14 drivers vying for final 4 berths in Chase field

RICHMOND, VA. (AP) - Nine drivers have already clinched spots in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. NASCAR’s new wild-card provision has left a variety of possibilities for the final four positions headed into Saturday night’s race at Richmond International Raceway.

The 12-driver field will be set after Richmond, and under the new format, the final two spots will go to the drivers not already eligible who have the most “regular season” victories.

Spots got to five-time defending Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman and Brad Keselowski, who has clinched at least one of the wild-card berths. That leaves 14 drivers mathematically eligible for the final four positions.

The scenarios on making the Chase are complicated because many involve the finishing positions of other drivers. But here’s a quick glance at how it could shape up:

_ Dale Earnhardt Jr.: He’s ninth in points, and can clinch a Chase spot with a finish of 20th or better.

_ Tony Stewart: At 10th in points, he makes the Chase with a finish of 18th or better.

_ Denny Hamlin: He’s 12th in points and currently holding the second wild-card spot. A win at home track Richmond would lock up a berth, but he’d also get in if an eligible driver ranked below in points fails to win, or if Keselowski moves into the top 10 in points and Hamlin is still the highest-rated driver outside the top-10 with a victory.

_ AJ Allmendinger: He’s 13th in points and needs one of two things to happen if he wins the race. With a victory, Allmendinger would still need either Keselowski to knock Stewart or Earnhardt out of the top 10, or he’d need to pass Hamlin in the standings.

_ Clint Bowyer: He’s 14th in points, needs to win the race and have either Keselowski move into the top 10 or he needs to pass Hamlin in points.

_ Greg Biffle: He’s 15th in points, needs to win the race and have either Keselowski move into the top 10 or he needs to pass Hamlin in points.

_ Martin Truex Jr.: He’s 16th in points, needs to win the race and have either Keselowski move into the top 10 or he needs to pass Hamlin in points.

_ Kasey Kahne: He’s 17th in points, needs to win the race and have either Keselowski move into the top 10 or he needs to pass Hamlin in points.

_ Joey Logano: He’s 18th in points, needs to win the race and have either Keselowski move into the top 10 or have Hamlin fail to start the race.

_ Mark Martin: He’s 19th in points and can only make Chase if he wins and Keselowski moves into the top 10.

_ Paul Menard: He’s 20th in points and clinches a spot in the Chase if he wins the race, or if he stays ranked 20th or higher in points and Keselowski moves into the top 10.

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