"CHASE" DRIVERS LOOKING FOR ALL-IMPORTANT WIN IN THIS WEEKEND'S CHEVY ROCK & ROLL 400 AT RICHMOND INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY Richmond, VA (September 4, 2007)--Richmond International Raceway has long been known for its side-by-side, old-school, ...
"CHASE" DRIVERS LOOKING FOR ALL-IMPORTANT WIN IN THIS WEEKEND'S CHEVY ROCK & ROLL 400 AT RICHMOND INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY
Richmond, VA (September 4, 2007)--Richmond International Raceway has long been known for its side-by-side, old-school, short-track racing "under the lights." That racing action is bound to get even more intense at Saturday's Chevy Rock & Roll 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race. The entire field will be looking for the checkered flag, but the drivers in The Chase will probably be racing harder than ever to gain position in the 10-race playoff-style finale.
Although the field is nearly complete (eight of the 12 spots are already locked in), don't think the racing action will have a negative effect. This year's Chevy Rock & Roll 400 could provide some of the most hardcore action the track has seen in years. Under NASCAR's revised format, The Chase field is decided based on number of wins. All drivers who qualify begin with 5,000 points; each driver will then receive a 10-point bonus for each victory during the first 26 events.
Jimmie Johnson has the most wins (five), followed by teammate Jeff Gordon (four), Tony Stewart (three), Carl Edwards (two), Kurt Busch (two), Denny Hamlin (one), Matt Kenseth (one), Jeff Burton (one), Kyle Busch (one), Martin Truex Jr. (one), Kevin Harvick (one) and Clint Bowyer (zero).
With eight of the 12 seeds locked up for the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, the field is virtually set. The ninth- and 10th-place drivers (Bowyer and Truex Jr.) will join The Chase field just by starting the Chevy Rock & Roll 400. Once they take the green flag, they will join Gordon, Stewart, Hamlin, Edwards, Kenseth, Johnson and Kyle Busch as championship contenders.
That leaves two spots between Kurt Busch, Harvick and Earnhardt Jr. Busch needs only to finish 36th or better to clinch a spot in The Chase; 38th if he leads a lap and 39th if he leads the most laps. Harvick needs only to finish 32nd or better to clinch a spot; 33rd if he leads at least one lap and 35th if he leads the most laps. On the outside looking in is Earnhardt Jr., who is 128 points behind 12th. To even have a shot at making The Chase, he must finish fifth and lead the most laps; fourth if he leads any lap and third if he doesn't lead a lap. That would have to be coupled with a very poor finish by either Busch or Harvick.