Jimmie Johnson has stood alone for two weeks as the only driver to clinch a spot in the 2013 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Already guaranteed a top-10 spot – and the three bonus points per win that go with it – Johnson will enter the Chase with at least 2,012 points. After race No. 26 at Richmond, all 12 Chase drivers will have their points reset to 2,000, but only the top 10 will have three points added to their total for each victory over the first 26 races. Johnson currently has four victories (both Daytona events, Martinsville and Pocono).
In terms of Chase clinches, expect a few drivers to join Johnson this weekend at Bristol.
Three drivers can clinch a top-10 spot: Clint Bowyer, Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick. The magic number for a top-10 clinch is 97 points; leaving Bristol, anyone 97 points ahead of 11th will clinch a top-10 spot.
Bowyer is currently 113 points ahead of 11th. He is guaranteed to clinch a top-10 spot by finishing 12th or better, or 13th and at least one lap led, or 14th and most laps led. Edwards is currently 103 points ahead of 11th. He is guaranteed a top-10 clinch with a win or runner up; or third and at least one lap led, or fourth and most laps led. Harvick is currently 90 points ahead of 11th. He’ll clinch by improving upon his current cushion by seven points.
A number of drivers can clinch at least a Wild Card spot this weekend. Because they own multiple wins this season, after this weekend, a few drivers could fall out of the top 10 yet still be guaranteed a Wild Card spot after race No. 26. The Wild Card spots go to the two drivers outside the top 10 with the most wins, provided they are in the top 20.
Matt Kenseth, who has four wins but has yet to clinch a top-20 spot, can clinch at least a Wild Card this weekend (a win would guarantee it). The same goes for Kyle Busch (three wins) and Kasey Kahne (two wins).