"I'm proud to be in the Chase," said Junior. "I feel like I'm a good enough driver to be in the Chase, my team is good enough to be there. I think it says a lot about our team, and I've always felt like this team was good enough to be in the top 10, and I feel like tonight -- we always gave it away. We got outrun all year long several different times, but we always gave it away a few times, too. I'm pretty proud of what we've been able to do all year"
11. Kurt Busch (Chase Seed: 7/My pre-season pick: 8)
Make no mistake, the 22 team is running well right now. But Kurt Busch's meltdown in the media center Saturday night at Richmond, gives me reason for concern. He claimed (and then didn't claim) that he is in the 48 team's head. CLEARLY it's the other way around. It's a meltdown that is reminiscent of his final days at Roush-Fenway. I' just not sure he can hold it together for 10 races. They are a team that can win on any type of track though, which could make them dangerous
"Yeah, it's been a great consistent season for us," said Busch. "We've been in the top 10 in points all year due to a strong start at Daytona. We had an excellent speed weeks with a shot to win the Daytona 500, and winning the Shootout and our duel. We started off the season strong with good, consistent runs, and qualifying has been a strong suit for us, as well.:
10. Tony Stewart (Chase Seed 9: My pre-season pick: 9)
There just seams to be something missing with the 14 team this season. Yet they seemed to just will themselves into the chase. That being said, this is a tough chase field and unless Stewart can find his way to victory lane over the next 10 weeks, I just dont see this team being much of a threat to knock off the champ, this season.
"We've got a lot ten-week stretch ahead of us and we've got to be better than we've been the last 26 weeks," said Stewart. "I'm proud of our guys. I mean, our guys have kept their heads up. But it's going to be a long ten weeks, but every Friday when we show up at the track we start with a clean slate and just do the best we can. So we'll keep digging."
9. Matt Kenseth (Chase Seed: 4/ My pre-season pick: 13)
Honestly I could put Kenseth 9th, I could put him first. The 17 team has be silently just setting them up and knocking them down. But historically to do well in the chase, a team has to be able to put together multiple wins in the 10 race stretch. Kenseth can do that, but history has shown that the 17th usually doesn't win a lot in the chase. Kenseth does have a different crew chief this go round, so who knows this just might be the year that he bucks that trend.
"I feel like we have everything, but we've got to get the finishes and we've got to do the right things every week," said Kenseth. "Most tracks I felt like our performance was good enough to be a contender. Our finishes weren't but I thought our performance was pretty good. We qualified good, maybe led a few laps here and there, ran toward the front but just didn't finish the races off. We didn't get the finishes where we ran. You've got to do better than that."
8. Brad Keselowski (Chase Seed: 11/ My pre-season pick: 24)
He is a chase wildcard, in every sense of the word. No one thought that he would be in the field and since this is his first time in, no one really knows what to expect now that he is in. He's what I do know: the 2 team is probable the hottest team in the garage area right now. And Keselowski is just brash enough (in a good way) to believe that he can unseat the champ. But the Chase is a whole different animal. But even Jimmie Johnson had to lose one before he one one (or 5).