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Ten can punch Chase ticket in Thunder Valley

August 22, 2012, Official Release, NASCAR.com



Ten can punch Chase ticket in Thunder Valley
Biffle in with finish of 28th or better; Kenseth and Earnhardt clinch with top-five

Ten drivers in all have a mathematical chance at clinching a Chase spot Saturday night in the Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway with seven who can secure a top-10 berth.

Regardless of what any other driver does, points leader Greg Biffle will clinch a Chase berth with a finish of 28th with no laps led, 29th with at least one lap led and 30th with the most laps led.

The scenario for Biffle's Roush Fenway Racing teammate Matt Kenseth is a little more daunting at the World's Fastest Half-Mile. Kenseth is in the Chase with an eighth-place finish with no laps led, ninth with at least one lap led and 10th with most laps led.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. lands a spot in the postseason with a finish of sixth with no laps led, seventh with at least one lap led and eighth with the most laps led. His Hendrick Motorsports teammate, five-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, will punch his Chase ticket with a victory or second-place finish while leading the most laps.

Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr. and Clint Bowyer also can reserve spots in the Chase but are not yet in charge of the their own destinies. The magic number is 97. Any driver 97 points ahead of 11th place leaving Bristol will officially clinch a top-10 spot.

As far as one of the two wild card berths, five drivers have a chance to secure at least one of those. With three victories, Keselowski and defending Cup champion Tony Stewart are in the Chase if they grab the checkered flag at Bristol, giving them four victories with two races remaining.

Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne and Clint Bowyer could also clinch at minimum a wild-card berth with a victory Saturday night, but would need help from other drivers and have the points fall correctly.