With only seven races left in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular season, we have now reached the point where drivers are beginning to lock themselves into the chase. While some drivers have seemed like a lock for most of the season, over the next few races those drivers will officially clinch their spots in the 2014 chase. Heading into the Crown Royal/Brickyard 400 this weekend from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway only two drivers have clinched spots in the chase, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Brad Keselowski.
This weekend during the Crown Royal/Brickyard 400 a handful of other drivers will have the opportunity to clinch their spots in the 2014 chase. If any of the below drivers win the race OR are able to clinch a top-30 spot they will also most likely clinch their spot in the chase. According to NASCAR.com the magic number for clinching a top-30 spot in the points is 289. What this means is that any driver who is 289 points ahead of the driver in the 31st position after Indianapolis will have clinched a spot inside of the top-30.
- Jeff Gordon
- Jimmie Johnson
- Carl Edwards
- Kyle Busch
- Joey Logano
- Denny Hamlin
- Kevin Harvick
Gordon has already clinched a top-30 spot in the points but his one victory is keeping him from clinching a spot in the chase since there are seven races left and only five chase spots. A win this weekend by Gordon and he will officially clinch his spot. Drivers with multiple wins like Harvick, Johnson, Edwards and Logano have not clinched yet because they haven’t secured a top-30 spot in the point standings. If those drivers are 289 points or more ahead of 31st place after Indy, they will have clinched their spot. Busch and Hamlin are in the same boat as Gordon only without as many points. If either of them win they will clinch a spot assuming that they are 289 points up on 31st place. In all likelihood these two drivers will not clinch this weekend but should still make the chase.
The other wrinkle of course is the fact that if a driver without a win finds Victory Lane it will shake things up a bit. With seven races left and five spots it is unlikely that we will see five or more winners but it could happen. Even if there were to be one or two new winners of the final seven races it would shake things up as a handful of drivers are point racing in hopes to sneak into the chase.
Be sure to check back with us after the race for the updated standings and an updated list of who has clinched their spots in the chase.