I had forgotten about Ricky Craven‘s rule of 72 from a few years back. This week he wrote about it on ESPN.com and I was reminded about it. It seems to me to be a much better way to predict which driver is still in the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup than simply sticking a Fork in one like his counterparts at ESPN have been doing.
His rule is pretty simple. Add up the finishes of each driver. When that is equal to or more than 72 then they have no chance of winning the Championship. Those drivers who took bonus points due to race wins with them into the Chase also carry them into their race totals as well.
He did a great job explaining how he came up with it but he didn’t figure out and show where they all stand right now. It just begged to make a spread sheet to follow along. I have shared the current sheet above.
As one can see by the numbers Kasey Kahne is already out but with six races to go even if a driver wins all six they will get six additional finishes so if you add six to a driver and they are over 72 then they are also out. Ryan Newman is also out of contention.
It really is a pretty cool predictive tool. With some further math one can see that in order to just stay in contention Joey Logano and Carl Edwards have to have an average finish from here on out of third. That’s a tall order. Especially given that Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson would have to have average finishes from here on out of 11.7 for the math on Logano and Edwards to work out. That is not going to happen.
In the chart there is also the average finishes that will take a driver to 72. It could probably be argued that no driver will string together six races with an average finish better than fifth. That would be one heck of a Championship run and again would require only top ten finishes or worse by Kenseth and Johnson.
Either way it is less subjective to use Ricky Craven’s rule of 72 than just sticking a fork in a driver. Have fun following along with Ricky.