One Last Race to Win The Chase: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Will Be Crowned Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway

Denny Hamlin Leads Jimmie Johnson by 15 Points & Kevin Harvick by 46 Points

Will it be Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson or Kevin Harvick taking the championship this weekend?

When hometown favorite Denny Hamlin took the checkered flag at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday, September 11, marking the conclusion of the Air Guard 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series “One Last Race to Make The Chase,” the 12-driver field was set for the 10-race playoff to determine the series champion. Who knew that would mark the beginning of the closest Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup in its seven-year history?

With only one race remaining on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule, all eyes turn to Homestead-Miami Speedway for Sunday’s race, scheduled for 1:00 p.m. The point standings are extremely tight. Chesterfield, Virginia’s Denny Hamlin holds the lead by 15 points over four-time defending champion Jimmie Johnson and 46 points ahead of Kevin Harvick—the only other driver mathematically eligible to win the title.

The series hasn’t seen a points battle this close since the inception of the Chase format. In the Chase’s inaugural season in 2004, Kurt Busch led Johnson by 18 points and Jeff Gordon by 21 heading into the final race. Busch held on to win the title by eight points over Johnson and 16 over Gordon in the closest margin in Chase history.

As Hamlin stated following his disappointing 12th-place finish at Phoenix International Raceway, past performances and driver averages at a particular track are only good on paper. But, here is a look at how the drivers have fared at Homestead-Miami Speedway:

Hamlin             In five starts, he has one win (last season), three top-fives and an average finish of 10.6.

Johnson          In nine starts, he has three top-fives and six top-10s, with a 12.7 average finish.

Harvick            In nine starts, he has the best average finish (8.4), along with four top-fives and seven top-10s.

You can bet the Richmond, Virginia area will be loud and proud this Sunday, cheering on their hometown favorite, Denny Hamlin. A strong run is needed to take down the four-time defending champion and hold off the veteran Kevin Harvick, as the trio will battle it out for one last race to win the Chase.

Be sure to tune in this Sunday at 1:00 p.m. for the Ford 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race to see who will be crowned the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion. The race will air on ESPN at 1:00 p.m. ET.

About Richmond International Raceway:

Richmond International Raceway, known as America’s Premier Short Track, offers exciting night racing action and a commitment to the fan experience. One of the most popular facilities among drivers and fans in all of motorsports, Richmond International Raceway annually hosts all of its major events—two NASCAR Doubleheader weekends, featuring the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series—under the lights on its ¾-mile D-Shaped oval. The unique layout consistently produces the thrill of side-by-side racing, coupled with high enough speeds for a superspeedway feel. Combined with first-class amenities (including the new-for-2010 Video Scoring Tower) and a focus on the fans, guests at Richmond International Raceway can expect to experience what “Racing Perfection” truly is. For tickets to events at Richmond International Raceway, call 866-455-RACE or visit www.rir.com online. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RIRInsider .

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