Though seemingly a formality, five drivers can mathematically clinch a
spot in the 2013 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup this weekend at
Michigan International Speedway. Here are the candidates, and the
necessary facts and figures for a clinch:
- #48-Jimmie Johnson: The magic number for this weekend is 145. Any
driver 145 points ahead of 11th place leaving Michigan will clinch a top
10 spot, which is of special importance to Johnson. After race No. 26
at Richmond, all 12 Chase drivers will have their points reset to 2,000.
But only the top 10 will earn three bonus points for each win during
the regular season. Currently Johnson has three wins, equaling nine
potential Chase bonus points. Johnson currently sits 124 points ahead of
11th (a maximum of 47 points can be made up in a given race). He could
also clinch at least a Wild Card spot by winning on Sunday, regardless
of his stature ahead of 11th.
- #16-Greg Biffle: Biffle can lock up a top-10 spot. Currently owning a
123-point cushion over 11th, Biffle needs to reach the magic number of
145 leaving Michigan.
- #17-Matt Kenseth: Like his Roush Fenway Racing teammate, Kenseth can
clinch a top-10 spot by leaving Michigan with a 145-point lead over
11th. He currently sits 122 points ahead of 11th.
- #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Earnhardt has a tougher task than the
aforementioned drivers. His current cushion over 11th is 107 points. He
can lock up a top-10 spot by reaching the 145-point magic number.
- #2-Brad Keselowski: Keselowski has a remote chance of clinching at
least a Wild Card spot with a win on Sunday, depending on the finishes
of a number of other drivers.