We enter the final race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular season at the Richmond International Raceway this weekend. 25 races down, one to go entering Saturday night’s Federated Auto Parts 400. But, this race could be bigger than we’ve ever seen. The reason?
So many drivers still in the hunt to make the Chase.
Chase Elliott is 14th int the Chase standings as he’s only 24 points ahead of the Ryan Newman, the first car out. Austin Dillon is only 16 points up while Jamie McMurray is just seven points ahead in the 16th and final spot. That gives us four drivers going for the final three spots in the 16 driver Chase field.
Normally, it comes down to a driver or two and it’s not realistically close. This weekend though, only seven spots on the track separate Newman from McMurray.
With it being a short track, anything can happen. Heck, Elliott being 24 points up isn’t even safe.
That’s going to make this race so interesting as these drivers will have an eye on Chris Buescher too. If he can stay in the top 30 in the standings then he’s automatically in by virtue of his win at Pocono. But, if he struggles and falls out, then all four of these drivers will make it in.
But, what happens if someone outside of these five win, and that driver hasn’t won yet this year? That could go to Kasey Kahne, Ryan Blaney, A.J. Allmendinger, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Danica Patrick, etc. If one of them wins, then they will steal a spot and take two of those drivers out.
That’s why Saturday night is so important. Pit strategy in the end is going to be intense.