What must be done to get into the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup

RACE13 4C PRTSaturday night’s Federated 400 is it, the last chance to claim a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, 10-race, NASCAR post-season. After the checkered flag flies at Richmond, the 12-man Chase field will be set and everyone else will be on the outside looking in. Seven drivers have already locked themselves into the Chase. Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth have already mathematically guaranteed that they’ll be in the top-10 of the points standings after the Richmond race. Meanwhile, Kasey Kahne has guaranteed himself of at least getting into the Chase with one of the two available wild card slots.

That leaves five Chase spots up for grabs. Mathematically, there are 10 drivers who could possibly get their hands on one of those five spots. Here are Chase-getting scenarios for those 11 drivers, as explained by NASCAR Media Group.

Four drivers are in control of their own destiny and have potential to claim Chase entries, regardless of the performance, or lack thereof, of others. Here’s what they have to do:

Dale Earnhardt Jr., currently seventh in points, will clinch a top-10 spot with a finish of 32nd or better, 33rd with at least one lap led or 34th with the most laps led.

Joey Logano, currently eighth in points, will clinch a top-10 spot with a finish of 11th or better, 12th and at least one lap led or 13th and the most laps led.

Greg Biffle, currently ninth in points, will clinch a top-10 spot with a finish of ninth or better, 10th and at least one lap led or 11th and the most laps led.

Kurt Busch, currently 10th in points, will clinch a top-10 spot by winning, finishing second with at least one lap led or finishing third with the most laps led.

Meanwhile, the other six drivers with Chase hopes still alive, as remote as their chances may be, have to rely on some bad luck/poor performance by other drivers.  Here’s what has to play out for them to get in:

Jeff Gordon: Currently 11th in points, Gordon would clinch at least a Wild Card spot with a victory at Richmond. Gordon, currently six points outside the top 10, remains eligible for a top 10 spot.

Martin Truex Jr.: Currently 13th in points, Truex would clinch at least a Wild Card spot with a victory at Richmond. Fifteen points outside the top 10, Truex remains eligible for a top 10 spot. Truex, currently holding the provisional No. 2 Wild Card spot, could clinch a Wild Card spot without a victory.

Ryan Newman: Currently 14th in points, Newman would clinch at least a Wild Card spot with a victory at Richmond. Twenty points outside the top 10, Newman remains eligible for a top 10 spot. Newman could clinch a Wild Card spot without a win (Logano and Biffle must remain in the top 10 or be replaced by Kahne; Newman must out-point Truex by six points; Gordon must not win; and Brad Keselowski or Jamie McMurray cannot win and overtake Newman).

Brad Keselowski: Currently 28 points outside the top 10, Keselowski remains eligible for a top-10 spot. Currently winless, Keselowski must win to be in contention for a Wild Card spot. Mathematically there will be at least two drivers outside the top 10 with wins. To clinch, Keselowski would need to win and outpoint Truex by 13 and Newman by eight (and would only need to outpoint one of these drivers if Kahne would displace a winless driver from the top 10). If Truex or Newman displaces Kurt Busch from the top 10, he would need to outpoint the other one-win driver remaining outside the top 10 by the requisite amount.

Jamie McMurray: Currently 39 points outside the top 10, McMurray remains eligible for a top-10 spot. Currently winless, McMurray must win to be in contention for a Wild Card spot. To clinch, McMurray would need to win and outpoint either Truex by 25 and Newman by 19 (and would only need to outpoint one of these drivers if Kahne would displace a winless driver from the top 10). If Truex or Newman displace Kurt Busch from the top 10, he would need to outpoint the other one-win driver remaining outside the top 10 by the requisite amount.

Paul Menard: To clinch, Menard would need to win and outpoint Truex by 47 and Newman by 42 (and would only need to outpoint one of these drivers if Kahne would displace a winless driver from the top 10). If Truex or Newman displace Kurt Busch from the top 10, he would need to outpoint the other one-win driver remaining outside the top 10 by the requisite amount.

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Topics: Chase For The Sprint Cup, NASCAR, Richmond International Raceway

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