Coming together: Chase field much clearer with one race to go
With only one race left in NASCAR's regular season, the 16-driver Chase field is starting to come toghether as the series leave Atlanta and heads to Richmond International Raceway next week.
Kasey Kahne's win Sunday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway earned him a spot in the 16-driver Chase field, but one more spot will be up for grabs next weekend at Richmond International Raceway.
By Tom Jensen
NASCAR's championship picture became a little bit clearer following Sunday night's Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, which was won by Kasey Kahne.
In that race, Kahne and Matt Kenseth became the 13th and 14th drivers, respectively, to clinch spots in NASCAR's season-ending, 10-race, Chase for the Sprint Cup.
After next Saturday night's race at Richmond International Raceway, 16 drivers will advance to the Chase, which will determine this year's series champion.
The Chase field will consist of all the drivers who have won in the 26-race NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular season. So far this year, 13 drivers have won races, with the remaining three Chase spots to be filled by the three drivers who are highest in points among those who have not won races. Or, if we have another new winner next week at Richmond, two drivers will make it in on points.
Race winners in 2014:
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano have three victories each.
Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards have won twice each.
Kurt and Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, AJ Allmendinger, Aric Almirola and Kasey Kahne are all one-time winners.
Following Sunday night's Atlanta race, Kenseth clinched a spot on points. The only other drivers who can race their way in on points alone are Ryan Newman, Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer and Kyle Larson. Newman unofficially has 747 points to Biffle's 728. They are in the final two transfer spots right now. Bowyer has 705 points to Larson's 704.
Next Saturday's night at Richmond will be the final race in the regular season and the last opportunity for a driver to race his way in to the Chase.