Chase clinch scenarios for Richmond

Richmond will once again serve as the site of NASCAR's regular season final, this weekend.

After 25 races, just one remains before the 16-driver Chase field is set. 11 drivers have already been able to lock themselves into the postseason. Five remain up for grabs and there are 21 drivers who still have a mathematical shot at it.

Locked in

Kyle Busch/Joe Gibbs Racing - 4 wins

Jimmie Johnson/Hendrick Motorsports - 4 wins

Joey Logano/Team Penske - 3 wins

Matt Kenseth/Joe Gibbs Racing - 3 wins

Kevin Harvick/Stewart-Haas Racing - 2 wins

Carl Edwards/Joe Gibbs Racing - 2 wins

Kurt Busch/Stewart-Haas Racing - 2 wins

Dale Earnhardt Jr./Hendrick Motorsports - 2 wins

Denny Hamlin/Joe Gibbs Racing - 1 win

Martin Truex Jr./Furniture Row Racing - 1 win

Brad Keselowski/Team Penske - 1 win

All remaining drivers have yet to officially punch their ticket into the Chase for the Sprint Cup. For those on the inside looking not to fall out, four of them are in complete control of their own destiny. They can clinch, regardless of who wins.

Clinch scenarios

Jamie McMurray - Starts the race

Ryan Newman - Finishes 31st or higher, 32nd with a lap led, 33rd with leading the most laps

Jeff Gordon - Finishes 17th or higher, 18th with a lap led, 19th with leading the most laps

Paul Menard - Finishes ninth or higher, 10th with a lap led, 11th with leading the most laps

Clint Bowyer is the bubble driver and is in the most precarious position. The Michael Waltrip Racing pilot has a 29-point buffer over Aric Almirola and 31 over Kasey Kahne; the only two drivers on the outside who could push their way into the Chase on points alone. 

Slot 16 is a dangerous position

The 'win and you're in' dynamic is going to create a lot of excitement at Richmond and will also keep those on the edge of Chase contention very uncomfortable, especially whoever is on the bubble. 

If any driver from Almirola in 17th to Gilliland down in 32nd in points wins the race, one of those five drivers holding provisional Chase spots will be booted. Bowyer is just ten points behind Menard, 18 behind Gordon, and 32 behind Newman. McMurray is 44 points to the good.

There are 48 points up for grabs in any given NASCAR Sprint Cup race.

Must win Richmond

There are 14 drivers who go to Richmond with only one option - They have to win the race. Their desperation to attain said win could lead to a risky call or a Hail Mary move you wouldn't see in any standard race.

Some of these drivers are riding incredibly long winless streaks and others have never won, period. Tony Stewart isn't just a former winner at Richmond, but a three-time Cup champion.

Greg Biffle

Kyle Larson

Austin Dillon

AJ Almendinger

Casey Mears

Danica Patrick

Tony Stewart

David Ragan

Sam Hornish Jr.

Trevor Bayne

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Justin Allgaier

Cole Whitt*

David Gilliland*

*Dependent on if they can crack Top 30 in points

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Event Richmond II
Track Richmond International Raceway
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Ryan Newman , Jamie McMurray , Paul Menard , Clint Bowyer
Article type Preview
Tags chase