Kyle Busch overcame the odds to make 2016 NASCAR Chase - Gibbs

Joe Gibbs admits he felt the "odds were against" his team's driver Kyle Busch qualifying for NASCAR's Sprint Cup title playoff after missing the first 11 races of the season

Kyle Busch overcame the odds to make 2016 NASCAR Chase - Gibbs

Busch was 169 points away from the spot inside the top 30 required to qualify for the Chase - with NASCAR relaxing its clause that a driver contest the full season - but he has been one of the Sprint Cup's form drivers since returning from suffering a broken right leg and left foot at Daytona in February.

He secured his Chase spot at Darlington last Sunday, when he finished seventh to move 83 points ahead of 31st-placed Cole Whitt in the standings.

A maximum of 48 points will be on offer at Richmond this weekend, in the final race before the cut-off.

"That's a great sports story," Gibbs, who made his name as an NFL coach, said.

"Everything that happened to us at Daytona and then for him to bounce back in 11 weeks, I felt like the odds were against us.

"And for him to be able to pull this off and come back, win four times and get back in the Chase [at Darlington], they had a great game plan, Adam [Stevens, crew chief] and Kyle.

"They talked all night about the game plan, what they wanted to do, and first up was to make sure that they had enough points tonight that they didn't have to worry next week."

Including a run of four wins in five races, Busch has only finished outside of the top 10 three times inside the last 10 events.

THE RACE FOR THE CHASE

Of the 16 spots in the Chase, 11 have already been allocated to 2015 race winners.

Busch and Jimmie Johnson lead the field with four wins each, while Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth on three, Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Kurt Busch and Carl Edwards on two, and Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr and Denny Hamilton with one win each are also safe.

That leaves five spots up for grabs, although that should drop to four when Jamie McMurray qualifies and starts, and any first-time 2015 winner inside the top 30 in the points - a group that includes three-time champion Tony Stewart - would also secure a spot.

Ryan Newman, Jeff Gordon, Paul Menard and Clint Bowyer currently occupy what would be the remaining four places, with only Aric Amirola (29 points behind Bowyer) and Kasey Kahne (31) capable of forcing their way in purely on points.

'ON THE BUBBLE' - POINTS RACE

10. Jamie McMurray, 726
11. Ryan Newman, 714
12. Carl Edwards, 713*
13. Jeff Gordon, 700
14. Paul Menard, 692
15. Clint Bowyer, 682
16. Aric Almirola, 653
17. Kasey Kahne, 651

*has qualified for the Chase by winning a race

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