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Chase clinch scenarios for Michigan

August 15, 2013, Staff report, NASCAR.com

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Bowyer, Edwards eye automatic bids to postseason

Related: Sprint Cup Series standings

Jimmie Johnson clinched at least a Wild Card berth in the 2013 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup by virtue of his top-10 showing last week at Watkins Glen International.

Five-Time still might be the only driver qualified for the postseason after this week’s Pure Michigan 400 -- that’s how dominant he’s been, and that’s how difficult this week’s scenarios are for a handful of drivers.

Below is a list of contenders who could qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup this weekend at Michigan International Speedway.

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Clint Bowyer. Bowyer is second in the standings with 733 points, a full 75 points behind Johnson. With no wins to his credit this season, the driver of the No. 15 Toyota can still punch his ticket for the postseason on Sunday.

The magic number this weekend is 145, which means Bowyer -- or any other driver -- must be 145 points ahead of the driver in 11th place to clinch an automatic berth. The 11th-place driver right now is Kurt Busch, who has 623 points -- 110 less than Bowyer.

So Bowyer would need a high finish (likely a win), and then have most drivers in the 11th-place range struggle terribly.

Carl Edwards. Like Bowyer, Edwards can clinch an automatic berth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup by leaving Michigan with a 145-point edge over the 11th-place driver.

He’ll have an even more difficult time clinching than Bowyer, considering he’s currently 105 points ahead of Busch, 40 points away from the 145-point threshold.

Matt Kenseth. Kenseth is too far down the standings (seventh place) to clinch an automatic berth, but can almost certainly clinch at least a Wild Card berth with a win. A victory would be Kenseth’s fifth of the season -- his four wins is tied with Johnson for the most this year.

A win wouldn’t absolutely guarantee Kenseth a Wild Card spot, though. It depends on the points other drivers accrue because Kenseth, mathematically, could possibly still finish outside the top 20 in the points at the end of the season. The Wild Card only goes to drivers from 11th-20th place.

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