NASCAR Chase for final Championship spot a three-way race

DEAN McNULTY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:59 AM ET

TORONTO - The final NASCAR Sprint Cup race before the start of the Chase for the Championship in Chicago goes Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway.

Now the top nine in the standings — Greg Biffle, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, Martin Truex Jr., Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick — are all locked into the Chase no matter what happens at Richmond.

Tony Stewart, by virtue of his three wins, will be in the Chase and Kasey Kahne, with his two wins, will nab one of the two wild-card spots.

That leaves just three drivers — Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon and Carl Edwards — to battle for the win in Richmond to secure the last Chase slot.

Now there are three others with a mathematical chance of making it in: Ryan Newman, Marcos Ambrose and Joey Logano.

But it says here their hope is so remote it is hardly worth trying to figure out all the arcane permutations necessary for them to succeed.

Should there be a tie for the final spot, second- place finishes this season will be the tie-breaker.

Thanks to Jayski.com, here is what has to happen for each of Busch, Gordon or Edwards to make the Chase:

- Busch: If he wins, he is in. But all he needs to do is finish no worse than 12 points behind Gordon to clinch without winning at Richmond.

Tiebreaker: Three second-place finishes.

- Gordon: He really needs to win Saturday, that is his only chance.

Tiebreaker: One second-place finish.

- Edwards: Last season’s runner up can’t even guarantee a spot with a win at Richmond. He needs both a win and for Busch and Gordon to have really bad days.

Tiebreaker: Zero second-place finishes.

INDYCAR FINAL

If IZOD IndyCar Series points leader Will Power stays on the track at California Speedway in Fontana Sept. 15,

he will win his first championship in the No. 12 Penske Racing Chevrolet.

In realistic terms, only Ryan Hunter-Reay, in the No. 28 Andretti Autosport Chevrolet, can catch him.

Both Helio Castroneves, in the No. 3 Penske Chevrolet, and Scott Dixon, in the No. 9

Ganassi Racing Honda, have a mathematical chance but would need both Power and Hunter-Reay to wreck or blow up early in the race.

Power is on top going into the race with 453 points, Hunter-Reay second at 436, with Castroneves with 401 and Dixon at 400.

FINISH LINES

The Canadian Touring Car Championship was decided at Calabogie Motorsports Park on the weekend with Sasha Anis, in the No. 14 Hyundai Genesis Coupe, winning the Super Touring class championship; Damon Sharpe, in the No. 84 Honda Civic Si, capturing the Touring class crown and Nick Witmer winning the B-Spec class in the No. 91 Honda Fit ... Formula One looks ready to adopt some sort of protective device over the head of drivers as soon as the 2014 season after two-time champion Fernando Alonso came close of a catastrophic injury on a first-turn wreck at the Belgian Grand Prix. McLaren technical director Paddy Lowe said tests have already been completed to have a roll cage in place on the open-wheel cars. “We started the project a year ago,” Lowe said. “We have made a test piece and it has been tested structurally with various impacts, like firing wheels at it, and that was successful.” ... It looks like NASCAR Nationwide Series contender Elliott Sadler will leave the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet garage at the end of the current season. Childress told Sirius Satellite radio: “I think he’s done gone somewhere else. We’re disappointed. He’s had the best season. We don’t know what else we could have done.” Speculation is that Sadler will sign with Joe Gibbs Racing for a dull Nationwide season in the No. 20 Toyota and a partial Sprint Cup season in a fourth JGR car ... Lotus has confirmed that its reserve driver, Jerome d’Ambrosio, will fill in for Romain Grosjean, banned for one race following the first-corner crash in Belgium, for this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza.


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