Top 11 could make the Chase
|By Tim Redmayne||Monday, September 4th 2006, 13:17 GMT|
All of the top 11 contenders could make the NASCAR Chase for the Championship this season after officials introduced a rules tweak ahead of this weekend's cut-off race at Richmond.
Only 147 points cover Kevin Harvick in third down to Kasey Kahne in 11th, meaning that one driver from a selection of nine is likely to suffer heartache next weekend by not making this year's Chase - NASCAR's ten-race, ten-driver playoff for the championship.
If the leading two drivers, Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson, have a poor race at Richmond it is possible for all 11 to sneak into the Chase under the 400-point rule, whereby anyone within that distance form the leader is also granted a place in the Chase.
However, NASCAR have now offered another alternative, if the points for tenth place are tied.
Previously, a tie-breaker would be used, based on wins and then top 10 finishes, to determine who made the Chase. However, NASCAR has now altered that rules, saying that if that scenario occurs, both drivers will make the Chase.
Kahne has a 30-point deficit to make up on 10th place if that is to happen, but the following drivers can ensure their place in the Chase with the following finishes - no matter where the rest of the contenders finish:
Kevin Harvick 39th
Jeff Gordon 24th
Kyle Busch 22nd
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 16th
Denny Hamlin 16th
Tony Stewart 7th
Mark Martin 4th
Jeff Burton 3rd