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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MotorsportsAnalytics.com is a subscription-based web site that brings advanced statistical concepts created for evaluating drivers and teams to the every day race fan. The web site has been featured in USA Today and Sports Business Daily and on SiriusXM Satellite Radio’s NASCAR Channel.

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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.