News & Media


Mathematically, top 10 could be set after Atlanta

August 29, 2012, Official Release, NASCAR.com

Three competitors have clinched top-10 spots in this year's Chase for the Sprint Cup and another -- 2003 champion Matt Kenseth -- moves to the postseason with a least a wild-card entry.

Current points leader Greg Biffle, five-time champion Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. locked up Chase berths at Bristol. For Biffle, it's redemption after failing to qualify a year ago. Johnson continues to be the only driver to qualify in each of the nine seasons since the Chase format was adopted in 2004. Earnhardt is in for the second consecuitve year and fifth time overall.


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Kenseth, a Chase qualifier for the eighth time, and other members of the current top 10 can lock up top-10 positions by holding leads of at least 49 points over 11th place following Sunday's Advocare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway (depending on which driver is in 11th and who wins Sunday's race, a number of drivers can leave with a 48-point lead and still clinch a top-10 spot).

Four drivers control their own destiny as far as clinching a top-10 spot: Kenseth (who already owns at least a wild card), Martin Truex Jr., Clint Bowyer and Brad Keselowski. Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart could also lock up top-10 spots, but would need help.

Below are the specifics for those who control their own destiny. Regardless of what any other driver does in Sunday night's race at Atlanta, the following drivers will clinch a top-10 spot with the listed finishes:

-- Matt Kenseth: Finishes 40th with no laps led; finishes 41st with at least one lap led; finishes 42nd with most laps led.

-- Martin Truex Jr.: Finishes 14th with no laps led; finishes 15th with at least one lap led; finishes 16th with most laps led.

-- Clint Bowyer: Finishes 11th with no laps led; finishes 12th with at least one lap led; finishes 13th with most laps led.

-- Brad Keselowski: Finishes seventh with no laps led; finishes eighth with at least one lap led; finishes ninth with most laps led.

A win would lock up at least a wild card for Hamlin, Harvick and Stewart. Depending on the final results from Sunday, Bowyer, Keselowski, Hamlin, Stewart, Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch could clinch at least a wild-card spot.