Examining Chase-Clinching Scenarios

Kurt Busch

Saturday night's race at Richmond marks the last chance for Kurt Busch and others to earn a spot in the Chase. (Photo: Getty Images)

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Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway will determine the final five spots for this year's Chase.

Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth have already clinched a top-10 spot in the Chase, and Kasey Kahne has clinched at least a Wild Card.

As for the others? Here are the Chase-clinching scenarios for those who still have a chance:

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.

The remaining mathematically eligible drivers need help to clinch a top-10 spot. Some, however, control their own Wild Card destiny (a win would guarantee at least a Wild Card spot).

Clinch scenarios for the remaining eligible drivers …

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.

Kasey Kahne: Kahne, currently 12th in points, has already clinched at least a Wild Card spot. Ten points outside the top 10, Kahne 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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