With the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heading to Richmond this weekend for the final race of its “regular season,” it is crunch time for drivers still hoping to make the 10-race Chase for the Championship.
Some of the biggest names in NASCAR are on the verge of missing the run for the title including four-time champion Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch.
The top 10 drivers in the points standings are locked into the Chase with two wild-card spots eligible for the run.
The reality of the situation heading to Richmond is that Gordon and Edwards have to win to even have a remote chance at making the Chase.
Right now the two drivers in the wild-card positions are Kasey Kahne and Busch. Kahne is only 18 points out of the 10th spot, which is held by Tony Stewart.
Should Kahne overtake Stewart, then “Smoke” is assured of a spot in the Chase on the basis of his three wins this season. The problem for Stewart in that scenario is that wild-card teams in the Chase lose their bonus points from their wins.
Kahne is probably a lock for the Chase with his two wins. Drivers with one win include Gordon, Busch, Marcus Ambrose, Ryan Newman and Joey Logano.
If none of the drivers with one win score the victory at Richmond, then Gordon would need to accumulate in the race 13 points more than Busch and 28 points more than Ambrose in order to make the Chase.
To make things more interesting heading to Richmond, Denny Hamlin could be sitting on the top of the points standings going into the Chase based on his four wins. Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski both join Stewart with three wins.
In other racing news
• It was no surprise Tuesday to learn that Matt Kenseth, who announced earlier this year that he was leaving Roush/Fenway Racing, has signed to drive for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Home Depot-sponsored car.