Yep, every sport has its playoff series, and for NASCAR it’s the Chase.
Through the first 26 races of the 36-race season, drivers earn points based on where they finish in each race, plus points each time they lead a lap and each time they lead the most laps in a race. At the end of those 26 races, the top twelve drivers in the point standings qualify for the Chase. Their scores are reset and the one who leads in points at the end of the ten ‘Chase’ races becomes the Cup Series champ. You could say it’s the Super Bowl ring of stock car racing.
Jimmie Johnson is my favorite driver and he has won the Sprint Cup for the past three years. He is in the Chase again this year, but lots of attention is being paid to Mark Martin, who happens to be my second-favorite driver.
Unless you follow NASCAR regularly you might not know Martin. But you might remember his sponsor from a few years back – Viagra. The synergy was unmistakable – at 50, he is one of the oldest current drivers in NASCAR and the oldest in the Chase. Regardless of his sponsor, he is a hard-charging driver who is up for every race. He slid into victory lane again yesterday, which means he has entered the winner’s circle five times this season, a personal best.
A few stats: the average age of this year’s Chase drivers is 34, most are in their 30s and 20s, one is 40 and one is 50.
I’d like to see Jimmie Johnson win again, but my money’s on Mark Martin.