It's winning time, time for the 12 drivers and teams in the Chase for the Sprint Cup to prove they are worthy champions.
One will succeed, 11 will not.
I will preface my predictions on the final NASCAR Sprint Cup points order with a couple of disclaimers:
First, it would not surprise me in the least if any of the top six picks listed here wins the championship; on the other hand, I would be well and truly startled if the eventual champion comes from positions 7-12.
Only twice in nine years of the Chase format has the champ come from further back than the No. 4 seed at the start of the Chase. And seven times in nine Chases, the eventual runner-up began the playoff round seeded first or second.
Second, that said, Tony Stewart's miracle run from 2011 proves anything is possible. During the '11 season, Stewart had no victories and only three top-five finishes in the 26 regular season races, then went on to win five of the 10 Chase races. If someone catches lightning in a bottle lik...