DARLINGTON, S.C. – The Chase for the Sprint Cup is scheduled to begin Sept. 18 at Chicagoland Speedway, and the final spots in the 16-driver grid will be awarded after Saturday’s regular-season finale at Richmond International Raceway.
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Here’s a look at the drivers bouncing around the bubble with one race to go:.
The season’s most surprising rookie solidified his standing with a 10th-place finish at Darlington Raceway. As things now stand, he leads the three drivers (Elliott, Austin Dillon, Jamie McMurray) who would earn Chase invitations through points.
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Dillon, who was 12th Sunday, is second to Elliott (by eight points) in the Chase points group and seems safe unless disaster strikes at Richmond.
McMurray was 15th at Darlington and now sits in the third and final points spot as relates to Chase qualifying.
Pit crews make difference for Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick.
Newman, who used a late-race tire gamble to try to score a first victory of the season Sunday, finished eighth but sits one spot below the Chase cut line. He is seven points behind McMurray, and that pair could battle for the final Chase spot at Richmond.
Martin Truex Jr. Wins at Darlington.
As a race winner, Buescher holds a Chase invite, but to cash it he must finish in the top 30 in points. He strengthened his standing in that category with a 17th-place finish Sunday. Buescher is in 30th position, 11 points in front of 31st-place David Ragan. Entering the race, Buescher led Ragan by seven points.
Follow Hembree on Twitter @mikehembree.