The chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup is fast approaching but the race for the wild card spot is very tight.
After Sunday’s cup race at Watkins Glen, six drivers are in contention for the final two spots in the 2012 chase. With four races to go until chase time, Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Marcos Ambrose, Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman, and Jeff Gordon will go at it for the final spots in the chase.
The current wild card drivers heading into the final races are Kahne and Newman. After Watkins Glen both drivers hold possession of the final two spots. Kahne who is 11th in the points and in the first wild card, captured his two wins at Charlotte and New Hampshire to secure himself into the chase. Newman, 13th in points and in the final wild card spot, won at Richmond but has competition from the rest of the chase hopefuls for the final spot.
Sitting in 14th in the points and six points behind Newman is Kyle Busch. Busch led most of the laps at Watkins Glen and had the lead in the final lap at the Glen. The road course at the Glen would have secured Busch a spot but captured a top ten finish. Busch’s only victory came earlier in the season at Richmond.
Gordon who’s season turned around with a rain shortened win at Pocono sits in 15th in the standings. Pocono allowed the driver to add his name into the mix. Prior to the race at the Glen Gordon was in the final spot.
The wild finish at the Gel allowed Ambrose to add his name into the chase contenders. After winning in an oil spilled final lap, Ambrose captured his first win of the season and added more competition for the chase hopefuls into the final races. Ambrose’s win on Sunday was also his second consecutive win at the road course in upstate New York.
Logano, the youngest of the chase hopefuls added himself into the chase picture with a win at Pocono Raceway back in June. Logano just like Ambrose, captured his second career win in 2012. Logano had one of the final spots after a top five finish at Daytona in July. Logano has been going back and forth in the standings along with Newman and Kahne for a spot in the chase.
Watkins Glen made the list of chase hopefuls increase to six drivers with wins. In between the drivers and sitting 12th in the points standings is Carl Edwards. If Edwards happens to win in the final races he can add himself to the mix and possible land a wild card spot since he is 12th in the points.
Heading into Michigan, five drivers have been to victory lane at the Michigan International Speedway, including Edwards. Kahne and Busch have each one a race at MIS. Kahne won back in 2006 and Busch is the defending winner of last summer’s race. Gordon is a two time winner at MIS along with Newman. Edwards visited victory lane at MIS as well back in 2008. Both Logano and Ambrose have yet to win at the track. Logano’s best finish was seventh and Ambrose had a top ten finish back in the June race.
With four races to go the race for the final two NASCAR wild card spots will be determined with the races at Michigan, Bristol, Atlanta, and Richmond. The 2012 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup is set to begin September 16th at Chicagoland Speedway.