Clinch scenarios for Chase bubble drivers at Richmond
Clinching a spot in the Chase
At the conclusion of Saturday night’s Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway, we’ll know the complete 16-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup field. There are 13 drivers with victories this season, which means there are three spots that will be up for the taking at RIR. At least two winless drivers are guaranteed to make it in. Following are the clinch scenarios for drivers on the Chase bubble.
NASCAR via Getty ImagesRainier Ehrhardt
Buescher’s victory at Pocono Raceway will lock him into the Chase if he can stay in the top 30 in the standings. He can clinch a top-30 spot on his own with 34 points (7th and no laps led, 8th and led one lap, 9th and the most laps led). Buescher currently has an 11-point lead over 31st-place David Ragan.
Getty ImagesBrian Lawdermilk
Of course, a win would lock the rookie driver in the Chase, but he's also a safe bet to clinch on points. If there is a repeat winner and Chris Buescher falls out of the top 30, he’ll be in regardless of his finish. Elliott has the most points out of the three winless drivers currently in the 16-driver field with 659.
NASCAR via Getty ImagesRobert Laberge
Dillon has 651 points, eight behind Elliott and nine ahead of McMurray. He can clinch with 33 points (8th and no laps led, 9th and led at least one lap, 10th and led most laps) and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner (or win by Elliott or a new winner and Buescher falls out of the top 30) and Dillon would clinch with 26 points (15th and no laps led, 16th and led at least one lap, 17th and led most laps). If there is a repeat winner and Buescher falls out, he’ll clinch regardless of his finish.
Getty ImagesDylan Buell
McMurray is the last winless driver currently in the 16-driver Chase field with 642 points. He could clinch on points with a repeat winner (or win by Elliott, Dillon or a new winner and Buescher falls out of the Top 30) and 35 points (6th and no laps led, 7th and led at least one lap, 8th and led most laps). If there is a repeat winner and Buescher falls out of the top 30, McMurray would clinch on points, regardless of finish. He could also clinch on points with a new winner and some help (cannot lose more than six points to Newman, as Newman would hold the tie-breaker).
NASCAR via Getty ImagesJeff Curry
Newman is now 22 points behind McMurray after being docked 15 points for failing post-race laser inspection after the Darlington race. A win on at Richmond would be the "easiest" way for Newman to make the Chase. At the very least, he needs to finish in the top five and some bad luck for Elliott, Dillon, McMurray and Buescher on Saturday night.
Getty ImagesRey Del Rio
With 598 points, the easiest way Kahne could make the Chase rolling into Victory Lane at Richmond. But, he could clinch on points with a repeat winner (or win by Elliott, Dillon or McMurray) and Buescher falling outside of the top 30 and help (would need to outpoint Newman by 37 (if he finishes in 3rd or higher) or by 38 points).
Getty ImagesJerry Markland
Drivers who need to win
The following bubble drivers are unable to make it in the Chase on points alone, so winning at Richmond on Saturday night is a must: Ryan Blaney, AJ Allmendinger, Trevor Bayne, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Paul Menard, Greg Biffle, Danica Patrick, Aric Almirola, Clint Bowyer, Casey Mears and Landon Cassill.