Consistency the Key in Picking a Chase Favorite

By David Smith (on Twitter at @DavidSmithMA)
September 10, 2013

Kurt Busch, with no wins in the first 26 races and driving for a single-car operation based in Denver of all places, is a legitimate championship contender.

How? Consider this: in eight clean races in which Busch didn’t crash or incur an equipment malfunction across the most recent 10 events prior to Sunday’s Chase opener at Chicagoland, he earned a 5.9-place average finish — the best among the 12 Chase-eligible drivers — and a consistent 4.0 finish deviation that suffices as the second-most consistent among Chasers.

The importance of averages and deviations in the 10-race snapshot leading to the Chase has been demonstrated in previous seasons. Eventual champion Brad Keselowski had a clean average finish of 4.6 in that span prior to the 2012 Chase (his deviation was a Chaser-best 2.9). Even Tony Stewart, who “came out of nowhere” to win the 2011 Chase, had a strong clean finish deviation of 4.1 with a 7.7-place average finish in the designated time frame ... Read More


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David Smith is the Editor-in-Chief of Motorsports Analytics and the host of The David Smith Podcast. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidSmithMA.