The Boys On The Bubble - NASCAR Chase Scenarios For Richmond
Twelve drivers have clinched a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup with just one regular-season race remaining Saturday night at Richmond (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
The 12 clinchers: Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson,Matt Kenseth, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson and Tony Stewart.
Everyone who has a win this season is locked in -- except for Chris Buescher, who has yet to clinch a top-30 spot.
Here are the scenarios for Saturday night:
Control their own destiny
-- Chris Buescher: He would clinch a top-30 spot by earning 34 points (finishing seventh with no laps led). He currently has an 11-point lead over 31st-place David Ragan, so he can't slip below that threshold.
-- Chase Elliott: Would clinch a Chase spot by finishing 24th, if there is no new winner. If there is a repeat winner and Chris Buescher falls out of the Top 30, he clinches on points, regardless of finish. With a win, Elliott would clinch a Chase spot.
-- Austin Dillon: Would clinch on points if there is a repeat winner (or if Chase Elliott wins, or if Chris Buescher falls out of the top 30), by finishing 15th. If there is a repeat winner and Chris Buescher falls out of the top 30, he would clinch on points regardless of finish. A win would also lock up a spot.
-- Jamie McMurray: Would clinch on points if there is a repeat winner (or win byChase Elliott or Austin Dillon, or a new winner and Chris Buescher falls out of the top 30) by finishing sixth. If there is a repeat winner and Chris Buescher falls out of the top 30, McMurray would clinch on points, regardless of finish. He cannot lose more than 21 points to Newman as Newman would hold the tie-breaker.
-- Ryan Newman: With a win, he would clinch a Chase spot. But a P3 penalty for failing post-race LIS cost him 15 driver points, and made his Chase chances even more difficult. If he needs to clinch on points, he needs help: he'd need to top McMurray by 22 or more points Saturday, or Dillon by 32 or more points or Elliott by 40 points.
-- Kasey Kahne: With a win, Kahne would clinch a Chase spot. He could clinch on points with a repeat winner by outpointing Newman by 37 points -- which basically means Kahne would need to finish second and Newman last.
The following drivers can only get a Chase spot if they win: Ryan Blaney, AJ Allmendinger, Trevor Bayne, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Paul Menard, Greg Biffle,Danica Patrick, Aric Almirola, Clint Bowyer, Casey Mears and Landon Cassill.
Win and help
If David Ragan or Regan Smith win on Saturday, they still would need to clinch a spot in the top 30.