Who’s Gonna Win the 2014 Sprint Cup Championship?

Steven & Evan Davies - Special to Speedway Digest Sunday, Sep 14 2011

If Jimmy Johnson wins, he would tie Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, Sr. for the most championships in a career with seven. If Greg Biffle wins, he would be the first driver to win a championship in all of the top three series.

If Kurt Busch wins, it will have been ten years since his 2004 title. On the other hand, there are several drivers trying to win their first title, like Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahn, Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Unfortunately, both Matt Kenseth, a winner of seven races last year and Clint Bowyer, who was involved in some questionable tactics at Homestead, failed to make the Chase this year.

The Chase includes the top sixteen drivers from the previous 26 races, not including the all-start race. With this new format,  four drivers will be eliminated Dover, along with four more at Talladega and Phoenix. The winner will crowned at Homestead.

The first chase race up is Chicagoland Speedway. This is one of four tracks that Johnson has never won at. Brad Keselowski won there in Chicagoland in 2012. Both Gordon and Harvick have also won.

After the Chicagoland race, next is New Hampshire, where Gordon, Johnson and Ryan Newman have all won. With the elimination approaching at Dover, many will look to see if Johnson can win again. He’s already won there eight times, a record.

Following the elimination of four drivers at Dover, the next track is Kansas. Gordon has won there twice, in 2001. Johnson has also won there twice. It’s also the only track where Kyle Busch has never had a top five finish.

Next up is Charlotte. Brad Keselowski won here in 2013. Kurt Busch won the all-star race and the Coca Cola 600 there in 2010.

The biggest track on the circuit is Talladega, at 2.66 miles. Hamlin won there earlier this year and Brad Keselowski got his first career win there in 2009. Kyle Busch won there in the spring race in 2008. Dale Earnhardt, Jr., also has six wins there including four times in a row. His dad has also won there ten times, so it’s obviously in the blood. Following this race, four more drivers will be eliminated.

With Martinsville after that, look to Johnson and Gordon to be the favorites as they have each won there eight times. Gordon’s last win there was just last year. Of course, neither one coming close to Richard Petty, who has fifteen wins there or Darrell Waltip, who has eleven wins there.

If Edwards is still in the chase at this point, look for him to do well. He’s won two of the final three races, Texas and Homestead. In fact, he has three wins at Texas, a record. Hamlin has also won at Homestead twice.

In between those two races, there is Phoenix. Gordon has won there once and Kyle Busch has seven Nationwide wins there.

If history is any judge, look for Johnson, Gordon or Keselowski to do well.