Unprecedented Fourteen Drivers Eligible to Race Their Way Into The Chase at Richmond International Raceway Saturday
Three Spots Remain Heading Into Wonderful Pistachios 400, Determining the 12-Driver Chase Field
All drivers through 23rd place have a shot at racing their way into The Chase Saturday night!
When NASCAR announced its new-for-2011 Chase “Wild Card” element earlier this year, this is probably the scenario they envisioned heading into Saturday night’s “One Last Race to Make The Chase”—the Wonderful Pistachios 400 at Richmond International Raceway . An unprecedented 14 drivers have a shot at three remaining spots in the 12-driver 2011 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, which should make for some unbelievable beating, banging, flaring tempers and fireworks at America’s Premier Short Track.
Following yesterday’s race in Atlanta, nine drivers are locked in, but an unbelievable 14 drivers still have a chance at racing their way into The Chase with just Saturday night’s Wonderful Pistachios 400 remaining before the field is set.
· Dale Earnhardt Jr.: A finish of 20th or better will lock him into The Chase. Even if Keselowski does knock Earnhardt out of the top 10, he could still earn a Chase berth if there is only one winner from spots 11th to 20th, a mathematical possibility.
· Tony Stewart: A finish of 18th or better will lock him into The Chase. Like Earnhardt, even if Keselowski does knock Stewart out of the top 10, Stewart could still earn a Chase berth if there is only one winner from spots 11th to 20th.
· Denny Hamlin: A win and he’s in. Hamlin doesn’t have to win, though. If he stays ahead of all one-win drivers, and there are no other two-win drivers inside the top 20, he’s in The Chase. Also, if Keselowski does vault into the top 10, Hamlin could still make The Chase if there is a two-win driver from 11th to 20th as long as he’s higher in points than any other one-win driver.
· AJ Allmendinger: Allmendinger is where the Wild Card drama starts to ratchet up. A win is the ONLY thing that matters for him, and a number of other drivers. He’ll need a win and movement up the points to nab the tie-breaker. He finished seventh at Richmond in April.
· Clint Bowyer: Of the winless drivers, Bowyer might be the best bet. Bowyer won here in 2008, and has an average finish of 9.5. He needs a win, and poor finishes by other drivers.
· Greg Biffle: One of six winless drivers who won in 2010, Biffle’s best Richmond finish was third in 2005. He needs a win, and poor finishes by other drivers.
· Martin Truex Jr.: Two of his last four finishes this season have been in the top five. His best Richmond finish is fifth in 2008. He needs a win, and poor finishes by other drivers.
· Kasey Kahne: Kahne, who needs a win and poor finishes by other drivers, won at Richmond in 2005, his first career victory.
· Joey Logano: Needs a win and poor finishes by other drivers; best Richmond finish: fourth in this race last season.
· Mark Martin: Needs a win and poor finishes by other drivers; won at Richmond in 1990.
· Paul Menard: Win, and he’s in. Pretty simple. His finishes at Richmond haven’t been so easy. His best: 16th in 2007.
· Marcos Ambrose: If he wins, and gets into the top 20, he’s in. Consider him a solid dark horse candidate. Two of his last three Richmond finishes were in the top 10.
· Juan Pablo Montoya: Needs a win and poor finishes by other drivers. Best finish was sixth in May of last year.
· David Ragan: If he wins, and gets into the top 20, he’s in. Ragan finished fourth in April and third in 2007.
Never before have we entered “One Last Race to Make The Chase” with more than seven eligible drivers to race their way into The Chase. With 14 drivers having a chance at NASCAR’s version of the playoffs, expect non-stop beating and banging around Richmond’s ¾-mile, with tempers flaring and drivers taking chances like you’ve never seen before.
If you already have your tickets for Saturday night’s Wonderful Pistachios 400, tell your friends they need to join you for what is anticipated to be one of the most intense races of the season. And if you don’t already have tickets, they start at $45 in advance and can be purchased online by clicking here or by calling 866-455-7223.
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