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SPRINT CUP SERIES- Chase Snapshot:

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES

Chase Snapshot: Bubble Occupied By Heavyweights And Talented Youngsters

The competition for the final transfer spot to the Round of 8 is tight following Sunday’s race at Kansas. Four drivers are within seven points of each other for the final spot, including a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, two Daytona 500 champions and a talented up-and-coming wheelman.

Here’s how the Chase Grid shakes out heading into Sunday’s Hellmann’s 500 Chase cutoff at Talladega Superspeedway (2 p.m. ET on NBCSN): Jimmie Johnson (clinched transfer spot with win at Charlotte), Kevin Harvick (clinched transfer spot with win at Kansas), Matt Kenseth (29 points above Austin Dillon on the cutoff line), Kyle Busch (+27), Carl Edwards (+24), Kurt Busch (+17), Martin Truex Jr. (+13), Joey Logano (tied with Austin Dillon in points, but owns tiebreaker with higher Round of 12 finish; third at Kansas), Austin Dillon (see Logano), Denny Hamlin (-6), Brad Keselowski (-7), Chase Elliott (-25).

Only Johnson and Harvick are truly safe. Just ask Kyle Busch, who was third on the Chase Grid going into Talladega in 2014, a hefty 25 points above the cutoff line, but was eliminated after a wreck relegated him to a 40th-place finish.

Below are the Talladega clinch scenarios:

Note: Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick have already clinched a spot in the Round of 8. In the scenarios below, the term “new winner” refers to a win by Joey Logano, Austin Dillon, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski or Chase Elliott. A win by any other driver (Chase driver or field) is referred to as a ‘repeat winner’ in the scenarios below.

Matt Kenseth (0 Wins, 3074 Points) – Would clinch on points with 13 Points (28th and no laps led, 29th and led at least one lap, 30th and led most laps) and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner, would clinch on points with 11 Points (30th and no laps led, 31st and led at least one lap, 32nd and led most laps). With a win, would clinch a next round spot on wins.

Kyle Busch (0 Wins, 3072 Points) – Would clinch on points with 15 Points (26th and no laps led, 27th and led at least one lap, 28th and led most laps) and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner, would clinch on points with 14 Points (27th and no laps led, 28th and led at least one lap, 29th and led most laps). With a win, would clinch a next round spot on wins.

Carl Edwards (0 Wins, 3069 Points) – Would clinch on points with 18 Points (23rd and no laps led, 24th and led at least one lap, 25th and led most laps) and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner, would clinch on points with 16 Points (25th and no laps led, 26th and led at least one lap, 27th and led most laps). With a win, would clinch a next round spot on wins.

Kurt Busch (0 Wins, 3062 Points) – Would clinch on points with 25 Points (16th and no laps led, 17th and led at least one lap, 18th and led most laps) and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner, would clinch on points with 24 Points (17th and no laps led, 18th and led at least one lap, 19th and led most laps). With a win, would clinch a next round spot on wins.

Martin Truex Jr (0 Wins, 3058 Points) – Would clinch on points with 29 Points (12th and no laps led, 13th and led at least one lap, 14th and led most laps) and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner, would clinch on points with 28 Points (13th and no laps led, 14th and led at least one lap, 15th and led most laps). With a win, would clinch a next round spot on wins.

Joey Logano (0 Wins, 3045 Points) – If there is a repeat winner, would clinch on points with 41 Points (2nd and led most laps). With a win, would clinch a next round spot on wins. Could clinch on points with a new winner and help.

Austin Dillon (0 Wins, 3045 Points) – If there is a repeat winner, would clinch on points with 41 Points (2nd and led most laps). With a win, would clinch a next round spot on wins. Could clinch on points with a new winner and help.

Denny Hamlin (0 Wins, 3039 Points) – With a win, would clinch a next round spot on wins. Could clinch on points with help.

Brad Keselowski (0 Wins, 3038 Points) – With a win, would clinch a next round spot on wins. Could clinch on points with help.

Chase Elliott (0 Wins, 3020 Points) – With a win, would clinch a next round spot on wins. Could clinch on points with help.

Pursuit Of Happiness: Harvick Ties For Series Wins Lead On Quest For Second Title

He’s back.


Kevin Harvick made his way into the Round of 8 for the third time since the implementation of the “win-and-you’re-in” Chase format in 2014 via his victory at Kansas last Sunday.

Featured in the Round of 8 is Harvick’s top track – Phoenix International Raceway – where he has won five of the last six races and finished second in the one he didn’t win. A berth in the Championship 4 Race at Homestead-Miami Speedway looks to be in the No. 4 Chevrolet driver’s future.

Harvick’s  Kansas triumph also tied him with Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr. for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins lead with four. He is also tied with Keselowski for the top-five finishes lead with 15 and paces all drivers with 23 top-10 showings.

Furthermore, Harvick ranks first in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in driver rating (107.4) and fastest laps run (929).

‘Dega Delivery In The Cards For Denny Hamlin?

Right now, Denny Hamlin is seven points below Joey Logano on the cutoff line and needs a stellar performance in Sunday’s Hellmann’s 500 Chase cutoff race at Talladega Superspeedway to advance to the Round of 8.

Beyond his one win at Talladega in 2014, Hamlin has struggled there. Overall, he claims the 2014 win, four top-five and seven top-10 finishes in 21 starts at the 2.66-mile behemoth.

In Hamlin’s last seven starts at Talladega, he has finished worse than 30th four times. Although he’s struggled at Talladega recently, Hamlin has been stellar at NASCAR’s other restrictor-plate track – Daytona International Speedway – which could be a good omen. In his last six Daytona starts, Hamlin boasts one win and only one finish worse than sixth.

Keselowski No Stranger To Epic Wins At Talladega

Two of the biggest wins of Brad Keselowski’s career have occurred at Talladega. In 2009, he won his first career race – one of the biggest upsets in NASCAR history – with Phoenix Racing. In 2014, he capped off a week of drama by visiting Victory Lane in a “win-or-go-home” situation to advance to the Round of 8 in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The No. 2 Ford driver also won at ‘Dega in spring of 2012 and earlier this season.

Another clutch victory would go a long way to helping Brad Keselowski capture his second career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title. He’s currently 11th on the Chase Grid, seven points behind his Team Penske shopmate Joey Logano on the cutoff line.


In 15 career starts at Talladega, Keselowski claims four wins, six top fives and nine top 10s. His 13.9 average finish at ‘Dega ranks third-best among active drivers.

Keselowski has won two of the three races at restrictor-plate tracks this season – Talladega-1 and Daytona-2.

Logano Goes For Fall Dega’ Repeat

Clinging on to the final Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Round of 8 spot, Joey Logano sure would like to successfully defend his fall Talladega race win from last season.

The problem is – other than last year’s triumph – Logano hasn’t fared well at the Alabama superspeedway. He has an average finish of 19.9 at Talladega and his four other top-10 finishes there all came with Joe Gibbs Racing from 2009-10.

Dillon On Chase Bubble, But In Decent Position To Advance

Austin Dillon hopes he can at least repeat his Talladega performance from the spring when he recorded his career-best finish of third.

The 26-year-old No. 3 Chevrolet driver is the first driver outside the cutoff heading into Sunday’s Hellmann’s 500, but doesn’t trail eighth-place Joey Logano in points. Dillon is only behind Logano because Logano has a Round of 12 high finish of third (Kansas), which beats Dillon’s best of sixth (Kansas).

If there is a repeat winner, Dillon would clinch a Round of 8 berth on points with 41 Points (2nd and led most laps). With a win, he would clinch a next round spot on wins.

He could also clinch on points with a new winner and help, but would need to produce a high finish to make up ground on the drivers ahead of him. At Talladega, that’s not out of the question.

In 13 career starts at restrictor-plate tracks, Dillon claims two top fives, six top 10s, one pole and an average finish of 14.47.

Elliott In Need Of First Win

Positioned 25 points below the Chase cutoff line, Chase Elliott is going to need a ton of help to make the Round of 8 without a win in Sunday’s Hellmann’s 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

Elliott placed fifth at Talladega in his lone NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start there this spring. At NASCAR’s other restrictor-plate track – Daytona International Speedway – Elliott has finishes of 37th (February 2016) and 32nd (July 2016).

The Sunoco Rookie of the Year frontrunner will attempt to capture some of the magic his father, NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott, seemed to have at the 2.66-mile behemoth. Bill won twice at Talladega and holds the track record with eight poles. In 1985, Bill rallied from five miles down to win the Winston 500 at Talladega on the way to earning the Winston Million.

An Elliott win on Sunday would give Hendrick Motorsports its 13th win at Talladega, breaking its tie with Richard Childress Racing for the track record.

Talladega Field Is Filled With Chase Spoilers

The Talladega field is littered with drivers who have won there before and can spoil a Chase transfer spot with a victory on Sunday.

The non-chasers who have won at the 2.66-mile behemoth are Clint Bowyer (twice), Jamie McMurray (twice), Tony Stewart and David Ragan.

Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick, who have already secured berths in the Round of 8 have won twice and once, respectively, at Talladega.

Current non-Chase-eligible drivers who fared well at Talladega in spring include: Jamie McMurray (fourth), Tony Stewart (sixth), Clint Bowyer (seventh), Ryan Blaney (ninth) and Trevor Bayne (10th).

Joe Gibbs Racing Attempting To Become First Team To Place Multiple Drivers In Championship 4

Joe Gibbs Racing has continued its strong regular season performance in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Its four drivers have not won a race in the Chase, but three of them – Matt Kenseth (third, points above the cutoff line, Kyle Busch (+27) and Carl Edwards (+24) – are in good shape to make the Round of 8. Denny Hamlin is 10th on the Chase Grid, but only six points below the cutoff line for advancement. Additionally, Martin Truex Jr. of JGR technical partner Furniture Row Racing has two wins in the Chase and currently sits seventh on the Chase Grid – a comfortable 13 points above the cutoff line.

No team has ever placed multiple drivers in the Championship 4. JGR, Stewart-Haas Racing and Team Penske can all achieve the feat this season. SHR’s Kevin Harvick has already advanced to the Round of 8 with his win at Kansas, while Kurt Busch ranks sixth on the Chase Grid, 17 points above the cutoff line. Joey Logano of Team Penske currently holds the final transfer spot, while Brad Keselowski sits 11th on the Chase Grid, seven points below the cutoff line.

Bowman Rides To Another Career-High Finish

Alex “The Showman” Bowman overcame a stomach bug to produce a career-best seventh-place finish at Kansas in place of Dale Earnhardt Jr.

The 23-year-old Arizonan has showed off his speed the last two races, qualifying second at Charlotte and fifth at Kansas. An unfortunate wreck relegated him to a 39th-place finish in the Queen City.

Bowman takes the No. 88 Chevrolet, which has won three superspeedway races in the last three years, to Talladega on Sunday.

“Hendrick Motorsports brings such fast race cars to that racetrack, so I’m really excited,” Bowman said. “Their speedway stuff is amazing, always – especially the No. 88 – so I’m just really looking forward to having a chance to win. I’m going to sit Dale (Earnhardt Jr.) down and have a couple-hour discussion with him about speedway racing because if there’s a speedway racer left in this garage, it’s him, for sure.”

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Etc.

The drop of the green flag in the Hellmann’s 500 at Talladega Superspeedway will mark a milestone for Toyota as the manufacturer will post its 1000th NASCAR national series start. Toyota’s first start was with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Daytona International Speedway on February 13, 2004. The manufacturer then joined the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at the same track in February of 2007.

10/20/2016 - Posted by | ARCHIVES

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