Gordon, Kahne Among Drivers Who May Have Already Been Eliminated From 2012 ‘Chase’

Charlotte, NC (April 9th, 2012) – With six races in the books, nearly one-quarter of the NASCAR Sprint Cup 26-event ‘regular season’ has already been completed. If you are at the top of the point standings like Greg Biffle, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick, you’re right where you want to be.

If you are Jeff Gordon, Jamie McMurray, Kurt Busch and Kasey Kahne, you may have already been eliminated from this year’s ‘Chase.’

Gordon, McMurray, Busch and Kahne are not only outside of the coveted top-12 that makes NASCAR’s championship series, they are not even in the top-20.

Gordon with 136 points scored so far this year is in the best shape. That’s got ‘Wonder Boy’ 21st in the standings, 39 points (nearly a full race) out of the 12th spot currently occupied by Brad Keselowski.

Gordon – who has run well leading every race this season – has been a victim of circumstance in almost all of those events. If anyone currently outside the top-12 is going to make a charge to the Chase, it will be him.

Meanwhile, McMurray failed to make the Chase last year and appears to be headed toward that same distinction this season as he is 24th in the standings after the first six events. He’s already a full race out of the 12th position in the standings and with an average finishing position of 22.5 in 2012, it’s unlikely he’ll rally to grab a Chase spot this season.

Busch has been fast, but his James Finch-owned Chevy has been in the wrong place at the right time all season. The team left Daytona with three wrecked racecars and has never recovered posting identical 24.8 starting and finishing averages this season. This team and driver could get hot and make the final 12, but it will be a huge climb from it’s current position of 26th (69 points out of 12th).

Kahne is easily the biggest disappointment of the 2012 season. The hoopla over Kahne moving to Hendrick Motorsports has been gaining momentum for more than a year. Unfortunately, Kahne’s performance hasn’t matched the hype as his best finish to date has been a 14th at California.

The rest of the time, Kahne has been pinballing from accident to accident and is currently 31st in the standings, a full 82 points out of the final 12th playoff position.

Only a rally of Herculean proportions could boost Kahne from these depths to back in the Chase and the last time we looked, Kahne is no Hercules.

Others on the outside looking in – 20th or worse in the standings – include Bobby Labonte, Marcos Ambrose, Casey Mears, David Ragan and Dave Blaney. For these drivers, it has to be tough knowing that any hopes of making this year’s championship race-off have already been dashed after just six events.

Meanwhile, Joey Logano, Paul Menard, Jeff Burton and Kyle Busch are in solid position to advance. All four are within striking distance of 12th, Busch being the worst of the lot currently in 16th position – just 24 points behind Keselowski in 12th.

The rest of the top-20 – Juan Pablo Montoya, Regan Smith, Aric Almirola and A.J. Almendinger – are also long shots as each is already more than 30 points out of the final 12th-place transfer spot.

We’re confident there will be a lot of chatter about who is going to make the Chase when August flips over on the calendar. That will mark the start of the countdown to the Chase with the final six races of the regular season – Pocono, Watkins Glen, Michigan, Bristol, Atlanta and Richmond – all on tap.

Unfortunately for a number of drivers listed above, their championship hopes were more than like dashed in the first six races of the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup campaign.

Medical Update –

Just wanted to take a moment here to thank all who have sent well wishes over the past couple of days.

I’m back home and starting to feel better after having my left knee replaced at Mercy Hospital in Charlotte last Wednesday. My doctor – J. Bohannon Mason – says all went well and now it’s on to rehab. That includes eight hours a day in a torture device called a CPM – Continuous Passive Motion – machine.

That said, I’m glad to be home and on the road to recovery.

Again, thanks for all the kind thoughts.

As always, thanks for reading. Hope to see you at the racetrack very soon.

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