No driver has clinched a top-10 position with seven races remaining in the Race to the Chase. But it’s become obvious that it will take a Herculean effort to dislodge one of the fortunate 10. Tenth-place Brad Keselowski has a cushion of 46 points – virtually one whole race – over Carl Edwards. Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch are 66 and 68 points, respectively, outside the top 10.
Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Greg Biffle and Jimmie Johnson – ranked one through four – pretty much have separated themselves from the pack. Johnson leads fifth-place Denny Hamlin by 28 points. Contrast that with the 15 points separating Hamlin and 10th-place Brad Keselowski.
With that in mind, wins and the Chase bonus points that accompany them, mean everything going forward. Each regular season victory is worth three points when the Chase field is seeded. Hamlin, who dominated at New Hampshire before finishing second to Kahne, lost more than a trophy.
Keselowski and Stewart remain the top seeds were the Chase to be set today. Each has won three times and would start the post season with 2,009 points. Eight of the current top 10 drivers have won at least one race. Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. remain without a victory.
“Wild card” qualifiers receive no bonus points for their regular season wins.