Kingsport Times News Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Sports NASCAR/Racing

10 drivers fighting for 5 Chase spots

September 7th, 2013 4:07 pm by Jim Utter, The Charlotte Observer

10 drivers fighting for 5 Chase spots

Who is in? Who is out? Who controls their own destiny? And who needs a lot of help?

A lot of questions remain about who will make up the 12-driver NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

Seven drivers know they are in: Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer, Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne. Five spots remain up for grabs with 10 drivers still eligible.

The field won’t be officially filled until after the last lap in Saturday night’s Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Any driver among the top 10 in points at that point is guaranteed in the Chase plus two spots will be filled by wild-card entries based on wins.

Take a look at who needs to do what to have a chance to compete for NASCAR’s biggest prize:

Drivers who control their destiny

Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Seventh in points, he will clinch a top-10 spot with a finish of 32nd or better, 33rd with at least one lap led or 34th with the most laps led.

Joey Logano: Eighth in points, he will clinch a top-10 spot with a finish of 11th or better, 12th and at least one lap led or 13th and the most laps led.

Greg Biffle: Ninth in points, he can clinch a top-10 spot with a finish of ninth or better, 10th and at least one lap led or 11th and the most laps led.

Kurt Busch: Tenth in points, Busch can clinch a top-10 spot by winning, finishing second with at least one lap led or finishing third with the most laps led.

Drivers who need help

Six other drivers remain mathematically eligible to finish among the top 10 in points but will need help. Some can control their own destiny by winning Saturday night (a win would guarantee at least a wild-card spot).

Jeff Gordon: Currently 11th in points, Gordon would clinch at least a wild-card spot with a victory at Richmond. He is six points outside the top 10 and remains eligible for a top-10 spot.

Martin Truex Jr.: Currently 13th in points, Truex would clinch at least a wild-card spot with a victory. He also remains eligible to finish among the top 10 in points.

Ryan Newman: Currently 14th in points, Newman would clinch at least a wild-card with a victory. He also remains eligible to finish among the top 10 in points.

Brad Keselowski: Although he is 28 points outside of the top 10, Keselowski remains eligible to finish among the top 10 in points. Keselowski must win Saturday night to be in contention for a wild-card spot.

Jamie McMurray: Currently 39 points outside of the top 10, McMurray still remains eligible to finish among the top 10. McMurray must win at Richmond to be in contention for a wild-card spot.

Paul Menard: To clinch, Menard would need to win Saturday night and finish 47 points ahead of Truex and 42 points ahead of Newman. If Kahne uses a top-10 spot to make the Chase rather than a wild-card entry, then Menard would need to win and outscore either Truex or Newman

Visit The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.) at www.charlotteobserver.com

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