Editor's Note: Clinching scenarios courtesy of NASCAR statistical services RELATED: Updated standings " See the Chase Grid There is just one race left before the 16-driver Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field gets whittled down to 12 drivers. Here are the scenarios for clinching a berth in the Contender Round on Sunday at Dover International Speedway in the AAA 400 (Sunday, 2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Regardless of the finish of any other drivers Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth have already clinched a spot in the Contender Round by virtue of their wins at Chicagoland and New Hampshire, respectively. Carl Edwards needs 12 points. (32nd and no laps led, 33rd and at least one lap led, 34th and most laps led). Joey Logano needs 13 points. (31st and no laps led, 32nd and at least one lap led, 33rd and most laps led) Jimmie Johnson needs 19 points. (25th and no laps led, 26th and at least one lap led, 27th and most laps led) Ryan Newman needs 28 points. (16th and no laps led, 17th and at least one lap led, 18th and most laps led) Kurt Busch needs 29 points. (15th and no laps led, 16th and at least one lap led, 17th and most laps led) Brad Keselowski needs 30 points. (14th and no laps led, 15th and at least one lap led, 16th and most laps led) Martin Truex Jr . needs 31 points. (13th and no laps led, 14th and at least one lap led, 15th and most laps led) Jeff Gordon needs 34 points. (10th and no laps led, 11th and at least one lap led, 12th and most laps led) Jamie McMurray , Dale Earnhardt Jr . , Kyle Busch , Paul Menard , Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer only control their own destinies with a victory.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 3, 2015) -- NASCAR fans have the opportunity to showcase their race prediction skills again this year with The Chase Grid Battle Powered by Bing. Back for the second season, the game allows players to make Round-by-Round picks and compete for prizes throughout the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , which kicks-off Sept. 20 at Chicagoland Speedway . New in 2015, the race-by-race scoring format awards points after each of the 10 races in The Chase and for predicting the drivers who will advance through each round up until the championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 22. Picks can also be made with the help of Bing Predicts, which relies on relevant data to make intelligent recommendations about upcoming events and is fully integrated into the game. "We're excited to work with NASCAR to bring the power of Bing's intelligent predictions to The Chase Grid Battle Game to help players up their chances of winning," said Ryan Gavin, general manager of search at Microsoft Corp. "Bing Predicts is quickly becoming the resource for both avid sports fans and casual players to get an edge on the game and impress their friends -- and we're excited to bring it to NASCAR's passionate fan base." Prizes for the highest overall scores include a VIP trip to a 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, tickets to a NASCAR Driving Experience and an autographed driver helmet. The highest- scoring participant after each of the four Rounds in The Chase will also receive $100 to use in the NASCAR.com Superstore. Players can form leagues to compete against friends and other fans, with the option to create up to three entries per user. "Participating in The Chase Grid Battle Game allows fans to maximize their Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup experience, and this year we've improved upon it even further with the new scoring format and integration of Bing Predicts to help players increase their odds of winning by making the most informed picks each round," said Colin Smith, vice president, NASCAR Digital Media. "Establishing new, innovative ways for fans to engage with our sport is and always will be a critical objective for NASCAR." Fans can visit here to create a free account and register to play. Registration is open now through Nov. 1, closing before the start of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , The Eliminator Round. Tune in this Sunday, Sept. 6, at 7 p.m. ET on NBC to watch the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway .
LEARN MORE: Bing: Chase predictions " About Bing RELATED: Play the Chase Grid Battle Game here Let the battle begin. The Chase Grid Battle Game Powered by Bing, a game in which players make round-by-round picks in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , returns for the second consecutive season. Registration is open now. Go here to sign up and start thinking about your strategy before the first postseason race Sept. 20 at Chicagoland Speedway . New this year is the presence of Bing -- and more specifically Bing Predicts, a methodology that uses algorithms to make predictions. Gamers can consider the Bing Predicts tool when playing the Chase Grid Battle Game and have a leg up on the competition. Throughout the summer, Bing Predicts has made accurate forecasts for events such as the Women's World Cup and the Tour de France. Bing will make predictions for drivers advancing to each round throughout the Chase . Right now, the algorithm predicts Kevin Harvick will repeat as Sprint Cup Series champion, besting Kyle Busch , Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski in the Championship Round at Homestead. "We're excited to work with NASCAR to bring the power of Bing's intelligent predictions to The Chase Grid Battle Game to help players up their chances of winning," said Ryan Gavin, general manager of search at Microsoft Corp. "Bing Predicts is quickly becoming the resource for both avid sports fans and casual players to get an edge on the game and impress their friends -- and we're excited to bring it to NASCAR's passionate fan base." Also new in 2015 is a race-by-race scoring format that awards points after each of the 10 Chase races. Prizes for the overall highest score includes a VIP trip to a 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, tickets to a NASCAR driving experience and an autographed driver helmet. The highest- scoring participant after each of the four Rounds in The Chase will also receive $100 to use in the NASCAR.com Superstore. Players can form leagues to compete against friends and other fans, with the option to create up to three entries per user.
As the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup turns 10, get the history, format and more
RELATED: See the updated Chase Grid " Stats for Chase drivers Advancing: Matt Kenseth waited in the wings for leader Kevin Harvick 's dwindling fuel cell to go dry. When Harvick ran out of fuel, Kenseth stretched out front, leading the final three laps to win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway , the second race of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup 's Challenger Round. Kenseth's victory punches his ticket to the Contender Round. This marks Kenseth's second career trip to Victory Lane at Loudon, his last win coming in 2013. Four in, four out: Here's the bubble picture following Loudon. The four drivers below the line would not advance to the next round (Contender) if the Challenger Round ended today. (Note: The Challenger Round ends next week at Dover International Speedway .) 9. Martin Truex Jr . (14 points ahead of 12th-place driver) 10. Jeff Gordon (+11) 11. Jamie McMurray (+1) 12. Dale Earnhardt Jr . (--) ----------- 13. Kyle Busch (1 point behind 12th-place driver) 14. Paul Menard (-1) 15. Kevin Harvick (-23) 16. Clint Bowyer (-39) Reason for hope: Jimmie Johnson rallied from a cut tire to earn a solid sixth-place result at Loudon. Now sitting fifth in the Chase standings, Johnson heads into a track that he's tamed on more than one occasion: Dover International Speedway . "Six-Time" -- who won at Dover earlier this season -- leads nearly every category at the Monster Mile, including the most all-time wins with 10 trips to Victory Lane. Reason for worry: Kyle Busch 's Chase outlook darkened at Lap 159, when his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota smacked the wall between Turns 3 and 4. "It's killed," Busch said, immediately heading to the garage. While Busch was able to make it back out on the track, his 37th-place result sets him back to 13th in the Chase field -- putting him in a more desperate situation at Dover. Up next: AAA 400 , 2:30 p.m. ET, Oct. 4 at Dover International Speedway (NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM) Who it favors Most wins: 10 -- Jimmie Johnson Best driver rating: 122.3 -- Jimmie Johnson Best average finish: 5.9 -- Jimmie Johnson Who it hurts Fewest top 10s: 3 -- Paul Menard (in 16 starts) Worst driver rating: 68.8 -- Paul Menard Worst average finish: 19.3 -- Denny Hamlin , 19.2 -- Jamie McMurray
OFFICIAL NASCAR RELEASE: Chase team among four penalized RELATED: Busch, Suarez issued penalties NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Clint Bowyer now finds himself right back where he started -- 16th among a field of 16 drivers battling for this year's NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. There is one difference. The Michael Waltrip Racing driver will be without the services of his crew chief, Billy Scott, for the next three races. On Wednesday, NASCAR officials announced that Bowyer's No. 15 Toyota team had been penalized for a P4 level infraction found during opening day inspection last weekend at Chicagoland Speedway . RELATED: See the updated Chase standings As a result, Bowyer has lost 25 driver points, team co-owner Rob Kauffman has been docked 25 owner points, Scott has been fined $75,000 and suspended for three races. He has also been placed on probation for six months. Based on rules cited in the penalty announcement, the team was penalized for suspension and track bar issues. Those noted included: 20.14c -- All suspension mounts and mounting hardware must not allow movement or realignment of any suspension and/or drivetrain component beyond normal rotation or suspension and/or drivetrain travel; 18.104.22.168.k -- Beveled washers and/or other components that allow movement under load will not be permitted on the track bar heim joints or rod end and/or track bar mounting bolts; 22.214.171.124.1.d -- Approved parts that are not properly installed or are made adjustable when not normally intended to be; 126.96.36.199.1.f -- Components, devices, systems, configurations, installations, etc. which serve to circumvent NASCAR templates, gauges, measuring devices whether intended or not … Because Bowyer is competing in the Chase , and the result of any appeal would have an impact on the championship standings going forward, NASCAR's penalty statement stated that a request had been submitted to the Appeals Administrator of the National Motorsports Appeals Panel seeking to expedite any appeal. Michael Waltrip Racing officials issued a statement shortly after Wednesday's penalty announcement. " Michael Waltrip Racing respectfully disagrees with today's penalties and plans to immediately appeal," the statement read. "MWR has made mistakes in the past, but we feel we are correct in this instance. We look forward to the opportunity to present our case to the appeals committee and have no further comment until the process is completed." Bowyer, competing in the Chase for the sixth time in his career, was seeded 16th in the field heading into last weekend's race in Chicago. He finished 19th and improved one position, to 15th, prior to the points deduction, earning 25 points. Regardless of the appeals process, Bowyer must win one of the next two Sprint Cup races -- scheduled for New Hampshire and Dover -- or be one of the top 12 in points following the Dover race to advance to the Contender Round of the Chase . MWR fields two teams in the Sprint Cup Series, the No. 15 of Bowyer as well as the No. 55 with driver David Ragan . Team owners announced earlier this year that Bowyer had been granted his release following the '15 season and that the organization would not field full-time teams beyond this year. RELATED: MWR begins process of shutting down Earlier this year, the No. 31 team of Richard Childress Racing was hit with a Level P5 penalty for infractions involving the release of air pressure from the team's tires. In addition to the penalty for the No. 15 team, NASCAR officials also penalized the No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing team with driver Danica Patrick for modifying the right-side quarterpanel during pre-qualifying inspection. Crew chief Daniel Knost and car chief Pete White have been placed on probation through Dec. 31 for the Level P2 infraction.
RELATED : Full race results " Who's on the Chase Bubble? LOUDON, N.H. -- One of the strongest drivers all summer long, Kyle Busch now sits on the outside of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings looking in with one race remaining before the field is cut to 12. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver's title hopes took a significant hit Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway , as he clocked the wall between Turn 3 and 4, sending his No. 18 Toyota to the garage. "It's killed," Busch told his crew after bringing out the fifth caution flag of Sunday's Sylvania 300 . Busch, who declined comment to NASCAR.com after the race, veered out of the racing groove on Lap 159, making heavy contact with the right side of his car. "We had that short run there and the handling went away and just blew a right-front (tire)," No. 18 crew chief Adam Stevens said. "It looks like it just had a slow leak and just overworked the shoulder and finally blew out. The balance was free and it's not like we abused it, especially after we just had a fuel run. Just one of those things that happens. Sometimes you get a pin in the hole or run something over and find the fence." The result sent him tumbling toward the bottom of the 16-driver Chase field -- 13th overall and 39 points behind leader, teammate and Loudon winner Matt Kenseth -- with only Sunday's race at Dover International Speedway to advance to the Contender Round, the next three-race stage of eliminations. "(Kyle) is bummed that we weren't a little bit quicker and he's bummed that we had a problem," Stevens said. "We can control the quicker part; we can't control the problem." Busch finished ninth in the Chase opener last weekend at Chicagoland Speedway . That effort, combined with bonus points for his four regular-season wins, gave him solid footing after the Challenger Round opener. But his extended stay in the garage for major repairs at New Hampshire dropped him to a 37th-place finish, putting extra pressure on next weekend's event. Despite the grisly outlook, by virtue of being a single point outside the cutoff behind Dale Earnhardt Jr ., it's not a do-or-die scenario at the "Monster Mile." "It's not a win-at-all-costs situation at all, which is comforting," said Stevens. "Sure (I think we can make the next round on points). Dover's a strong track for us. I haven't seen the (standings) yet at the end of the race, but a bunch of guys ran out of gas there. We were going to run third (at Dover) in Kyle's second race back and wrecked with a lapped car. I'm sure our cars have gotten better (since then) and Kyle's gotten more in shape. "There's no reason we can't go there and have a good day. Things like this happen, too. They happened to us and they can happen to anybody else." Contributing: Staff reports
Punching bag appears in motorhome lot ahead of second Chase race LOUDON, N.H. -- A punching bag has appeared in the motorcoach lot on Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway -- something reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick could've used less than a week ago. Well done, @nhms . Well done. #NASCAR c.c. @KevinHarvick pic.twitter.com/a86BPSvLa2 — Pat DeCola (@Pat_DeCola) September 25, 2015 Following a wreck sparked by fellow Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup competitor Jimmie Johnson that relegated him to a 42nd-place finish in the playoff opener, Harvick got physical and jabbed Johnson in the chest in the motorcoach lot at Chicagoland Speedway when the six-time champion approached him to talk it over. Harvick then had to be restrained after the shove, while Johnson calmly walked away from the altercation. RELATED: Harvick confronts, shoves Johnson after race The punching bag, which appears to be provided from the track itself, could potentially head off any more physical altercations after the conclusion of Sunday's Sylvania 300 (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN/Live Extra). But then again, it's the Chase -- anything could happen.
RELATED: Bowyer drops to 16th in Chase standings after penalty RELATED: Busch, Suarez also penalized Daytona Beach, Florida (September 23, 2015) -- Two NASCAR Sprint Cup teams and two NASCAR XFINITY Series teams have been penalized following last week's events at Chicagoland Speedway . The No. 10 team has been penalized for an infraction that occurred during pre-qualifying inspection on Sept. 18. This is a P2 level penalty (Sections 12.1 and 20.4b and 20.4.2a of the NASCAR rule book). The right side quarter panel behind the rear wheel/tire was modified during pre-qualifying inspection. Crew chief Daniel Knost has been placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31, 2015. Car chief Pete White has been placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31, 2015. The No. 15 team has been penalized for an infraction that occurred on opening day inspection on Sept.18. This is a P4 level penalty (Section 12.1, 20. 14.c, 188.8.131.52.k, 184.108.40.206.d, 220.127.116.11.1.d & f, 18.104.22.168.2 of the NASCAR rule book). Crew chief Billy W. Scott has been fined $75,000, suspended for the next three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship events and placed on NASCAR probation for six months following the issue of suspension. Driver Clint Bowyer has been penalized 25 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Driver points. Car owner Rob Kauffman has been penalized 25 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Owner points. NASCAR has requested to the Appeals Administrator of the National Motorsports Appeals Panel that the appeals process described in the rule book be expedited. NASCAR XFINITY Series No. 18 team has been penalized for an infraction that occurred during pre-race on Sept. 19. This is a P2 level penalty (Sections 12.1 and 20.4b and 20.4.2a of the NASCAR rule book). The right side vertical extension panel (side skirt) was modified after pre-race inspection. Crew chief Eric P. Phillips has been placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31, 2015. Crew member John P. Egbert Jr. has been placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31, 2015. The No. 54 car failed heights during post-race inspection on Sept. 19. This is a P2 level penalty ( Sections 12.1 , 22.214.171.124.1. b & c, 126.96.36.199.2.b & c, 188.8.131.52.1.f, 184.108.40.206.2.a.b & d of the NASCAR rule book). Crew chief Christopher W. Gayle has been fined $12,500 and placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31, 2015. Car owner J. D. Gibbs has been penalized 10 series championship owner points.
Jimmie Johnson , who entered the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint as the top seed, is in jeopardy of not getting out of the first round. His chances of winning the title took a major hit Sunday at Dover International Speedway in the AAA 400 . Johnson came down pit road at Lap 104 and radioed that "something was broken." Johnson then took his car to the garage for an issue with the drive line, which ultimately turned out to be a broken rear axle seal. His 48 team immediately ran to the garage to begin work on the car. The Hendrick Motorsports driver returned to the race on Lap 140, 36 laps down in 43rd place. The six-time champion entered the race fifth in the points and looked to be in good shape to transfer from the Challenger Round to the Contender Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . However, this development leaves him in bad shape as he looks to advance to the next round. Johnson is a 10-time winner at Dover and has four wins this season. He entered the Challenger Round as the top seed in the Chase . This story will be updated.