Four spots in the Chase Grid remain heading into the 24th race of the season RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today All 12 race winners in 2014 have clinched a spot in the top 30 in driver points and a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , provided they qualifying for the final three races of the regular season. Those drivers, in current Chase Grid order, are Jeff Gordon , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Brad Keselowski , Jimmie Johnson , Joey Logano , Kevin Harvick , Carl Edwards , Kyle Busch , Denny Hamlin , Aric Almirola , AJ Allmendinger and Kurt Busch have clinched a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , provided they attempt to qualify for the remaining four races. If a winless driver wins this weekend, and is 97 or more points ahead of 31st place, he or she will also clinch a spot. No winless drivers can clinch a spot in the Chase after the Irwin Tools Night Race (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC). Three-time Bristol winner Matt Kenseth , Ryan Newman , Clint Bowyer and Greg Biffle are in the provisional grid for now and on the bubble with Kasey Kahne , Austin Dillon , Kyle Larson and Marcos Ambrose , fifth-place finisher at Bristol in March, who are the first four drivers outside the grid. See the full rundown below. 2014 Chase Grid Outlook Pos. Drivers Wins Points Chase Bonus Pts 1 Jeff Gordon 3 816 9 2 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3 813 9 3 Brad Keselowski 3 733 9 4 Jimmie Johnson 3 686 9 5 Joey Logano 2 714 6 6 Kevin Harvick 2 687 6 7 Carl Edwards 2 679 6 8 Kyle Busch 1 620 3 9 Denny Hamlin 1 589 3 10 Aric Almirola 1 556 3 11 AJ Allmendinger 1 556 3 12 Kurt Busch 1 543 3 13 Matt Kenseth 0 709 0 14 Ryan Newman 0 679 0 15 Clint Bowyer 0 672 0 16 Greg Biffle 0 660 0 Outside Looking In 17 Kasey Kahne 0 651 0 18 Austin Dillon 0 638 0 19 Kyle Larson 0 636 0 20 Marcos Ambrose 0 616 0 21 Paul Menard 0 614 0 22 Brian Vickers 0 598 0 23 Jamie McMurray 0 596 0 24 Casey Mears 0 543 0 25 Tony Stewart 0 537 0 26 Martin Truex Jr. 0 516 0 27 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 0 476 0 28 Danica Patrick 0 445 0 29 Justin Allgaier 0 400 0 30 Michael Annett 0 364 0 Green = Locked into the Chase , provided they attempt to qualify for the remaining four races Orange = No wins, Inside the current Chase Grid's top 16 - Currently in the Chase , not locked in Red = Inside the current top 30 in points, outside of the Chase cutoff MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news WATCH: Latest NASCAR video PLAY: NASCAR Fantasy Live FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
Jeff Burton will once again be behind the wheel of the No. 14 car
Drivers Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson, Kurt and Kyle Busch hit the street to the spread the word and explain the all new Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup to fans.
Remaining tracks place a premium on what NASCAR's powerhouses do best RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today Either way, someone was going to crash the party. No matter which of the two frontrunners ultimately took the checkered flag this past Sunday at Watkins Glen International , the venerable upstate New York road course was going to deliver what most everyone believed it would -- a new face introduced into the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , and a new name almost certainly added to that expanded 16-driver grid. It went above and beyond that, providing viewers with breathless, desperate racing between AJ Allmendinger and Marcos Ambrose , both of whom knew their playoff hopes hinged solely on the results of Sunday afternoon. In the end it was Allmendinger, who a year ago this coming weekend was celebrating a Nationwide Series victory at Mid-Ohio for Roger Penske, and now stands on the brink of his first playoff berth at NASCAR's top level. The Chase now appears very close indeed, with the opener at Chicagoland looming just a month away, and during this late-summer stretch run the final pieces will fall into place. There's a bit of symmetry in it all: four races remaining in the regular season, four spots remaining in the playoff. We've reached the point where it will be impossible to have more than 16 different winners, as much as some of us had hoped to see it, if just for the anxious spectacle it would create. While there's still a chance to get to 16 winners and knock out anyone relying solely on points, we're beyond the point of wild cards -- no road courses or restrictor-plate venues remain to level the field for the long shots still holding out hope. The four tracks remaining all place a premium on the things the sport's established powers do best. For instance -- Michigan International Speedway, site of Sunday's Sprint Cup event, and where hours on the dynamometer and in the wind tunnel are prerequisites on a blisteringly fast 2-mile track. The last driver you might be able to term an upset winner in Brooklyn might have been Brian Vickers for Red Bull in 2009, but that's probably unfair given the cash Dietrich Mateschitz was sinking into that program at the time. Before that, the last surprise there was perhaps Charlie Glotzbach in 1970, although owner Ray Nichels turned out some stout cars back in the day. Even at a track notorious for its fuel-mileage finales, the shockers are usually resigned to qualifying on Friday afternoon. Then it's on to Bristol , where Carl Edwards won in the spring, and which demands the kind of short-track rhythm which elite drivers do best, not to mention a car fast enough to prevent getting lapped on an early green-flag run. For all the focus on calamity and bump-and-run, the list of winners at Bristol is as star-studded as that of any other track. That kind of speed on a half-mile venue weeds out the field fairly quickly. There's never really been a shocker at Bristol, which tends to be dominated for long stretches by truly great drivers -- first by Cale Yarborough, then Darrell Waltrip, then Rusty Wallace, then the Busch brothers -- until the next one finds the knack. For years, the place gave Jimmie Johnson fits, it's so difficult. Drama? Plenty. Upsets? Unheard of. Atlanta may be something of a different story. Jerry Nadeau scored his lone career victory there in 2000, and call-up Kevin Harvick pulled an emotional stunner the next season, but both those drivers were working for top owners -- the former Rick Hendrick, the latter Richard Childress -- and wheeling equipment unparalleled for their time. Morgan Shepherd won three times there between 1986 and '93, his latter two victories coming for Bud Moore and the Wood Brothers in an era where those teams were still competitive. But this isn't the '90s anymore. Atlanta is another of those fast horsepower tracks, and the drivers who have historically owned the place are those with the most under the hood. So then -- Richmond. Sweat-it-out, bite- the -fingernails, don't-get-wrecked, last-chance Richmond. We've seen the near-impossible happen there before, in the form of Jeremy Mayfield winning the race in 2004 to wedge his way into that inaugural Chase field the only way he could. The possibility certainly exists that we could witness something like that again -- even if first-time winners run the table the next three weeks, there would still be room for one more on that Saturday night in the Virginia capital. As far as true upset potential, history points to Mayfield (whose Ray Evernham-owned team was better than the numbers might indicate) and Joe Nemechek winning in 2003. Nemechek that season, though, was a Hendrick driver. So does that really count? Michigan will help clear the picture, albeit if only a little. A victory by any repeat winner this weekend will officially lock in all those drivers with one victory -- guys we figured were in anyway -- and bolster the hopes of those hoping to get in on points. Another first-time winner (Michigan mainstay Greg Biffle , maybe?) and the pressure really begins to build on those guys who have yet to visit Victory Lane. A playoff of 16 winners may seem a remote possibility, but if we get to Bristol or Atlanta and there's still a chance of it -- well, a few firesuit collars may begin to feel mighty tight indeed. All that said, a tip of the cap to Allmendinger, who in almost certainly the final opportunity to do so gave us one more real underdog to go along with Aric Almirola, who pulled his shocker in the rain-shortened Daytona race in July. And while we're at it, give some credit to David Ragan, who told us all along this kind of thing was coming, even though he won his Talladega race a year too early. At Watkins Glen, Allmendinger and Ambrose provided a dramatic, grand final hurrah for the little guys. Thanks for the show, gentlemen. But given the tracks remaining in the regular season and the demands required in the Chase , the big boys will take it from here. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news WATCH: Latest NASCAR video PLAY: NASCAR Fantasy Live FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Seven drivers have spots clinched entering the 23rd race of the season RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Brad Keselowski , Jeff Gordon , Jimmie Johnson , Carl Edwards , Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick have clinched a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , assuming they attempt to qualify for the remaining four races. If there is a repeat 2014 winner in the Pure Michigan 400 (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, ESPN) at Michigan International Speedway , any driver with one win and a locked-up top 30 spot will clinch a spot in the Chase . Potentials: Kyle Busch , Denny Hamlin , Aric Almirola , Kurt Busch and AJ Allmendinger . To clinch a top 30 spot, the clinching driver must be 145 points ahead of 31st place leaving Michigan. If there is a new winner, one-win drivers could potentially clinch a spot. But there would still be the potential for 16 different winners, and a winless points leader -- meaning a winner would be bounced from the Chase . So there are no guarantees here. Because he is so high in the points, if Matt Kenseth wins, he would clinch a spot, even though it would be his first win. Other high-ranking winless drivers could potentially clinch with a win and help. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news WATCH: Latest NASCAR video PLAY: NASCAR Fantasy Live FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Four drivers have potential to clinch with a second win
Four drivers eligible to clinch at Pocono
Round-by-Round and Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Grid explanations
Keep tabs on all three national series this weekend RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today This weekend brings the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series , NASCAR Nationwide Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series to Bristol Motor Speedway . The Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race is on Saturday, Aug. 23, at 7:30 p.m. ET with coverage on ABC. Click here for alternate channels in 15 markets where ABC affiliates are not showing the race: Find options for watching the race in the following markets -- Austin, Texas; Charlotte, North Carolina; Casper, Wyoming; Cheyenne, Wyoming; Duluth, Minnesota; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Houston, Texas; Louisville, Kentucky; Nashville, Tennessee; St. Joseph, Missouri; San Antonio, Texas; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Washington, D.C.; Weslaco, Texas. Click here for more information. The Nationwide Series Food City 300 is on Friday, Aug. 22, at 7:30 p.m. ET with coverage on ESPN. The Camping World Truck Series UNOH 200 was scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 20 at 8 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1, but it was rain delayed until Thursday at 10 a.m. ET. For more information on track times, press conferences and GarageCam, you can check out this weekend's schedule . For TV times, see this week's TV schedule . We know you may not have the time to watch the race action without any interruptions, so if you're on the go, here's how to keep up at Bristol. NASCAR .com's live Sprint Cup Series leaderboard , Nationwide Series leaderboard and Camping World Truck Series leaderboard update in real-time and offer constant text updates of lead changes, cautions, strategies, strong runs and everything in between. On the go? Download the NASCAR Mobile app to follow the leaderboards live from your device. NASCAR Nationwide Series RaceBuddy is back on NASCAR .com and NASCAR Mobile . Get 10 live high-definition feeds, including views of pit road and battle cams. Kevin Harvick , Regan Smith , Chase Elliott , Elliott Sadler , Kyle Larson and Kyle Busch are the drivers who will be featured. Lap-by-Lap will keep you caught up even if you can take a peek here and there. Check in now and then to read back through all the laps you've missed, or keep an eye on the feed for real-time race updates. We'll also send race updates via Twitter through the official @ NASCAR and @NASCARStats handles. Haven't tried RaceView yet? If you sign up, you'll get virtual video of cars on the track from various angles and hear what your favorite team is saying over the radio. Use it as a second screen or as your only screen. Just want to scan the radios? You can have that too with RaceView Audio . On a mobile device? Get RaceView Mobile here . If you want to be more involved in the on-track action, you can manage your fantasy team on NASCAR .com and follow your team's performance in NASCAR Fantasy Live . Mobile users can also download NASCAR Connect , a game from OneUp Sports that allows users to play other fans with race predictions, for some off-track competition while drivers battle it out on the track. Live Press Pass video streams will keep the NASCAR action rolling even after the winner goes in and out of Victory Lane. Catch interviews with the top finishers immediately following the checkered flag for the Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series, and stay tuned to NASCAR .com throughout the week for the latest news. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news WATCH: Latest NASCAR video PLAY: NASCAR Fantasy Live FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Take a look back at how the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup began.