Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards officially clinched berths in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs based on their finishes in Sunday's race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Busch, the defending series champion, led a race-high 133 laps and finished eighth in Sunday's New Hampshire 301. Edwards faded to a 20th-place finish after involvement in a crash that forced the last of the race's seven yellow flags.
Each qualify for championship eligibility in the 10-race postseason based on their status as multiple winners in the regular season and because of their points stature in the Sprint Cup driver standings, mathematically unable to fall outside of the top 30 requirement.
"With NASCAR, it's our playoff. That's what it's all about," said Coach Joe Gibbs, whose organization fields four full-time Toyota teams including the No. 18 for Busch and No. 19 for Edwards. "It's a thrill for us to be in there. I think the key is, as you continue to work during the year, try and keep your performance up and try and point towards the playoffs. When you get to the playoffs, you never know what's going to happen because it's a little three‑race playoff. That's what it is. You take your best shot, but what you want to do is hopefully continue to improve as the year goes along, and that's kind of our goal."
Heading into Sunday's 301-lapper, Brad Keselowski was the only certified Chase-eligible driver, based on his points position and status as a winner of multiple regular-season races. Keselowski leads the series this year with four victories.
Seven regular-season races remain before the 16-driver championship field is set. Eleven drivers have scored regular-season wins to virtually secure Chase berths, leaving five spots open for competitors to race their way into the playoffs with victories or points.
The Sprint Cup Series' next race -- the Crown Royal Presents The Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard -- is scheduled Sunday, July 24 (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN, IMS, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.