While everyone has their opinion of the new Chase format, and the drivers within it, the final four eligible drivers do represent a good cross-section of the Sprint Cup garage.
Here’s a list of the cross-sections and statistics the four remaining 2014 Sprint Cup hopefuls represent.
1. The four hopefuls represent all three manufacturers: Two Chevrolets made it to final race, with Kevin Harvick and Ryan Newman representing Chevy. Ford and Toyota each have one entry with Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin, respectively.
2. Largest Engine Builders All Represented: Hendrick is represented by the Stewart-Haas driver, Harvick. ECR has Ryan Newman. Toyota Racing Development (TRD) is represented by Hamlin, while Ford-powered Roush-Yates Engines is represented by Logano.
3. Single Cars Didn’t Make It to the End: All of the four drivers are from multi-car teams. While one single-car team made it to the Chase, the No. 47 driver, AJ Allmendinger representing JTG Daugherty Racing did not make it past the first round.
Harvick, representing Stewart-Haas, is one of their four teams. Denny Hamlin, representing Joe Gibbs Racing, is one of three teams (they’ll be a four-car team in 2015 with Carl Edwards coming over to pilot the No. 19). Ryan Newman’s No. 31 of RCR is one of their three car-team, while Logano representing Penske Racing is the only team with only two cars represented in the final round of the Chase.
4. Final Four Drivers Had Combined 73 Top 10s in 2014: Consistency was a big deal for the four final Cup eligible drivers, each showing up in the top 10 often: Joey Logano 22 Top 10s, Kevin Harvick 19 Top 10s, Denny Hamlin 17 Top 10s and Ryan Newman 15.
5. Final Four Drivers Had Combined 40 Top 5s in 2014: Even better, the four drivers, specifically Logano, Harvick and Hamlin finished inside the top 5 a bunch. Each had multiple finishes in the top 5 when the checkered flag dropped in the 2014 season for a combined 40 times: Joey Logano 16 Top 5s, Kevin Harvick 13 Top 10s, Denny Hamlin 7 Top 5s and Ryan Newman 4 Top 5s in 2014.
6. 10 Wins Between the Four Drivers: This is the one where things get skewed. Between the four final drivers, there were 10 total wins. But 9 of those 10 are split between Logano and Harvick. The No. 22 driver, Joey Logano had 5 2014 wins going into Miami. No. 4 driver, Kevin Harvick is just one behind with four wins. The No. 11 JGR driver, Denny Hamlin had his single win at Talladega, giving him his playoff berth, while Ryan Newman has yet to win in 2014, getting into the Chase (and through the first three rounds of the Chase) on points and consistency.
Overall, the four are a good cross section of the Sprint Cup garage. One would think that at the end of the Miami-Homestead race, Logano or Harvick would be the likely driver to hoist the 2014 Sprint Cup in the air. The stats support it, and their seasons deserve it.