Atlanta Motor Speedway marks just two more races until NASCAR goes into it's own post-season. The top-10 in the points along with the two winningest drivers in positions 11-20 will go after the 2013 Sprint Cup trophy.
The battle for those wild card spots is tight; even just trying to maintain in the top-10 has shown to be a problem for some drivers. But this season it appears as though it will come down to the wire to determine who all will compete for a championship.
Can RPM drivers put their name in the mix? There's a chance, but it's a long shot.
Currently the highest-ranked RPM driver is Aric Almirola, currently 18th in the points. Near the end of last year, this team found a lot of strength in the 1.5-mile program as he clearly had the best car at Kansas, and then again finished in the top-10 later in the year at Charlotte. This year, however, his statistics have not been as great. He was flirting with the top-10 early this season, but some unfortunate incidents have dropped him way out of the Chase.
The two "Wild Card" drivers currently sit 14th and 15th, so the hope would be for both those teams to have struggles and Almirola to win at least one of the next two races. His best shot certainly is in Atlanta, but even then it is still a long shot.
While Almirola is the top driver for RPM currently in the standings, the one that was thought to be in the Wild Card race would have been Marcos Ambrose. He was picked to win at Watkins Glen in early August, but suddenly when he was caught in traffic, he was in a place he didn't want to be and found himself on the hook following a major accident late in the going.
Ambrose is running a string of back-to-back top-10 finishes at Michigan and Bristol, but he is buried in 23rd in the standings.
The only possible way he can make the Chase is major problems for those ahead of him, plus he would need to win one race, if not both, just to secure his opportunity.
Can either of these two drivers make it into the Chase, of course, but it will take a lot of help. But at the moment, odds are that neither team will make it. They are just in it for pride at this point and wins.