A numbers game will play out under the lights at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday night.
There will be winners. And losers. With way more hopes popped than champagne bottles. But for the few who do earn a spot in this thrilling new playoff – the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup – they know this: After a grueling 26-race regular season … they have earned it.
That numbers game? To start with…
14: That’s the number of drivers who are locked into the Chase (and, come Friday at 5:45 p.m. when they qualify, it will be official). Kasey Kahne and Matt Kenseth added their names to the clinched list at Atlanta.
Two: The number of Chase spots remaining.
19: The number of drivers not locked in who remain in mathematical contention for those two spots. Two of those – Ryan Newman and Greg Biffle – control their own destiny in some shape or form. Two others – Clint Bowyer and Kyle Larson – can earn a spot without a win, though it’ll be tough. Fifteen others can only earn a Chase spot with a victory (13 of those are win-and-in propositions).
Let’s take a look at some of the drivers vying for the final spot…