Chase-clinching scenarios for Michigan and Road America
With three races remaining in the regular season, 10 drivers have clinched a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , assuming each driver starts the remaining races. The 10 clinchers: Brad Keselowski , Kyle Busch , Carl Edwards , Jimmie Johnson , Matt Kenseth , Kevin Harvick , Kurt Busch , Joey Logano , Martin Truex Jr . and Denny Hamlin . Everyone who has a win this season is locked in -- except for Tony Stewart and Chris Buescher , both of whom have yet to clinch a top-30 spot. Stewart can clinch a top 30 spot at Michigan with some help as he must be 91 points ahead of the 31st position in the standings . A number of drivers who currently have no wins can clinch this weekend, but only if they win the Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway (Sunday, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Winless drivers in the standings from Austin Dillon all the way to Aric Almirola could lock in a spot with a victory. See the Sprint Cup standings here . Possible to Clinch: -- Tony Stewart (1 Win, 400 Points , +85 Points Ahead of 31st): Could Clinch a Top 30 spot with help (magic number is 91 points ), which is all he needs to do to clinch on wins. The following drivers would clinch with a win: -- Austin Dillon (0 Wins, 596 Points , +281 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Chase Elliott (0 Wins, 588 Points , +273 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Jamie McMurray (0 Wins, 583 Points , +268 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Ryan Newman (0 Wins, 576 Points , +261 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Trevor Bayne (0 Wins, 541 Points , +226 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Kyle Larson (0 Wins, 537 Points , +222 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Kasey Kahne (0 Wins, 537 Points , +222 Points Ahead of 31st) -- AJ Allmendinger (0 Wins, 518 Points , +203 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Ricky Stenhouse Jr (0 Wins, 514 Points , +199 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Ryan Blaney (0 Wins, 508 Points , +193 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Dale Earnhardt Jr (0 Wins, 461 Points , +146 Points Ahead of 31st)** -- Greg Biffle (0 Wins, 441 Points , +126 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Danica Patrick (0 Wins, 432 Points , +117 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Paul Menard (0 Wins, 431 Points , +116 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Clint Bowyer (0 Wins, 407 Points , +92 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Aric Almirola (0 Wins, 406 Points , +91 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Casey Mears (0 Wins, 375 Points , +60 Points Ahead of 31st): With a win, he could clinch a Chase spot on wins if he got help with clinching a Top 30 spot. **Not entered at Michigan XFINITY The following drivers have already clinched a spot in the top 30 of the points standings , so a win at Road America (Saturday, 3 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) would lock them into the Chase field -- Justin Allgaier , Ty Dillon , Brendan Gaughan , Brennan Poole , Brandon Jones , Darrell Wallace Jr ., Ryan Reed , Blake Koch , Ryan Sieg , Ross Chastain , Dakoda Armstrong , Jeremy Clements , Ryan Preece , Ray Black Jr . and BJ McLeod . Joey Gase would also clinch a Chase spot with a win. Camping World Truck With a win at Michigan (Saturday, 1 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), any of the four drivers currently sitting with one win would clinch their Chase spot. -- Johnny Sauter (1 Win, 306 Points , +243 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Christopher Bell (1 Win, 296 Points , +233 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Ben Kennedy (1 Win, 287 Points , +224 Points Ahead of 31st) -- John Hunter Nemechek (1 Win, 281 Points , +218 Points Ahead of 31st) Daniel Hemric (0 Wins, 312 Points , +249 Points Ahead of 31st) -- With a win and help, he would clinch a Chase spot on wins. (The help would be in the form of all winless drivers being eliminated from leading the standings after Chicago.)
Watkins Glen mayhem tightens XFINITY Chase standings
Related: Zippo 200 at The Glen Results " Updated Chase Grid WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- Early misfortunes, including a major multi-car wreck, had an unsettling effect on the Chase chances for several NASCAR XFINITY Series playoff hopefuls Saturday at Watkins Glen International . Darrell Wallace Jr . and Blake Koch were among the hardest hit in a 10-car stack-up on the 18th of 82 laps in the Zippo 200, a pileup that forced a red flag of nearly 14 minutes. Wallace's Roush Fenway Racing No. 6 Ford sustained heavy front-end damage and spent plenty of time in the garage for repairs, extending his streak to four straight races without a top-10 finish. He wound up 29th in the final rundown, 19 laps off the pace. Wallace started and ended the day ninth on the provisional Chase grid, but slipped to just a 16-point edge over 10th-place Ryan Reed -- the wrong direction for momentum ahead of the playoffs. "All I see is we have bad luck and it is getting old, my friend," Wallace told NBCSN. "It is unfortunate for my team. We come here and I messed up on the first lap in the first practice we had, and then we were sitting pretty for the rest of the weekend. It is just getting old. We will go on to Mid-Ohio and try to have some luck there." Koch's Kaulig Racing No. 11 Chevrolet was done for the day with damage all around. Koch, who was clinging to the final spot on the provisional Chase grid after last weekend's event at Iowa Speedway , failed to finish for the second time in the last four races. "Just points . That's the only thing going through my mind from the first impact, all I thought was points ," Koch said. "It's not good, but I made a mistake early on and lost a bunch of spots and got us back there and that kind of started it. I've just got to be a little bit smarter at these road courses, but man, I hate it for everybody." Koch was evaluated and released from the infield care center, but had his right hand bandaged -- a byproduct, he said, of blisters from all of the shifting in Thursday's extended XFINITY practice on Watkins Glen's new pavement. "You know what, I need to have manlier hands," Koch said with a laugh. "That's the issue." Jeremy Clements was another driver with plenty to gain from the multicar wreck, entering the day tied for the top spot among drivers outside the provisional Chase grid. But Clements' No. 51 Chevrolet had its own pitfalls, limping to the garage with a broken track bar on Lap 9 and returning for a 25th-place finish. He dropped from 13th to 15th in the series standings . Ross Chastain took sole possession of 13th place in the XFINITY standings with a 14th-place outing Saturday at The Glen. He closed from 24 points back to just a two-point gap behind Koch in the final cut-off spot. The XFINITY Series sticks to road racing next week for Saturday's Mid-Ohio Challenge (3:30 p.m. ET, USA, MRN, SiriusXM) at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course .
Heads up: Bristol weekend
Here are the hot topics, trending news and key story lines to get you ready for this weekend's races at Bristol Motor Speedway . WEATHER Chance of thunderstorms with highs in the 80s and lows in the 60s, according to the National Weather Service. "Thunder Valley" is always prone to showers, so business as usual. KEY TIMES Sprint Cup Series: Sprint Cup drivers are busy on Friday with two practices and qualifying (5:45 p.m. ET on USA). The race starts at 8 p.m. ET Saturday and is on NBCSN. XFINITY Series: Cars are on track Thursday for two practices, which is new. Thursday has previously been a dark day with no cars on track. The race is at 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday, televised on USA. Camping World Truck Series: Ben Kennedy , great-grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., won his first national series race on Wednesday in the UNOH 200 . " Read more about his landmark victory CATCH DRIVERS LIVE We stream every driver press conference in the media center at NASCAR.com/presspass . Some of the notables this weekend: Jimmie Johnson at 9 a.m. ET Friday (hope you've had your coffee); Matt Tifft at 9:30 a.m. ET Friday; Carl Edwards at 11:35 a.m. ET on Friday. LAST TIME Joey Logano won his second consecutive race after dueling with Kevin Harvick ... for the second time in three races in 2015. The driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford held off a hard-charging Harvick over the final 63 laps in a remarkable duel that had Harvick circling the track up top, but unable to catch the low-lined Logano. YOU SHOULD KNOW ... • There may be payback in store. Specifically, Kyle Larson all but promised retribution to AJ Allmendinger -- "He has got a few coming" is the exact quote -- after Allmendinger wrecked Larson on the last lap at Watkins Glen. Larson has driven respectfully all season, but it could be time to send a message. • Speaking of payback ... Brad Keselowski took the blame for spinning Martin Truex Jr . at Watkins Glen, and that issue is more likely than the above to be in the past. But it's Bristol, so one never really knows. • Joey Logano is going for his third consecutive win in the Bristol Night Race. No one's done that since Darrell Waltrip from 1981-83. Cale Yarborough is the only other driver to accomplish that feat. • The Chase Grid might get a turnover. Chris Buescher is just three points out of the top 30 in the points standings . If he makes up that deficit, he slides into the Chase field, knocking out someone with more points than him, but no wins -- likely Larson.
William Byron's new reality at Hendrick Motorsports starts sinking in
CONCORD, N.C. -- For William Byron, this trip to Hendrick Motorsports was different. As a fan of the organization with 11 Sprint Cup championships, Byron had visited the Concord, North Carolina, shop before. He peered through the windows at an organization he dreamed of driving for one day. Thursday, his multi-year contract in partnership with JR Motorsports was made official. Friday, he was back at the shop -- only this time wearing a black Hendrick polo shirt and a bright smile. "I've got a bunch of apparel and things I'm trying out, so I'm really excited about that," Byron said. "It's like a kid in a candy store. That's the cool part about it, but I also can't wait to get to know some of the guys and meet the crew chiefs." Team owner Rick Hendrick will give Byron a personal tour of the shop after this weekend's events at Bristol Motor Speedway . Hendrick came calling a few weeks ago, which Byron had no inkling would happen. Not when his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series owner, Kyle Busch Motorsports, also has Sprint Cup Series ties. "For Mr. Hendrick to put the deal together and to have the interest in bringing me along as a driver and not have any strings attached is just a really special opportunity," Byron said. "Not only was it a great fit meeting with them, but then when I heard what he had to say, what he was proposing, it's something that I just couldn't turn down." What was it like for an 18-year-old to meet the legendary car owner? "I was pretty nervous," Byron said with a laugh. "I was probably trembling a little bit. He just has such a good perspective on the sport and such good insight, so every minute that I got to listen and learn was really neat for me." There have been no talks or a timetable put in place for his future beyond 2017, when he will run in the NASCAR XFINITY Series in a JRM entry, Byron said. The immediate focus is the Camping World Truck Series championship. Byron leads the drivers points standings by 37 points after Bristol, on the strength of five wins. He also is locked into the series' inaugural Chase. "It's just one thing at a time," Byron said. "They want me to succeed at JR Motorsports and get to know the guys, get to know the culture, and that's the most important thing. But it's encouraging to know I have a future here, and that's really cool to me." The excitement of what's ahead will be hard for Byron to suppress. Chase Elliott set the bar with JR Motorsports in 2014 with an XFINITY Series championship, and Byron wants to try to match it. Teammates like Dale Earnhardt Jr . and Kasey Kahne are at his disposal. Jeff Gordon is still around, and his was one of the coolest phone calls Byron said he received. And Jimmie Johnson is someone Byron grew up idolizing and at whose house he once trick-or-treated. "Once we got up there, all the dads that were carting around the candy were really amazed," Byron said. "They didn't think he was going to open the door. It was really neat and something I'll always remember." As will this week, which Byron could only describe as a whirlwind. "It's such a surreal feeling," Byron said. "I'm really proud to be a part of it. It's fun to have something to want to race for like that, and it's going to really help the future because I'm so passionate about being here. That's always a good fit for everyone, and that's what I'm looking forward to the most."
When Jeff met Junior: Gordon recalls first meeting with Dale Jr.
RELATED: Latest updates, timeline of Dale Jr.'s recovery BRISTOL, Tenn. -- The first time he met Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Jeff Gordon never imagined that he would one day drive in relief for his Hendrick Motorsports teammate. Yet here Saturday night, Gordon will do just that, suiting up for the fourth consecutive race to drive the organization's No. 88 Chevrolet in place of Earnhardt in the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Earnhardt has been sidelined since mid-July due to concussion-like symptoms and the timing of his return has yet to be determined. Their first meeting came in the mid 1990s at North Wilkesboro Speedway when Gordon and Dale Earnhardt, Earnhardt Jr.'s father, were at the top of their game. The elder Earnhardt was already a legendary figure in the sport; Gordon was on his way to becoming one. The cheering and jeering of the Earnhardt and Gordon fans was a weekly occurrence at tracks across the country. That the two would go on to become both friends and business associates seemed unfathomable to those in the grandstands. "I remember sitting there on pit road and Dale Sr. and he came walking by … it was the first time I ever met (Junior)," Gordon told NASCAR.com recently. "They were getting ready to qualify; I don't remember if he was driving a Late Model maybe … I don't exactly remember but I knew he'd been doing some racing and was building some momentum. "I remember that he was very respectful. It was cool to meet him and then shortly after that see him rise as quick as he did." Gordon "retired" from competition at the end of 2015, with four series titles and 93 career victories. The last time he visited Bristol, he was working in the television booth, just two months into his new role as a FOX NASCAR analyst. RELATED: Remembering some of the top moments at Bristol Now, he's back behind the wheel at a track where he notched five wins and five of 81 career poles. Hendrick officials announced July 14 that doctors had not cleared Earnhardt Jr. to compete the following weekend at New Hampshire. Alex Bowman stepped in and finished 26th in his only start with the team. Gordon took over the driving duties for races at Indianapolis (13th ), Pocono (27th ) and most recently Watkins Glen (14th ). Getting back in the car, and the No. 88 in particular, was an unusual feeling for Gordon although the 45-year-old certainly garnered his share of the spotlight throughout his career. "I knew it was a big story," he said of the return, "but still until you’re living it and the reality of it is there, you don't know how your heart's going to beat, how your hands are going to sweat. That first time on track at Indy, I was sweating. And not just because of the heat. "It would be different if I had been out for one week or two weeks. But I'd been out for eight months. I hadn't really driven this package. There's added pressure because of the situation, it being Dale Earnhardt Jr .'s car. To me the pressure was more about the performance." Earnhardt, who also missed two races in 2012 after suffering a concussion, is a two-time champion in NASCAR’s XFINITY Series and has 26 Sprint Cup victories. His absence from competition has seen him fall from 13th to 21st in the points standings . His move to the XFINITY Series (then Busch Grand National) is one Gordon hasn't forgotten either. Earnhardt made one start in the series '96 and eight in '97 before going full-time the following season. "I went to see Dale Sr. about some business and he said 'Hey come check out Dale Jr.'s car for Watkins Glen," Gordon said. "… I looked at the car and remember it wasn't fancy, wasn't some super premium piece of equipment. The shifter on it was so long. Total old school. At that point we had been making really nice transmissions, road course cars, short shifters and all those things." Gordon said he took the opportunity for a bit of friendly ribbing. "I gave Senior a hard time," he said. "I was like 'What's this? You're going to make him go to Watkins Glen in this? That shifter is just wrong. This car is not at all what he deserves.'" Earnhardt wasn't swayed by the comments, according to Gordon. "He goes, 'Oh no. I'm going to make him work for it. He's not going to have it easy; he's going to work on it himself. I'm not going give him the best equipment. He's not going to learn anything being in the best equipment. He's going to have to drive some mediocre equipment so he can learn.' "And I thought that was pretty cool." &amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;gt;
Justin Allgaier to fill in for ailing Annett
Justin Allgaier will make his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start of 2016 Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway . Allgaier will pilot the No. 46 HScott Motorsports Chevrolet in place of Michael Annett , who is experiencing flu-like symptoms, the team announced on Twitter. Due to flu-like symptoms, Michael Annett won't compete in tonight's event. Justin Allgaier will drive the No. 46 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet. — HScott Motorsports (@Team_HSM) August 20, 2016 Allgaier drove the No. 51 for HScott Motorsports in 2014 and 2015. He currently drives in the NASCAR XFINITY Series for JR Motorsports. Allgaier finished second in Friday night's XFINITY Series race, and he's currently third in the series points standings . In 22 Sprint Cup Series starts this year, Annett's best finish is 20th at Daytona International Speedway in July.
McDowell earns first XFINITY Series win at Road America
RELATED: Full race results " Standings " Chase Grid ELKHART LAKE, Wis. -- Michael McDowell ’s Twitter handle is @Mc_Driver. After Saturday, he may want to consider changing it -- to something like @Mc_Winner. McDowell led 24 of the final 25 laps of the NASCAR XFINITY Series Road America 180 Fired Up by Johnsonville for his first victory in 94 series races. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular finished .534 seconds ahead of his Richard Childress Racing teammate Brendan Gaughan after two late restarts, including a green-white-checkered that pushed the race to 48 laps from its scheduled 45. Chip Ganassi Racing ’s Brennan Poole was the top-finishing rookie, third, in his first start at Road America , after starting 12th. The top three drivers were in Chevrolets. The victory was the perfect finish to some unfinished business McDowell had at the 14-turn, 4.048-mile racetrack. In 2011, he started from the pole position and led a race-high 30 laps, but ultimately finished 12th. In 2012, he started second and finished second. "It means a tremendous amount to me," said McDowell, who will compete in Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway . "I've been so close here at Road America . To finally finish it off was huge." It almost wasn't, as Gaughan's late charge nearly spoiled McDowell's day. The 2014 race winner spent much of the day running in the second half of the top 10 after getting out of pit stop sequence with the leaders. On the penultimate lap, though, Gaughan bolted from fourth-place to second after making a three-wide pass of Daniel Suarez and Justin Marks in Turn 5. From there, McDowell -- and victory -- was within reach. "When you're racing your teammate you've got to have a little more respect maybe than normal," Gaughan said. "I almost got close enough to him to make him make a mistake." McDowell didn't waver and pushed the Childress team's winning streak at Road America to three, joining Paul Menard (2015) and Gaughan (2014). The win was not without incident. Team Penske 's Alex Tagliani , who started from the pole position for the second time in two NASCAR XFINITY Series races at Road America , maintained that a Lap-29 tangle with McDowell was deliberate. "We were the car to beat," said Tagliani, who led 17 laps and had just regained the top spot going into Turn 5 when he was bumped from behind by McDowell and spun going into Turn 6. "The opportunity presented itself and he took the fastest car on the track out." Tagliani, who finished second here in 2014, wound up seventh. McDowell, when asked about the incident during his post-race press conference, said it wasn't intentional. "He went wide in Turn 5 and I got under ( Justin Marks ) and (Tagliani)," McDowell said. "I was alongside of him and he just decided to turn in. Once we made contact, I just came off the brake and pushed him out of the way. And the reason I did that is because if had I not, I'd have been stuck there too and I would have got run over." The race was slowed by six caution flags for 13 laps, including one for light rain. Elliott Sadler leads the NASCAR XFINITY Series championship standings by 47 points over Daniel Suarez .
Kahne seeks win while in familiar Chase bubble spot
RELATED: Standings heading into Sunday BROOKLYN, Mich. -- It's an unfortunate yet familiar position for Kasey Kahne , driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports . Unfortunate because with only three races remaining before the 16-team field is set for this year's NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup , Kahne finds himself winless on the season and 17th in points . Familiar because the 36-year-old has been here before. Kahne slid into the Chase field in 2014, the inaugural season of the format awarding positions to full-time competitors that managed at least one victory through the season's first 26 races, with a late victory at Atlanta, just one stop from the cutoff event. Three races remain before this year's field is set, beginning with Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 here at Michigan International Speedway (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Then it's on to Darlington and Richmond to determine the remainder of this year's Chase field before the playoff opener at Chicagoland Speedway . Two years ago, the final three-race run consisted of stops at Bristol, Atlanta and Richmond. "I don't think that was anything like this year; I think this is a lot different," Kahne said Saturday at Michigan. "That was a great night for us and we were right there all night, got in the right position on restarts … we were fast all night. I think restarts were big for us. I could run really fast for 15 laps. It's been a while since we've been like that." Indeed. The Atlanta win was Kahne's 17th but it was also his last. He enters Sunday's race shadowed by a 70-race winless streak. In the meantime, Kahne's Hendrick teammates have won 14 times since his Atlanta victory. "For us, I think it's been so many areas, so many little things that add up to being four-tenths (of a second) off per lap often," he said. "I don't think it's from a lack of effort because the effort is there. But it's maybe working in the right areas or trying to understand things that will make it easier for me to drive for my driving style. That's been a huge part of the last couple of years. "It doesn't matter what other guys are doing, (it's) 'what will help Kasey? What will help him with his car because he drives a little different?' I feel like this weekend we've kind of done our thing and it seems to be working pretty well so car." Ten Sprint Cup drivers have one or more wins this season and sit inside the top 16, virtually assuring themselves of a slot in the Chase. Tony Stewart and Chris Buescher also have one win each, and while further back in points , their status likely leaves only four Chase positions up for grabs. Seventeen others are still mathematically alive, should they earn a win in one of the next three races. If no different winners emerge, points will be used to determine the remaining spots. Kahne trails the holder of the last spot in the Chase Grid, Ryan Newman by 39 points , with Trevor Bayne and Kyle Larson sandwiched between the two and chasing one of the final playoff spots as well. Austin Dillon , Chase Elliott and Jamie McMurray and Newman are just on the right side of the Chase bubble as of now. Hendrick drivers qualified second (Johnson), fifth (Elliott), sixth ( Alex Bowman driving in place of Dale Earnhardt Jr .) and 11th (Kahne) at Michigan. It is the seventh time this season Kahne will start from the No. 11 spot on the 40-car grid. "We run 13th to 18th every week; we qualify there and we race there," Kahne said. "That's just the speed we have. And then we do the same thing the next week. It's nice to do something a little different this week and to have speed to show it's helping." Kahne, 10th in Saturday's morning practice and fourth in the weather-shortened final session, has qualified for the Chase five times, the last coming in '14.
Heavy crash sidelines Bell, Gallagher early at Michigan
RELATED: Results " Standings BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Spencer Gallagher said he didn't know how fast he was going when his No. 23 Chevrolet collided with the No. 4 Toyota of Christopher Bell . "I don't want to know," a shaken Gallagher said after exiting the care center Saturday, the Careers for Veterans 200 under caution and workers clearing debris from the hard two-truck crash. Bell, his No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota running second, had charged inside of leader Cole Custer (JR Motorsports) in Turn 3 on Lap 75 of the 100-lap NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event. But the back end of the vehicle tried to pass the front end -- spinning up the track and into the path of the oncoming entry of Gallagher. The impact was frightening. So much so that Gallagher, after exiting his truck, quickly made his way back to Bell's damaged vehicle. "That was a vicious hit for me so I had to see that he was fine," Gallagher, battling for fourth at the time, said. "Everyone is jockeying so hard for position and it's so easy to pull another guy around, not even trying to, just racing hard. … "Poor Christopher got sucked around on the bottom there; I tried to get up and away from him as quickly as I could and couldn't get it done in time. After I came to rest, I didn't know where I hit him but I didn't think I got him in any kind of a good place. I got out and took off running to him because I was afraid for the safety of a fellow competitor. "I was just hoping so much in my heart he was all right. It put the fear of God in me, seeing how that unfolded. Apologies to the safety officials for having to chase after my dumb ass but I needed to see with my own eyes that he was OK." The race, delayed by rain, was won by Brett Moffitt with a last-lap pass. Bell, who was also was not injured, was credited with a 24th-place finish; Gallagher was scored in 25th. "Just really bummed for everybody who works on this (truck)," Bell said afterward, "because we had a really fast Tundra today. I felt like I did a really good job all race just kind of biding my time. "I knew I had a fast truck and was just trying to take care of it. I got the opportunity there late in the race … maybe should have waited a little bit but had the opportunity. I tried to take it and it didn't work out." Bell fell to seventh in points but with a win at St. Louis earlier this season, is basically assured of a spot in this year's inaugural Chase for the series. "Kind of frustrated with myself there," he said. "Still had a lot of race to go. … Maybe it was a little too early to go for it." Gallagher dropped two spots to 14th. Officials called Gallagher to the hauler after the race for exiting his truck and approaching another vehicle. "They're going to want to talk to me," he said. "I understand it's against … policy but in that moment I was concerned about Christopher. … There were plenty of safety officials around me, there were no active race cars around so I took off running; I needed to see him with my own eyes."
Chase-clinching scenarios for Bristol
With four races remaining in the regular season, 10 drivers have clinched a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , assuming each start the remaining races. The 10 clinchers: Brad Keselowski , Kyle Busch , Carl Edwards , Jimmie Johnson , Matt Kenseth , Kevin Harvick , Kurt Busch , Joey Logano , Martin Truex Jr . and Denny Hamlin . Everyone who has a win this season is locked in -- except for Tony Stewart and Chris Buescher , both of whom have yet to clinch a top-30 spot. A number of drivers who currently have no wins can clinch this weekend, but only if they win at Bristol Motor Speedway and leave the race with at least a 136-point lead over Stewart and Buescher. There's also the potential for the points leader to be a guaranteed winner after race No. 26 at Richmond, the final regular-season race. If that's the case, the below drivers would only need to have a 136-point lead over Buescher. The XFINITY Series clinch scenarios follow as well. Possible to clinch: Tony Stewart : (1 Win, 389 Points , +97 Points Ahead of 31st) -- Could clinch a Top 30 position with help Possible to clinch at Bristol with a win: Ryan Newman (0 Wins, 562 Points , +270 Points Ahead of 31st) Chase Elliott (0 Wins, 561 Points , +269 Points Ahead of 31st) Austin Dillon (0 Wins, 559 Points , +267 Points Ahead of 31st) Jamie McMurray (0 Wins, 550 Points , +258 Points Ahead of 31st) Kyle Larson (0 Wins, 520 Points , +228 Points Ahead of 31st) Trevor Bayne (0 Wins, 512 Points , +220 Points Ahead of 31st) Kasey Kahne (0 Wins, 509 Points , +217 Points Ahead of 31st Ryan Blaney (0 Wins, 502 Points , +210 Points Ahead of 31st) AJ Allmendinger (0 Wins, 486 Points , +194 Points Ahead of 31st) Ricky Stenhouse Jr . (0 Wins, 475 Points , +183 Points Ahead of 31st) Dale Earnhardt Jr .* (0 Wins, 461 Points , +169 Points Ahead of 31st) Paul Menard (0 Wins, 422 Points , +130 Points Ahead of 31st) Possible to clinch at Bristol with a win plus help: Greg Biffle (0 Wins, 416 Points , +124 Points Ahead of 31st) Danica Patrick (0 Wins, 413 Points , +121 Points Ahead of 31st) Clint Bowyer (0 Wins, 397 Points , +105 Points Ahead of 31st) Aric Almirola (0 Wins, 379 Points , +87 Points Ahead of 31st) *Not currently entered at Bristol XFINITY Series The following drivers have already clinched a spot in the top 30 of the points standings , so a win would lock them into the Chase field -- Ty Dillon , Justin Allgaier , Brendan Gaughan , Brennan Poole , Brandon Jones , Darrell Wallace Jr ., Ryan Reed , Ryan Sieg , Blake Koch , Ross Chastain , Dakoda Armstrong and Jeremy Clements . Ryan Preece would clinch a top 30 spot in the points with a win, so he'd be in the Chase, too, if that happened. With a win, and some help in the points , Ray Black Jr . and BJ McLeod could qualify for the Chase.