The final race of the regular NASCAR Sprint Cup season took place last night at Richmond International Raceway. Carl Edwards crossed the finishline and took the No.99 car to victory lane, clenching his spot (5th) in the Sprint Cup standings. “That’s my pit crew that won this race for us,” said Edwards, a first-time winner in Richmond. “Just an awesome job by them.”
The Chase to the Sprint Cup drivers are now official, and the following drivers will all be competing in the next 12 races for a championship.
- Matt Kenseth (2015pts)
- Jimmie Johnson (2012pts)
- Kyle Busch (2012pts)
- Kevin Harvick (2006pts)
- Carl Edwards (2006pts)
- Joey Logano (2003pts)
- Greg Biffle (2003pts)
- Clint Bowyer (2000pts)
- Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2000pts)
- Kurt Busch (2000pts)
- (Wild Card Slot) Kasey Kahne (2000pts)
- (Wild Card Slot) Martin Truex Jr. (2000pts)
A few drivers who were left out of the Chase were reigning champion Brad Keselowski, four-time champion Jeff Gordon, and the well-positioned Ryan Newman.
Gordon was looking good for a win at the beginning of last night's race, who benefitted from his pole position, but Keselowski and Kurt Busch were soon battling him for first in the first 50 laps. Newman had a good chance to win last night at Richmond, who passed Edwards for first place with 10 laps. When Clint Bowyer spun out shortly after, a caution was called, the majority of the field went into pit road, and Newman dropped to fifth for the restart. Newman ended up with a top 5 finish, but not enough to land him a slot in the Chase.
“We did everything we needed up until the last caution,” Newman said. “I’m not sure exactly what unfolded there. We still had the opportunity to win it on pit road, and we didn’t.”
Gordon, who remains winless, finished in the top 10, but also didn't have enough points to clench a spot in the Chase this season. “Yeah, it’s unfortunate,” Gordon said. “We haven’t had the kind of year that this team is capable of.”
The drivers will head to Chicagoland for the GEICO 400 next Sunday (September 15) at 3pm.