Barring a tragic event or a plague of locusts destroying the #48 team's fleet of cars, Jimmie Johnson will win his 5th 'championship' this year.
When you get down to number crunching, there's no other driver you should bet the rent money on unless you think you'd enjoy living under a bridge.
Let's look at it.
I took the top 3 active drivers who have the best average finish at each of the tracks in the Chase.
No surprise here. Johnson ranks in the top 3 at eight of those ten tracks!
The next best driver? Denny Hamlin. With FOUR.
It gets better for Johnson because the numbers are a bit skewed. For example, Brad Keselowski has the best average finish at New Hampshire (6th). But he's only has ONE race there. That hardly tells us how he'll continue to run there for any length of time.
And Joey Logano has an average finish of 7th at Charlotte, a track where Johnson dominates. But Logano has only raced there TWICE. It doesn't tell the whole story.
Both Keselowski and Logano have the best average finishes of all active drivers at Talladega... but both only have two starts there as well. Again, it skews the numbers.
Take away the 'skewing' and it only benefits Johnson even MORE.
The Chase is tailor made for one driver & team with 11 others vying for second. That's why it has to go.
Numbers don't lie.
1. Brad Keselowski 6.0 (1 start)
2. Denny Hamlin 7.5 (8 starts)
3. Jimmie Johnson 9.5 (16 starts)
1. Carl Edwards 7.9 (11 starts)
2. Jimmie Johnson 9.8 (16 starts)
3. Ryan Newman 10.3 (16 starts)
1. Jeff Gordon 8.9 (9 starts)
2. Greg Biffle 9.0 (8 starts)
3. Jimmie Johnson 10.2 (8 starts)
Fontana (Auto Club)
1. Jimmie Johnson 5.5 (15 starts)
2. Carl Edwards 7.2 (12 starts)
3. Matt Kenseth 9.1 (17 starts)
1. Joey Logano 7.0 (2 starts)
2. Jimmie Johnson 8.6 (17 starts)
3. Kasey Kahne 11.6 (12 starts)
1. Jimmie Johnson 5.4 (17 starts)
2. Denny Hamlin 6.6 (10 starts)
3. Jeff Gordon 6.7 (35 starts)