Top Ten Tuesday: In with a Win
Outside Looking In
Top 10 drivers currently outside the top 16 that have best chance to win
Two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions, a Daytona 500 winner and a 29-time winner in NASCAR's top division. That's quite a list, especially when you consider that list is made up of current drivers ranked outside the top 16 in points.
The top 16 in points right now could very much be how things shape up this season. There's also a good chance that anywhere from 5-6 names drop off of that list, leaving room for the likes of the drivers below. The best way to assure a spot in the postseason, though, is a win.
Here's a list of our top-10 drivers currently outside the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship points standing that will find a way into the playoff via a win:
- Greg Biffle - Since his first full-time season in the Cup Series, Biffle has had only three seasons in which he didn't win a single race: 2009, 2011 and 2014. He would go on to win two races in 2010 and 2012, so it's a safe bet to assume the Biff will find his way in there again, if not twice, in 2015.
- A.J. Allmendinger - Hard to believe a guy with one-career Cup win under his belt could make this list at all, never mind this high. But the Dinger has six top-10s, including a win (last year) in 12 career starts on road courses, and with two left on the schedule there's a very good chance that he finds victory lane again.
- Kurt Busch - With 25 career wins in NASCAR's premier division, Busch seems like a given to find his way into the Chase at some point. Not so fast, as Busch only has one win in his last 119 starts. But Busch shares a similar driving style with teammate Kevin Harvick, who already has two wins this season.
- Clint Bowyer - It seems hard to believe that Bowyer's last win came at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Oct. 13. It's even harder to believe that it was Oct 13th of 2012. Bowyer has struggled to find his form over the last 2+ seasons, but this guy simply has too much talent to stay out of victory lane for another entire season.
- Kyle Larson - How has this kid not taken a checkered flag yet? Granted, his sophomore campaign has been a bit uninspired; however, there were signs of life this past week at Bristol Motor Speedway and it could be just the jumpstart this team needs to grab that brass elusive.
- Austin Dillon - No wins yet and only five top-10s in his limited Sprint Cup career, but Dillon has steadily improved, earning a top-10 at Bristol this week. Dillon has a ways to go, but stealing a win with smart pit strategy isn't out of the question.
- Tony Stewart - My how the mighty have fallen. Smoke is back and seems to be in good spirits this season, yet there has to be lingering physical and emotional pain from the past two seasons. That said, Stewart is a veteran and knows what it takes to win. He's not what he was, but this guy isn't done winning quite yet.
- Trevor Bayne - The 2011 Daytona 500 champion has won before. It's been a rough rookie campaign, thus far, but you've got to figure July 5 at Daytona is circled on his team's calendar.
- David Ragan - Throw out the fact that his days are numbered in the superior equipment of Joe Gibbs Racing. Ragan has wins in 2011 and 2013, so he's got to be due for another in 2015, right?
- Kyle Busch - The timetable on Rowdy's return is still up in the air, but only one win away from his 30th career victory, Busch's comeback will likely look like he hasn't missed a beat. Busch is one of the sport's most respected drivers — on talent-level alone — so him coming back and finding victory lane quickly would hardly be a surprise. Whether he runs long enough to finish in the top 30 in points, now that remains to be seen.