Driver Chase Clinch Scenarios: Eight Spots Remain
August 28, 2012
Three competitors have clinched seeded spots in this year’s Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup™ and another – 2003 champion Matt Kenseth – moves to the post season with at least a “wild card” entry. Current points leader Greg Biffle, five-time champion Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. locked up Chase berths at Bristol Motor Speedway over the weekend.
For Biffle, it’s redemption after failing to qualify a year ago. Johnson continues to be the only driver to qualify in each of the nine seasons since the Chase format was adopted in 2004. Earnhardt is in for the second straight year and fifth time overall. Kenseth, a Chase qualifier for the eighth time, and other members of the current top 10 can lock up top-10 positions by holding leads of at least 49 points over 11th place following Sunday’s AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway (depending on which driver is in 11th and who wins Sunday’s race, some drivers can leave with a 48-point lead and still clinch a top-10 spot).
Up next: Atlanta Motor Speedway. Mathematically, every top-10 Chase spot could be clinched. There’s also a possibility that 11 of the 12 Chase spots could be clinched.
Four drivers control their own destiny as far as a top-10 clinches go: Matt Kenseth, Martin Truex Jr., Clint Bowyer and Brad Keselowski. Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart could also lock up top-10 spots, but would need help.
Below are the specifics for those who control their own destiny. Regardless of what any other driver does in Sunday night’s race at Atlanta, the following drivers will clinch a top-10 spot with listed finishes:
40th and no laps led
41st and at least one lap led
42nd and most laps led
Martin Truex Jr.:
14th and no laps led
15th and at least one lap led
16th and most laps led
11th and no laps led
12th and at least one lap led
13th and most laps led
7th and no laps led
8th and at least one lap led
9th and most laps led
A win would lock up at least a Wild Card spot for Hamlin, Harvick and Stewart. Depending on the final results from Sunday, Bowyer, Keselowski, Hamlin, Stewart, Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch could clinch a Wild Card spot.