With the race at Richmond as the final opportunity for drivers to qualify for the chase, Carl Edwards used the opportunity to gain some ground heading into the championship hunt.
On a night where a win helped his way towards the chase, Edwards captured his second win of the 2013 season after taking the lead on the final restart of the night. A late-race caution helped Edwards retake the lead after he had lost it to Ryan Newman with 10 laps to go.
The win helps Edwards with three extra bonus points heading into Chicagoland for the start of the chase along with the points for his win at Phoenix earlier in the year. Edwards also finished off the regular season with the points lead. Kurt Busch finished in second followed by Newman, Jamie McMurray and Paul Menard to close out the top five.
Heading into Richmond, it was going to be a night where about eight drivers were racing for the five final spots for the chase. The night turned into celebration for some at the end and heartbreak for others.
For Newman, he was just laps away from possibly capturing his second win of the year and securing himself in the chase with one of the two wild card spots. That final caution caused the entire chase picture to change, not only taking Newman out of the picture, but also Jeff Gordon, who had been racing on a mission.
Brad Keselowski may be the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, but he won’t get the chance to defend his title within the next 10 races. He looked to be in great position to possibly win and work his way into the chase, but his chances began to fade away within the last portion of the race.
The race at Richmond had many chase scenarios going in but by the end of the race, there was a bit of controversy as well.
At first, there was a bit of confusion upon the final restart where Edwards was scored as second on the score board but crossed the finish line first. After the race, the conspiracy theories began for Clint Bowyer’s spin that brought out the final caution of the night and whether it was done in an attempt to help his teammate Martin Truex Jr.
Whether the conspiracy theories are true or not, it won’t change much heading into the chase as the field is set.
Now, a new champion will be crowned. With the points getting reset, Matt Kenseth will become the new points leader followed by Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Edwards, Joey Logano, Greg Biffle, Bowyer, Dale Earnahrdt Jr., Kurt Busch, Kasey Kahne and Truex.