pits ahead of Ryan Newman, and to the questionable nature of Edwards' restart where some thought he jumped. Take away that win and you're all the way back to Phoenix in March for Edwards' last win. But since then, Fords seem to have gained a bit on Chevys and Toyotas, so consistently high finishes plus a surprise win here and there might get Edwards the title that has eluded him for so long.

6. Joey Logano
Penske Racing (Ford)
Chase deficit: 12 points | Wins: 1 | Top-5s: 8 | Top-10s: 14
Ed's odds: 13-1: Now that he's officially in, only lack of experience in the heat of the Chase keeps Logano from being my top Ford pick. He had a terrible race at Richmond even before the chaos, and has suffered for days from the uproar. But going into that, he'd won at Michigan and finished fifth at Bristol and second at Atlanta. Should he get back into that zone for the Chase, he could be the dark horse who gives Team Penske a second straight Cup, even though teammate and defending champion Brad Keselowski missed the playoffs.

7. Greg Biffle
Roush Fenway Racing (Ford)
Chase deficit: 12 points | Wins: 1 | Top-5s: 3 | Top-10s: 10
Ed's odds: 12-1: Remember 2008, when the Biff won the first two Chase races? That's the kind of tear that could loft him from dark horse to serious contender this time. So you don't want to rule him out entirely. Still, his hot start of '08 wound up netting him only third place at the end. So, like Harvick, Biffle is unproven at closing the deal of a whole Chase.

8. Clint Bowyer
Michael Waltrip Racing (Toyota)
Chase deficit: 15 points | Wins: 0 | Top-5s: 8 | Top-10s: 13
Ed's odds: 60-1: I'd much rather say "No bet," as bookies do when they take a contest off the board due to irregularities. But if NASCAR is going to leave Bowyer in the Chase, guess we should put up a number. I'm not among the legions who think Jeff Gordon is going to take him out of any or every Chase race as payback for the Richmond Robbery. NASCAR wouldn't let that go on for long. But Bowyer's team will be rattled and distracted all Chase. Media questions and pounding will be relentless, and the boos will be thunderous from every grandstand. And indeed, should Gordon choose to do a takeout here or there, and Bowyer respond like he did last fall, angrily, then a whole new mess would open up. Since Michael Waltrip Racing is so versed at sandbagging, maybe the 15 team ought to ease up, early in the Chase, because the closer they might get to actually winning the championship, the more the wrath of NASCAR Nation would rain down on them.

9. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Chase deficit: 15 points | Wins: 0 | Top-5s: 5 | Top-10s: 14
Ed's odds: 20-1: Sorry, Junior Nation, I just can't see it. Just cannot. So I'll just have to face your wrath. He has hung in the top 10 in points this season, but is winless, and he surely appears likely to remain so. He just hasn't been in the mix, gunning for wins. And he would have to have a couple to contend in this Chase, because there are plenty of drivers, e.g. Kyle Busch, who are even more consistent, and who also win.

10. Kurt Busch
Furniture Row Racing (Chevrolet)
Chase deficit: 15 points | Wins: 0 | Top-5s: 8 | Top-10s: 13
Ed's odds: 9-1: Everybody has to love the spunk, the persistence, the sheer relentlessness of this little team that could make the Chase, and just might pull off a championship as a dark horse. The driver can handle the heat, having won the inaugural Chase at the wire in 2004, even after suffering a broken wheel in the finale at Homestead-Miami. The real question here is the pit crew, which has been flawed at times. Will they be able to pull off the high-pressure stops, time after time, race after race, that winning a title requires? Probably not. But if they should, this would be the biggest underdog championship story since Benny Parsons won the Cup in 1973.

11. Kasey Kahne
Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Chase deficit: 15 points* | Wins: 2 | Top-5s: 8 | Top-10s: 11
Ed's odds: 15-1: The reasons he had to get in on a wild card are the same why he's unlikely to win the championship: He can win sporadically, but the consistency just isn't there over the long haul. I don't discount the possibility he could take off on a really hot streak, with, say, two or three Chase wins. But I rate that possibility remote.

* 3 bonus points per victory not awarded to wild-card entries.
12. Ryan Newman
Stewart-Haas Racing (Chevrolet)
Chase deficit: 15 points* | Wins: 1 | Top-5s: 6 | Top-10s: 12
Ed's odds: 11-1: I've got a hunch here that being robbed of a berth, and then getting it back, just might propel him to a much stronger run for the championship than is indicated by his regular-season record. If any driver has the personality to go all-out under such circumstances, it's the Rocket Man. And his lame-duck boss, Tony Stewart, knows all about the nothing-to-lose mindset and will throw all of SHR's resources into this effort. And you couldn't ask for a better "R&D driver" than Mark Martin, subbing for the injured Stewart. The 39 just might be a show to watch, in and of itself, throughout the playoffs.

* 3 bonus points per victory not awarded to wild-card entries.
13: Jeff Gordon
Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Chase deficit: 15 points** | Wins: 0 | Top-5s: 5 | Top-10s: 12
Ed's odds: 10-1: The ruling Friday that let him in as an unprecedented 13th Chase entry was NASCAR's finest hour in memory in the category of fairness. He deserved to be in and now he is. So he, like Newman, is likely to run a truly inspired and inspiring effort. Should Gordon actually win the championship, he would have finally won a Chase under his toughest ordeal since the playoffs' inception. And he is the kind of driver who just might pull that off.

** NASCAR ruling puts him in the Chase.

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Ed Hinton | email
NASCAR
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Senior writer for ESPN.com
37 years writing for major publications
Author of 2 books, on NFL and NASCAR
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Post Mon Sep 16, 2013 11:08 pm

Re: HANDICAPPING 2013 RACE CHASE........INTERESTING

A BIT OUT OF LINE FOR BOWYER'S ODDS? 60-1 COME ON.....I THINK ED IS SPOT ON WITH NEWMAN. AFTER GETTING HIS PINK SLIP FROM STEWART-HAAS HIS PERFORMANCE HAS INCREASED AND HE HAS SOMETHING TO PROVE. THE MAN HAS GRIT. SINCE TONY HAS BEEN SIDE-LINED, IT'S INTERESTING TO WATCH THE EXPRESSIONS ON HIS FACE WHEN NEWMAN IS RUNNING A GOOD RACE. TOO BAD IT TOOK A JOB LOSS TO LIGHT A FIRE UNDER HIM, BUT I THINK IT'S ALL FOR THE BETTER. NEWMAN TO RCR AND BUSCH TO STEWART-HASS FOR A BIGGER AND BETTER OPPORTUNITY. I'LL STILL BE A NEWMAN FAN.

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