NASCAR

Time Is Running Out For NASCAR Chase Hopefuls

The NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup is a few days away from its start, but for drivers time is running out.

With two races left in the regular season, Atlanta and Richmond are the only two places left in order to qualify into NASCAR’s version of the playoffs. For six drivers, two are currently on the bubble while four others are in the outside looking in. With two opportunities left in order to qualify for the chase, the next two races will be win and in for the chase hopefuls.

After a run at the new/old Bristol Motor Speedway, Kasey Kahne managed to keep his spot in the point standings, sitting in 11th and is currently the proud owner of the first chase wild card. Kahne is the only wild card hopefully that has two wins under his belt. 16 points currently separate Kahne from the top ten, and with Atlanta fast approaching, Kahne could move into the top ten if he manages to place higher than Tony Stewart heading into the final two races.

Although he wasn’t the biggest fan of the latest changes at Bristol, Kyle Busch made it back into the second and final wild card slot. With a sixth place finish and a wreck from Newman, Busch made his way back into contention. Busch has won at Atlanta before and a win can clinch a wild card berth. Busch’s only win came earlier in the season at Richmond, and that same track will determine at the race’s end if he is one of the 12 racing for the cup.

Meanwhile Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman, Marcos Ambrose and Joey Logano are in the outside looking in. Each have one a race this season but a win for either driver can help them secure the final wild card until the last of the first 26 races is completed. Gordon happens to be the driver right behind Busch for the final spot, 16 points out of the final wild card. Logano has the biggest gap between him and Busch, sitting 69 points out of the wild card.

Newman’s wreck at Bristol set him back 19 points behind Busch. Ambrose currently sits 28 points back.

Carl Edwards happens to be the sitting duck within all of the latest action. Edwards is 12th within the point standing and a win at Atlanta or Richmond can set him into the final wild card. Since 2004 Edwards has three wins at Atlanta, two in 2005 and in 2008.

Since securing their spots after the race in Bristol, Greg Biffle, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Matt Kenseth with at least a wild car berth, are ready for the chase to begin. Other drivers such as Martin Truex Jr., Clint Bowyer, Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick and Stewart can lock themselves into the top ten for the chase at Atlanta. Some of the drivers would need some assistance along with their finishes to lock them selves in. All will be said and done once the race at Richmond is over.

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