Two races remain in the regular season – yet only three drivers know with absolute certainty that they’re competing for a championship over the final 10 races. Jimmie Johnson and Clint Bowyer have each clinched a top-10 spot in the 2013 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, and Matt Kenseth locked up at least a Wild Card spot with his fifth win of the season, at Bristol. He’ll likely clinch a top-10 berth either this weekend or next weekend at Richmond.
After Atlanta, count on many more joining Johnson, Bowyer and Kenseth. Three drivers control their own destiny, and four more could clinch at least a wild card. Below are the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup clinch scenarios for this weekend’s race at Atlanta.
The magic number for this weekend is 49 – any driver 49 points ahead of 11th will clinch a top 10 spot. (That number could drop to 48 depending on if the driver in question owns the tie breaker.)
Regardless of how any other driver finishes, the following will clinch at top-10 berth by accomplishing the below…
Carl Edwards: 38th-place finish or better (39th with lap led, 40th with most laps led)
Kevin Harvick: 31st-place finish or better (32nd with lap led, 33rd with most laps led)
Kyle Busch: 10th-place finish or better (11th with lap led, 12th with most laps led)
Matt Kenseth: 7th-place finish or better (8th with lap led, 9th with most laps led)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (33 points cushion over 11th), Kasey Kahne (20 points cushion), Greg Biffle (17 points cushion) and Joey Logano (4 point cushion) all conceivably could reach the 49-point magic number.)
Martin Truex Jr., Joey Logano and Greg Biffle – all of whom have one win this season – can clinch at least a Wild Card spot with a win and some help. Kasey Kahne, with two wins, would clinch with a third win if two out of the following three drivers clinch a T10 spot: Kyle Busch, Kenseth and Harvick. If all three clinch a top 10, Kahne clinches if anyone other than Biffle, Logano, Truex or Newman wins.