Your Guide To The 2010 Chase

By Toby Christie (Originally appeared on RubbingsRacing.com)

The checkered flag has waved at Richmond, and the Chase field is officially set. Among the twelve drivers in the running for the championship are five previous NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions.

The immediate buzz is that this is the closest field in the entire history of the Chase, and that anyone can truly win it this season. I will agree that there hasn’t been a clear cut favorite all season long, but in my opinion Jimmie Johnson has to be the favorite until he is officially dethroned.

However here is a complete breakdown of the 2010 NASCAR Chase For The Sprint Cup Contenders. Included are their season, and career highlights, as well as their past Chase performances.

Weigh all of the stats yourself to help guide you pick a favorite going into the first race of the playoffs this week in New Hampshire.

Denny Hamlin, No. 11

  • Number one seed in the chase by virtue of having a Series high six wins in 2010 (Martinsville, Texas, Darlington, Pocono, Michigan, and Richmond).
  • Only has two DNFs this season (Watkins Glen and Atlanta).
  • Has been inside the top 12 of the point standings for 19 weeks of the 26 week regular season.
  • Has made the chase five straight seasons (every year he has ran the full schedule).
  • Best Chase Finish: Third (2006)

2010 Statistics

Starts: 26, Wins: 6, Top5: 10, Top10: 11, Poles: 1

2010 Loop Data

Driver Rating: 93.9

Average Running Position: 14.964

Quality Passes: 1,315

Fastest Laps Run: 472

Laps In Top 15: 4,229

Green Flag Passes: 2,273

Jimmie Johnson, No. 48

  • Has five wins on the season (Auto Club, Las Vegas, Bristol, Infineon, and New Hampshire).
  • Has four DNFs on the year (Daytona in February, Talladega, Darlington, and Daytona in July).
  • Has been in the top 12 of the standings for 25 consecutive weeks of the 26 week regular season.
  • Only driver to make the Chase every year of it’s existence.
  • Best Chase Finish: First (2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009).
  • Only driver to win the Chase more than once.

2010 Statistics

Starts: 26, Wins: 5, Top5: 10, Top10: 14, Poles: 1

2010 Loop Data

Driver Rating: 107.4

Average Running Position: 9.557

Quality Passes: 1,653

Fastest Laps Run: 703

Laps In Top 15: 6,181

Green Flag Passes: 2,178

Kevin Harvick, No. 29

  • Has three wins on the season (Talladega, Daytona in July, and Michigan), two at restrictor plate races.
  • Just one DNF on the year (Atlanta).
  • Has been in the top 5 of the point standings for the entire 26 week regular season, and led the standings for 20 weeks, including 16 consecutive weeks.
  • 2010 marks his fourth Chase Appearance.
  • Best Chase Finish: Fourth (2006 and 2008).
  • Two-Time Nationwide Series Champion (2001 and 2006).

2010 Statistics

Starts: 26, Wins: 3, Top5: 11, Top10: 17, Poles: 0

2010 Loop Data

Driver Rating: 95.8

Average Running Position: 13.143

Quality Passes: 1,250

Fastest Laps Run: 228

Laps In Top 15: 4,456

Green Flag Passes: 2,150

Kyle Busch, No. 18

Three Wins On The Year (Richmond, Dover, and Bristol).

  • Just has one DNF on the year (Daytona in July).
  • Has been in the top 12 of the point standings for 20 consecutive weeks of the 26 week regular season.
  • 2010 marks his fourth Chase appearance.
  • Best Chase Finish: fifth (2007).
  • 2009 Nationwide Series Champion.

2010 Statistics

Starts: 26, Wins: 3, Top5: 8, Top10: 14, Poles: 2

2010 Loop Data

Driver Rating: 98.4

Average Running Position: 11.995

Quality Passes: 1,494

Fastest Laps Run: 458

Laps In Top 15: 5,597

Green Flag Passes: 2,342

Kurt Busch, No. 2

  • Two wins on the year (Atlanta and Charlotte).
  • Two DNFs in 2010 (Pocono and Michigan).
  • Has been in the top 12 of the point standings for 19 consecutive weeks of the 26 week regular season.
  • 2010 marks his fifth appearance in the Chase.
  • Best Chase finish: First (2004).

2010 Statistics

Starts: 26, Wins: 2, Top5: 8, Top10: 15, Poles: 2

2010 Loop Data

Driver Rating: 95.1

Average Running Position: 13.226

Quality Passes: 1,400

Fastest Laps Run: 306

Laps In Top 15: 5,309

Green Flag Passes: 1,988

Tony Stewart, No. 14

  • One win on the year (Atlanta).
  • Just one DNF on the year (Texas).
  • Has been in the top 12 in the standings for 12 consecutive weeks of the 26 week regular season.
  • 2010 marks his sixth Chase appearance.
  • Best Chase finish: First (2005).
  • Only driver to win a championship under both point systems.

2010 Statistics

Starts: 26, Wins: 1, Top5: 7, Top10: 14, Poles: 2

2010 Loop Data

Driver Rating: 92.7

Average Running Position: 12.325

Quality Passes: 1,186

Fastest Laps Run: 294

Laps In Top 15: 5,020

Green Flag Passes: 2,076

Greg Biffle, No. 16

  • One win on the year (Pocono in August)
  • Two DNFs in 2010 (Pocono in June and Chicago)
  • Has been in the top 12 of the point standings for the entire 26 week regular season.
  • Has now made the Chase four times in his career.
  • Best Chase finish: Second (2005).
  • 2002 Nationwide Series Champion.
  • 2000 Camping World Truck Series Champion.
  • Looking to be the first driver to win a title in each of NASCAR’s “Big Three” Divisions.

2010 Statistics

Starts: 26, Wins: 1, Top5: 5, Top10: 14, Poles: 0

2010 Loop Data

Driver Rating: 86.6

Average Running Position: 14.765

Quality Passes: 1,231

Fastest Laps Run: 214

Laps In Top 15: 3,805

Green Flag Passes: 2,176

Jeff Gordon, No. 24

  • Zero wins on the year.
  • Two DNFS this season (Texas, and Pocono).
  • Has been in the top 12 of the point standings for 23 consecutive weeks of the 26 week regular season.
  • This marks his sixth Chase appearance.
  • Best Chase Finish: Second (2007).
  • Four-Time Sprint Cup Champion, but none since the Chase was instituted.

2010 Statistics

Starts: 26, Wins: 0, Top5: 10, Top10: 13, Poles: 0

2010 Loop Data

Driver Rating: 102.7

Average Running Position: 9.438

Quality Passes: 1,556

Fastest Laps Run: 508

Laps In Top 15: 6,275

Green Flag Passes: 2,106

Carl Edwards, No. 99

  • Zero wins on the year, but has scored more points than anyone in the past six races.
  • Two DNFs this season (Atlanta and Texas).
  • Has been in the top 12 of the standings for 21 weeks of the 36 week regular season.
  • This season marks his fifth Chase Appearance.
  • Best Chase finish: Second (2008).
  • 2007 Nationwide Series Champion.

2010 Statistics

Starts: 26, Wins: 0, Top5: 6, Top10: 14, Poles: 2

2010 Loop Data

Driver Rating: 88.9

Average Running Position: 13.800

Quality Passes: 1,411

Fastest Laps Run: 151

Laps In Top 15: 5,151

Green Flag Passes: 2,182

Jeff Burton, No. 31

  • Zero wins this year.
  • No DNFs yet in 2010.
  • Has been in the top 12 of the point standings for all 26 weeks of the regular season.
  • This year marks the fourth time he has made the Chase.
  • Best Chase finish: sixth (2008).

2010 Statistics

Starts: 26, Wins: 0, Top5: 5, Top10: 13, Poles: 0

2010 Loop Data

Driver Rating: 99.3

Average Running Position: 10.801

Quality Passes: 1,848

Fastest Laps Run: 379

Laps In Top 15: 6,058

Green Flag Passes: 2,573

Matt Kenseth, No. 17

  • Zero wins this year.
  • No DNFs yet in 2010.
  • Has been in the top 12 of the point standings for all 26 weeks of the regular season.
  • This is his sixth Chase appearance.
  • Best Chase finish: Second (2006).
  • 2003 Sprint Cup Champion (Before Chase was instituted).

2010 Statistics

Starts: 26, Wins: 0, Top5: 5, Top10: 10, Poles: 0

2010 Loop Data

Driver Rating: 83.4

Average Running Position: 15.625

Quality Passes: 966

Fastest Laps Run: 123

Laps In The Top 15: 4,556

Green Flag Passes: 2,113

Clint Bowyer, No. 33

  • Zero wins on the year.
  • Two DNFs this season (Bristol and Texas).
  • Has been in the top 12 of the point standings for the final four consecutive weeks of the 26 week regular season, and 17 weeks overall.
  • Clinched his spot in the final regular season race in Richmond with a sixth place finish.
  • This will be his third Chase appearance.
  • Best Chase finish: Third (2007).
  • 2008 Nationwide Series Champion.

2010 Statistics

Starts: 26, Wins: 0, Top5: 4, Top10: 14, Poles: 0

2010 Loop Data

Driver Rating: 91.4

Average Running Position: 14.075

Quality Passes: 1,184

Fastest Laps Run: 198

Laps In Top 15: 5,322

Green Flag Passes: 1,943

Author: Toby Christie

Toby is the Editor of TheFinalLap.com and Social Media Director of all things @TheFinalLap. He is the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly radio show and podcast, and he is the writer and co-host of the Racing Legends podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed the sport as a fan since 1993.

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