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NASCAR

NASCAR Drivers Can Clinch Chase Spot At Michigan

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series field will be looking for ways to qualify into the chase, meanwhile four drivers can clinch a berth at Michigan.

Heading into Michigan International Speedway Jimmie Johnson, Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth and Dale Earnhardt Jr. hope to leave with a spot in the 2012 chase secured. All four drivers can secure a spot in the top ten drivers in the chase if they leave with a 145 point lead over 11th place driver in the standings.

Johnson, the current Sprint Cup points leader will be able to secure himself into the chase either in the top ten or in a wild card position. If Johnson can capture a win at Michigan on Sunday, he locks himself into the chase at least with a wild card berth. Currently he is 124 points above 11th place. Heading into Michigan, Johnson can lock himself into the chase at a track where he has never won.

Currently sitting second in the points is Biffle, who looks to lock himself into the chase after missing out in 2011. With a win at Texas back in April and with a 123-point cushion ahead of 11th place, Biffle can secure himself a spot into the chase with a good finish on Sunday. Biffle will need to finish within the top 20 to secure a top spot just by making the gap from 11th place reach 145 points.

Just like his teammate, Kenseth can also secure himself into the Chase as Roush Fenway’s second driver in the race for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Heading into Michigan Kenseth can get into the top 10 for the chase if he leaves Sunday with a 145 points ahead of 11th place and a win at Daytona. Kenseth is on point behind his teammate Biffle in the point standings, in third place and with 122 points ahead of 11th.

Michigan couldn’t have come at a better time for Earnhardt, after ending his winless streak at the track in June. Earnhardt can secure himself a spot into the chase if he manages to leave Michigan with the same amount of points between himself and 11th just like Biffle, Kenseth, and Johnson. Currently in fourth place, Earnhardt is 107 points ahead of 11th.

With three wins in the 2012 season Brad Keselowski could secure himself at least a wild card berth into the chase with a win on Sunday. Keselowski would also need assistance on clinching a wild card berth depending where other drivers finish on Sunday.

If Kenseth, Earnhardt, Johnson, Biffle, and Keselowski manage to secure their spot into the chase, each driver can set themselves up in good condition for the points reset. Once the points reset each driver will receive three bonus points per win. With wins in Darlington, Dover, and Indianapolis, Johnson sets himself up well for the chase with nine bonus points. If keselowski clinches a chase berth just like Johnson, he can count on the nine bonus points for his wins at Bristol, Talladega, and Kentucky. Kenseth, Earnhardt, and Biffle would each receive three bonus points for their wins.

Follow Christy Valdez on Twitter @Knowursports and on Facebook at On The Sidelines With Christy