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Chase Bubble: Points update before regular-season finale

Ryan Newman

RELATED: Provisional Chase Grid

 

Here's a breakdown of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Grid and bubble picture after Sunday's Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.

 

NO NEW WINNER, NO CHANGES

Martin Truex Jr. already had clinched a Chase spot, so his win at Darlington didn't cause any changes in the Chase Grid. There was a moment of uncertainty when Ryan Newman led for Laps 330-338 of the 367-lap race, however. But Newman slipped back, and he remains the first driver outside the Chase Grid. Newman also faces a potential penalty for failing post-race Laser Inspection System at Darlington. Jamie McMurray currently clings to the final Chase berth with one regular-season event at Richmond remaining.

 

BUESCHER'S STANDING

Chris Buescher's 17th-place finish helped boost his Chase chances. Buescher prevailed at Pocono Raceway in August to check off one requirement for Chase eligibility; the second is a place among the top 30 in the Sprint Cup driver standings. Buescher remains 30th in the standings, increasing his lead over 31st-place David Ragan to 11 points.


LOCKED IN

Drivers who have clinched a spot in the Chase are: Brad Keselowski, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin HarvickDenny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. (all with multiple wins), along with one-win drivers Kurt Busch, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano and Tony Stewart. Chris Buescher is currently in the Chase Grid, but has not clinched a spot. After Sunday's 500-miler, just one regular-season race (Richmond) remains before the 16-driver postseason field is settled.

 

BUBBLE WATCH

With 25 of 26 regular-season races complete, just three at-large spots (at present) for non-winners remain available. Here's how that picture looks post-Darlington.

 

Editor's note: The standings below are the Chase Grid standings, not the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers' standings.

CHASE BUBBLE WATCH
STANDING DRIVER POINTS DIFFERENTIAL FROM CUTOFF
14 Chase Elliott +24
15 Austin Dillon +16
16 Jamie McMurray +7
-------------------------- CUT-OFF LINE --------------------------
17 Ryan Newman -22
18 Kasey Kahne -44
19 Ryan Blaney -69
20 AJ Allmendinger -80
21 Trevor Bayne -83
22 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. -91
23 Paul Menard -163
24 Greg Biffle -165
25 Danica Patrick -175
26 Dale Earnhardt Jr. -181
27 Aric Almirola -211
28 Clint Bowyer -215
29 Casey Mears -232
30 Landon Cassill -274

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