News & Media


Richmond: Chase clinch scenarios

September 07, 2011, Official Release, NASCAR.com

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Eight drivers claim a top-10 spot; Keselowski has at least a wild card berth

With only one race remaining until the 12-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup is set, eight drivers have clinched a top-10 spot -- Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman. Brad Keselowski, with three victories, has clinched at least a wild card berth. He remains eligible to earn a top-10 spot.

After Saturday night's race, the top 10 drivers make up the first part of the 12-driver Chase. Spots 11 and 12 go to those drivers outside the top 10 with the most wins, provided they are in the top 12. The wild card tiebreaker is points position.

Only three spots remain. And thanks to the wild card factor -- which is in its inaugural year -- a whopping 14 drivers remain mathematically eligible.

In terms of drivers outside the top 10, positions 11-23 are all mathematically eligible for a Chase nod. In 2005, seven drivers outside the top 10 still had a mathematical chance, the previous high going into Richmond.

A tale of the tape of the 14:

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Earnhardt is currently 25 points ahead of 11th place. Regardless of any other driver's finish, Earnhardt will clinch if he finishes:

20th or better 21st or better and leads at least one lap 22nd or better and leads the most laps

Tony Stewart

Stewart is currently 23 points ahead of 11th place. Regardless of any other driver's finish, Stewart will clinch if he finishes:

18th or better 19th or better and leads at least one lap 20th or better and leads the most laps

Denny Hamlin:

With a win, he's in. Hamlin doesn't have to win, though. If he stays ahead of all one-win drivers, and there are no other two-win drivers inside the top 20, he's in the Chase. Also, if Keselowski does vault into the top 10, Hamlin could still make the Chase if there is a two-win driver from 11th to 20th as long as he's higher in points than any other one-win driver.

A.J. Allmendinger

Allmendinger is where the wild card drama starts to ratchet up. Points be damned. A win is the only thing that matters for him, and a number of other drivers. He'll need a win and movement up the points to nab the tie-breaker. He finished seventh at Richmond in April.

Clint Bowyer

Of the winless drivers, Bowyer might be the best bet. Bowyer won here in 2008, and has an average finish of 9.5. He needs a win, and some help.

Greg Biffle

One of six winless drivers who won in 2010, Biffle's best Richmond finish was third in 2005. He needs a win, and some help.

Martin Truex Jr.

Two of his past four finishes this season have been in the top five. His best Richmond finish is fifth in 2008. He needs a win, and some help.

Kasey Kahne

Kahne, who needs a win and some help, won at Richmond in 2005, his first career victory.

Joey Logano

Needs a win and help. His best Richmond finish is fourth in this race last season.

Mark Martin

Needs a win and help; he won at Richmond in 1990.

Paul Menard

Win, and he's in -- pretty simple. His finishes at Richmond haven't been so easy. His best: 16th in 2007.

Marcos Ambrose

If he wins and gets into the top 20, he's in. Two of his past three Richmond finishes were in the top 10.

Juan Montoya

Needs a win and help. Best finish was sixth in May of last year.

David Ragan

If he wins, and gets into the top 20, he's in. He finished fourth in April, and third in 2007.