It is the time NASCAR fans have been waiting for, the last race before the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup. Richmond International Raceway has been the location of many great stories of drivers and teams doing anything to make the Chase. This year the changes making winning more important have many people expecting the drama to be ramped up even more.
Here are the drivers to watch who still have a chance to make the Chase. The key is to watch for a new winner this season. A new winner this season can take away the prize and the chances for other drivers to make the Chase.
When watching the race much of the hopes and dreams of the drivers depends on if a driver who has not won yet this year wins the race. That driver would simply win and make the Chase. There are sixteen drivers in this position.
Of those sixteen, Matt Kenseth does not need to win, he is the highest in points without a win and would make the Chase regardless. There are two spots left to fill in the Chase. Even though Matt Kenseth hasn’t won a race if he does it does not change any of the scenarios for the other drivers trying to make the Chase.
Ryan Newman is nineteen points ahead of Greg Biffle in the standings. They are racing each other for the last remaining position available in points if there is a new winner. If either wins it doesn’t really matter as they would be in.
In the new winner scenario, Clint Bowyer, Kyle Larson and all the other drivers in the top 30 in points need to be that new winner in order to make the Chase.
When watching the race if one of the drivers who is already locked into the Chase because they won a race the outlook changes. One of those drivers plus Matt Kenseth wins the race then there would be not one but two spots available for drivers who are highest in points and have not won a race.
If this is the case then Ryan Newman just has to finish 41st or better and he makes the Chase. 42nd if he leads a lap and 43rd if he leads the most laps. In other words he is all but locked in if there is a repeat winner.
Greg Biffle is in a similar place as Newman he has to finish 22nd or better and he makes the Chase. 23rd if he leads a lap and 24th if he leads the most laps. Biffle is in a pretty good spot if there is a repeat winner.
Clint Bower and Kyle Larson are 23 and 24 points respectively behind Biffle. They have a chance but Biffle must falter for them to make it into the Chase if there is a repeat winner. They will have their own race within the race in order to be in position to pounce on a mistake by Biffle.
Since there would be no new winner in this scenario all the other drivers in the top 30 do not have a chance to make the Chase. See Chase Grid Below:
If you cannot get to Richmond International Raceway for the Federated Auto Parts 400 it will be broadcast live on ABC at 7:30 PM ET.
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