So far, the new format for the Chase for the Sprint Cup has delivered some “interesting” action. That action is set to continue this weekend as after this weekend’s event at Talladega Superspeedway, there will be only be eight drivers left standing to fight for the championship. Four drivers will see their championship chances dashed for another year as they are left to think about what could’ve been.
Here is the standings as we head into the event…..
|1||Joey Logano||Locked in – Kansas|
|3||Kevin Harvick||Locked in – Charlotte|
|12||Dale Earnhardt Jr||3031||-26|
As noted above, Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick are automatically locked in for the next round via their respective victories at Kansas and Charlotte. Therefore, that leaves six other spots up for grabs this weekend.
NBC Sports released an article earlier this week stating the clinch scenarios for the other six drivers, which I have copied below.
Kyle Busch (+26 points over ninth place): 24th or better, 25th and at least one lap led, 26th and most laps led
Ryan Newman (+21 points): 19th or better, 20th and at least one lap led, 21st and most laps led
Carl Edwards (+20 points): 18th or better, 19th and at least one lap led, 20th and most laps led
Jeff Gordon (+18 points): 16th or better, 17th and at least one lap led, 18th and most laps led
Denny Hamlin (+17 points): 15th or better, 16th and at least one lap led, 17th and most laps led
Kasey Kahne (+1 point), Matt Kenseth (-1 point behind eighth place), Brad Keselowski (-19 points), Jimmie Johnson (-26 points) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (-26 points) only control their own destiny by winning Sunday at Talladega.
Simply, this is what we can take away from the above:
- Busch, Newman, Edwards, Gordon and Hamlin – simply aim for positions listed and they’re fine.
- Kahne, Kenseth, Keselowski, Johnson and Earnhardt Jr. – the only position to aim for is the victory to “clinch”.
Now because it says the bottom five need a victory clinch doesn’t mean that they can’t make it to the next round and not reach victory lane. There are still other options for the bottom five. For example – if Kahne finishes 43rd, Kenseth finishes 42nd, Keselowski finishes 26th – Earnhardt Jr only has to finish 17th or better, or 18th with leading a lap, or 19th with leading the most laps, and ahead of Johnson to advance. That is clearly possible this weekend given the potential for the big wreck and how it seems to always claim front running drivers. Though to control their own destiny, it’d be in their best interest to simply win the race and move forward to the next round.
Therefore, be sure to keep your eye on the action from front to rear as it will be interesting for every fan to keep track of throughout the event.