Saturday, Sept. 6, is it — the last chance for drivers to get into the 16-driver/team NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup. Fourteen drivers have already claimed their spots, 13 by winning a race or two or three, and Matt Kenseth has locked himself in on points, regardless of whether or not he finally claims his first win of the season at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway on Saturday night.
At this point, I’m not looking for there to be any surprises. I expect Ryan Newman and Greg Biffle to claim the final two spots.
According to Chase scenarios figured by NASCAR earlier this week, Ryan Newman is the only driver not locked in who is completely in charge of his own destiny, as far as a Chase berth goes. And, really, to get in, he doesn’t have to do all that well. He’s pretty much in if he finishes in the top-20. If a previous winner or Kenseth pulls into victory lane Saturday night, about all Newman has to do is finish.
Of course, this whole getting into the Chase thing does come down to Richmond. Richmond is short-track racing, so anything can happen, but I’m thinking things look pretty good for Newman.
I see Biffle taking the final spot. If one of the previous winners, Kenseth or Newman win — and that puts us at just over a third of the field with that third of the field being most of the ceam of the crop, so-to-speak, Biffle is then in charge of his own destiny. And that’s a desity that would see Biffle get in even if he were to finish just outside the top-20.
Of course, there are scenarios to knock Biffle out. A winless driver like Clint Bowyer, or maybe even rookie Kyle Larson could win, claiming a spot and knocking Biffle out. And here’s a scenario that would be a crowd favorite — Tony Stewart could win in his second race back and claim a Chase spot, knocking Biffle out. Stewart is, after all, familiar with Richmond victory lane.
The way I see it, aside from the 14 already locked in (13 race winners plus Kenseth), throw Newman in as pretty much a lock. Like I just said, I’m thinking Biffle’s in, too, but that’s pretty much the only spot that’s really up for grabs.
Who do you think will grab the final spot? Talk to us on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook: NASCAR Examiner