Wednesday, 17 August 2022

CHASE PREDICTIONS: And your 2016 Sprint Cup champion will be ...

Posted On Wednesday, 14 September 2016 00:00 Written by
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The Chase is upon us, and NASCAR's version of the playoffs is about to begin. Having watched every moment of this eventful season, I've got a few ideas about how things are going to end up. Here are my picks from worst to first.
 
16. Chris Buescher -- The surprise of this Chase, with his win coming seemingly out of nowhere and his hanging on the edge of the top 30. But this young man's future is bright. He doesn't have the car to compete for a title this year, but will be one to watch in the coming years.
 
15. Austin Dillon -- Congrats to Austin on making the Chase; he's improved much since he brought the 3 car back to the Cup series for his grandfather Richard Childress. But RCR is looking too inconsistent to hang with the big boys and advance past the first round of the Chase in 2016.
 

14. Jamie McMurray -- Chip Ganassi is on a roll, with both of its cars, but someone has to get left behind in first round, so doing well won't work -- excellence is required. I don't quite see that coming out of the 1 car.

13. Jimmie Johnson
-- Bad year for Hendrick all around will continue in the Chase, and Mr. Six-time champ will be out after the first cutoff. It's just not his year, anyone who's watched regularly can see.

12. Chase Elliott -- Impressive of the rookie to make the Chase in the 24 car; He'll have to overcome the glare of the Chase if he wants to succeed this postseason. I see him getting through Round One.

11. Tony Stewart -- An unexpected Chase competitor in his final year, after some time off for injury to start the year, Stewart can do some damage when it's not anticipated (see his title in 2011 for evidence), but alas I don't see the champ retiring with another title added to his pile.
 
10. Kurt Busch -- Has his bursts of speed, but not consistent enough to make final rounds of Chase
 
9. Matt Kenseth -- A Gibbs Toyota will win the Cup, that's almost a sure bet. But don't bet on Kenseth to be the guy.

8. Carl Edwards -- With almost everyone in the Chase being a heavyweight, it's hard to eliminate anyone. Battle to make the Final Four will be tough, and I don't see Edwards squeezing through. 

7. Kyle Larson -- Momentum should propel Larson to a deep Chase run, but Ganassi's machines aren't quite up to par with the top level teams -- will need some luck to make Final Four. 

6. Kyle Busch -- Last year's champ will be in the hunt again; Will bad luck of past Chases return? Or will he be on track for title No. 2?

5. Brad Keselowski -- Team Penske is the leader for Ford in 2016, and the success of Brad Keselowski this year despite uphill battles at times mean he won't go down easy.
 
4. Joey Logano -- Brad's Penske teammate Joey Logano has arguably been stronger this year, though it's very close between the two. One of them will advance to Homestead with a shot at the title, and I'm picking Joey for this spot.
 
3. Truex Jr. -- He's been too good this year to not be battling for title in South Florida; but then again, he is prone to bad luck streaks.
 
2. Kevin Harvick -- Mr. Consistent -- as in consistently in front of the pack this year. Harvick will win races in the Chase and could win it all. 
 
1. Denny Hamlin -- Of all the Gibbs guys, Hamlin is perhaps the most consistent and reliable over an extended period of time -- After falling short of the title in the past, this will be Hamlin's year to race the Cup at Homestead. 
 
Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

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