|12/03/15||The Champion By NHMS Numbers|
|11/20/15||The Championship Four Preview|
|11/13/15||Phoenix: Three To Watch|
|10/30/15||Martinsville: Three To Watch|
|10/18/15||Kansas: Three To Watch|
|10/05/15||Charlotte: Three To Watch|
CHASE FANTASY: Kansas
Four have been eliminated. Aric Almirola, Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch, and AJ Allmendinger are no longer Chase challengers and the field is down to 12 contenders.
The Contender Round marks what could be the most unpredictable round of the Chase because it has the most unpredictable track in Talladega Superspeedway. That track stacks up as the third and final race in this round, and teams are putting a strong emphasis on performing well in the first two races to take out the drama of needing to avoid "The Big One" at Dega.
Here's a look at the best and worst fantasy options among the remaining 12 drivers:
Green Flag - Jeff Gordon
Gordon enters the Contender Round fresh off a win at Dover and also took the No. 24 to victory lane at Kansas earlier this year. That wasn't unusual, as Gordon has three wins and 10 top-fives in 17 races at Kansas. He has shown the consistency necessary to work his way through the new Chase format, but a season sweep at Kansas would alleviate pressure at Talladega.
Caution Flag - Jimmie Johnson
Johnson tends to make his championship runs with strong performances at the cookie cutter intermediates, like Kansas. Then again, three of his six championships have included Chase wins at Dover, and while he finished third last week, he didn't lead any laps and didn't appear to have a whole lot for the fast cars on the day. Johnson is good, but he needs to be better if he's going to defend his title.
Red Flag - Ryan Newman
Newman will need to find speed he's lacked all season if he's going to go any farther in the Chase Grid. The No. 31 hasn't been to victory lane all year and has just two top-fives. By comparison, seven of the 12 drivers remaining have at least 10 top-fives. At Kansas specifically, Newman has just four top-10s in 17 starts and isn't known for dominance on the cookie cutters.