Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Kyle Busch 38 Percent, Matt Kenseth 68 Percent: Updated Chase Qualifying Probabilities for Every Driver

Following the night race at Bristol, we see a big shakeup in points, and one step closer to the Chase.

With only two weeks to go, it's time to update last week's probability table.

Let's take a look:

First off, due to the strength of the competitors in the 12th through 14th spots, we are updating the Chase 12th place points target to 3172. This is up from 3149 last week, and the 3120 number we had been using the last few weeks. This will also cause some previous "100 percent" numbers to drop a tiny bit. But the overall effect is not changed.

Some notes of interest:

1) We say official goodbye to 17th place Marcos Ambrose and below. With only two races to go, the most somebody can score is 390 points. Marcos is more than 390 points behind 3172, so he is mathematically eliminated from the Chase. So is everybody else behind him. I suggest ESPN should limit the YELLOW bubble labels on their scrolling leader-board to just the names I'm including in my table.

2) We are *ALMOST* going to say goodbye to Clint Bowyer and David Reutimann, who each had poor nights, dropping them to zero percent chances of making the 3172 target. Of course, my percentages are based on performance this year. If one of them won both of the next two races, they could get in. But neither have them have two wins all year, which is why they get 0 percent on this table.

3) Kyle Busch and Brian Vickers have converged to each other. They both have the same chance of getting in, as they are virtually tied in points.

4) Mark Martin's strong run moved him up two spots, and gave him a 20 percent boost in getting into the top 12. Things look a lot better for him now.

5) Kasey Kahne's 28th place was one of his worst finishes of the year, dropping him down a big chunk. Also remember he got 29th in Richmond earlier this season.

6) Similary, Montoya suffered some bad luck and saw a bit of his chances take a hit. Though he still has over a 90 percent shot of getting in as long as he keeps up with his conservative Chase strategy like he has been all year.

7) Say hello to Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin, who each clinched spots of making the 3172 target. They have nothing to worry about going forward. Even last place finishes in the next two races will cover them.

8) There is about a 30 percent chance that the current top 12 will all make it. Right now the strength of both Vickers and Busch suggest one of them will be able to sneak their way in, knocking somebody out.

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