Saturday, September 8, 2012

2012 Sprint Cup: Race 26: Richmond - the Deciding Race for the Chase

The field for the 2012 Sprint Cup Chase for the Championship will be decided tonight after the Federated Auto Parts 400 from Richmond, Virginia. The battle shapes up as follows. The top nine drivers are locked into a regular slot. Tony Stewart has at least secured a Wild Card and must finish ahead of Kasey Kahne in points awarded to stay in the top 10 field. Kasey Kahne has clinched a Wild Card.

The focus then turns to the drivers with one win, any of whom would secure a Wild Card with a win. Otherwise, it will be based on points which would appear to pit Jeff Gordon versus Kyle Busch barring an extreme catastrophe on the race course. Provided none of the one win drivers wins the race, Jeff Gordon needs to make up 12 point deficit to overtake Busch for the 2nd slot.

Ryan Newman, Marcos Ambrose, and Joey Logano cannot overtake Busch in points they must win.

Finally, Carl Edwards and Paul Menard are winless but could get in with a win and making up ground in points. Given Carl Edwards shows a 31 point deficit and Menard almost a full race, 41 points, consider it very unlikely.

Looking at the starting field, the advantage goes to Jeff Gordon who starts on the outside pole next to teammate, Dale Earnhardt Jr.  Kyle Busch starts 15th. The remaining one win drivers find Joey Logano, the driver needing the biggest break, in 8th; Ryan Newman starts 14th, and Marcos Ambrose starts 22nd.  For the long shots, Carl Edwards starts 16th and Paul Menard checks in at 25th.

The Chase Field pending tonight’s results.
Denny Hamlin – 4 wins
Jimmie Johnson – 3 wins
Brad Keselowski – 3 wins
Tony Stewart – 3 wins (must stay in top 10 in points)
Greg Biffle – 2 wins
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. – 1 win
Matt Kenseth – 1 win
Clint Bowyer – 1 win
Martin Truex Jr. – 0 wins
Kevin Harvick – 0 wins

Kasey Kahne – 2 wins
Kyle Busch – 1 win

Tony Stewart is in the hot seat for losing his bonus points starting 28h and having fared miserably, 41st in final practice. Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch, and Jeff Gordon are capable of moving him out with a higher points finish at the end of the race. 


1 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet Diet Mountain Dew / National Guard
2 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet Drive to End Hunger
3 78 Regan Smith Chevrolet Furniture Row / Farm American
4 15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 5-hour Energy
5 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe's
6 55 Mark Martin Toyota Aaron's Dream Machine
7 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Express
8 20 Joey Logano Toyota The Home Depot
9 56 Martin Truex Jr. Toyota NAPA Auto Parts
10 2 Brad Keselowski Dodge Miller Lite
11 22 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge Shell / Pennzoil
12 83 Landon Cassill Toyota Burger King
13 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Budweiser
14 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet Quicken Loans
15 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M's
16 99 Carl Edwards Ford Kellogg's
17 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Best Buy
18 43 Aric Almirola Ford Smithfield
19 98 Michael McDowell Ford Phil Parsons Racing
20 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar
21 5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet Quaker State
22 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford Mac Tools
23 16 Greg Biffle Ford 3M / Owens & Minor
24 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target
25 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet Menards / Moen
26 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops / Allstate
27 34 David Ragan Ford Taco Bell
28 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Office Depot / Mobil 1
29 47 Bobby Labonte Toyota Bush's Baked Beans
30 51 Kurt Busch Chevrolet Phoenix Construction
31 30 David Stremme Toyota Inception Motorsports
32 93 Travis Kvapil Toyota Burger King / Dr Pepper
33 36 Dave Blaney Chevrolet Tommy Baldwin Racing
34 87 Joe Nemechek Toyota AM / FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves
35 38 David Gilliland Ford Mossy Oak / Pursuit Channel
36 33 Stephen Leicht* Chevrolet Special Ops OPSEC
37 10 David Reutimann Chevrolet Inc. 5000 / @TMone 6-peat
38 23 Scott Riggs Chevrolet North Texas Pipe
39 32 Ken Schrader Ford Federated Auto Parts
40 19 Mike Bliss Toyota Plinker Tactical
41 26 Josh Wise* Ford MDS Transport
42 13 Casey Mears Ford GEICO
43 91 Reed Sorenson Chevrolet Plinker Tactical
37 J.J. Yeley Chevrolet Max Q Workforce
0 Mark Green Toyota Blue Ox

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