ROAD TO RICHMOND: CHASE FOR THE NASCAR NEXTEL CUP HEATING UP It All Leads Up to "One Last Race to Make The Chase" Richmond, VA (August 23, 2007)--Now that the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series has completed 23 of the 36 races on the schedule, there...
ROAD TO RICHMOND: CHASE FOR THE NASCAR NEXTEL CUP HEATING UP
It All Leads Up to "One Last Race to Make The Chase"
Richmond, VA (August 23, 2007)--Now that the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series has completed 23 of the 36 races on the schedule, there are only two events before the final race before the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup--the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday, September 8 "under the lights." After that race, only those in the top 12 driver points will be eligible for a shot at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, rendering the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 "One Last Race to Make The Chase."
Jeff Gordon has had a stronghold on the top spot for some time now. The four-time champion has five wins, 12 top-fives and 18 top-10 finishes. He holds a 276 point lead over Chesterfield, Virginia native Denny Hamlin. Just behind Hamlin is 2004 champion Matt Kenseth (354 points behind first). Former champion Tony Stewart (398 points back) and Carl Edwards (501 points back) round out the top five. Of those drivers, only Stewart and Edwards failed to make The Chase in 2006.
2006 Champion Jimmie Johnson holds the sixth spot, followed by South Boston, Virginia native Jeff Burton, Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer, and defending Chevy Rock & Roll 400 champion, Kevin Harvick, to finish out the top 10. Under last year's format, that would be the cutoff point. However, NASCAR revised the rules for The Chase in 2007, to make the top 12 drivers in points eligible for the championship, which means Martin Truex, Jr. and Kurt Busch would also be in The Chase if the season ended today.
So that leaves a few drivers on the outside looking in, including Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (13th), Ryan Newman (14th), Greg Biffle (15th), Casey Mears (16th), Jaime McMurray (17th), Bobby Labonte (18th), Juan Pablo Montoya (19th) and Mark Martin (20th).