Last Lap spin might caught Larson Chase Spot
The current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chase Grid looks like this:
1. Brad Keselowski 4 wins
2. Kyle Busch 4 wins
3. Carl Edwards 2 wins
4. Denny Hamlin 2 wins
5. Matt Kenseth 2 wins
6. Jimmie Johnson 2 wins
7. Kevin Harvick 1 win
8. Kurt Busch 1 win
9. Joey Logano 1 win
10. Martin Truex Jr. 1 win
11. Tony Stewart 1 win
12. Chris Buescher* 1 win
Wildcard/In the chase on Points
13. Ryan Newman +42
14. Chase Elliott +41
15. Austin Dillon +39
16. Jamie McMurray +30
—Playoff Cut Off—
17. Kyle Larson -30
18. Trevor Bayne -38
19. Kasey Kahne -41
20. Ryan Blaney -48
*Chris Buescher sits 3 points behind the Chase cutoff of
Obviously, there are a lot of storylines to cover here, and this is the spot where we try to tackle them. For each of NASCAR’s remaining races, LWOS’ “Chase Outlook” will profile what the Playoff Grid looks like, and delve into the stories that sit inside.
Watkins Glen provided a thorough dicing up of the Chase Grid for the 2nd straight week, after the late array of wrecks drastically changed the results of the race.
Winner, with an asterisk
With ten laps to go, Chris Buescher was running in the top 25, and inside the 30th position Cutoff. However, a multi-car accident just two laps later collected the #34 car, and threw him three points outside of the cutoff.
The Wildcard Field
Only 12 points separate the current Wild Card Field, made up of Ryan Newman, Chase Elliott, Austin Dillon, and Jamie McMurray. However each of them sit 30 or more points above the cutoff. Now that by any means does not make them safe, however they all control their own destiny.
Ryan Newman is chugging along, quietly leading the points for non-winners. At each of the four tracks the Cup series will visit before the chase, Newman has at least one win.
Chase Elliott finally got back into the swing of things finishing 13th at The Glen. It was Elliott’s second top 20 in the past seven races. That came after the 24 finished in the top 10 in eight of nine races.
Austin Dillon earned his only top five of 2015 at Michigan, and has top 10’s there in each of his past two races. Although, Dillon does not perform well at Richmond, failing to finish above 20th in five attempts. He will be looking to head into the final race before the chase with a little bit of a cushion.
Jamie McMurray sits 30 points above the cutoff, and really is considered safe, stay with me, unless any of the drivers below end up in victory lane. McMurray’s best track of the next four is Richmond, but it would not hurt at all to get a win himself before that.
Outside the field
Kyle Larson started his last lap just 5 points out of the playoffs. After getting spun by AJ Allmendinger, he wound up 30 points back. The wreck might ruin Larson’s chase hopes altogether. Bearing a very poor race (or perhaps two) from Jamie McMurray, or Chris Buescher failing to make the top 30, (pushing Larson up into 16th) Larson needs to find the winner’s circle.
Trevor Bayne has been quietly working his way up the points standings. It will be interesting to see what he can do with it. Bayne’s best chance to get in the chase will be at Bristol, where he finished 5th in the spring race this season. Although, it looks like Roush might not get a driver in the chase for the second consecutive year.
Kasey Kahne is in danger of missing the Chase for the second straight season, and has some work to do to make sure that does not happen. He has three career wins at Michigan, a track where Hendrick Motorsports is usually very good at, so maybe thats where we will see Hendrick’s drought end.
Ryan Blaney is trying to cap off an already impressive rookie season with a trip to the chase, however his ticket there might have to lie in Victory Lane.
Could come in with a win
Dale Earnhardt Jr. is of course still sitting out due to a concussion, and the main focus for him is his health. He will need a win to make the chase if he comes back.
Really the only driver who might have a real shot at winning a race, aside from those listed above, is Paul Menard. Menard only has one career win, but consistently runs well at Michigan. In his last eight races at MIS, Menard has seven top 15’s in his last eight starts.
NASCAR will take an off weekend before heading to Bristol for the NRA Night Race on August 20th.