"Road to Richmond" Motors in to Michigan International Speedway

Only Three Races Remain Before Richmond

Race to the Chase

Michigan International Speedway is the next stop on the "Road to Richmond"



Three Races Remain Before “One Last Race to Make the Chase” at Richmond

With Michigan International Speedway this weekend’s stop on the “Road to Richmond,” it would appear—on paper—that this is a chance for the Roush Fenway drivers to climb in the standings.  Jack Roush’s stable of drivers has enjoyed plenty of success at Michigan, and several of his drivers will need to finish strong before coming to Richmond International Raceway on Saturday, September 12 for the Chevy Rock & Roll 400—“One Last Race to Make the Chase.”

Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth—all Roush Fenway drivers—are in the top-5 when it comes to driver ratings at Michigan International Speedway.  Edwards (114.0 driver rating) is currently sixth in the point standings but has zero wins on the season.  Biffle (107.2 driver rating) has climbed to 10th-place, but is less than 100 points ahead of the 13th spot.  Kenseth (103.4 driver rating) is the last one currently in the Chase at the 12th position—just 58 points ahead of 13th-place Kyle Busch.

Biffle and Kenseth would welcome strong runs to gain ground on Busch, 14th-place Brian Vickers (96 points behind Kenseth), 15th-place Clint Bowyer (99 points behind Kenseth) and David Reutimann (155 points behind Kenseth).  But Edwards wants a win as much as anyone, because after the Chevy Rock & Roll 400, the points will be reset to 5,000, with 10 bonus points awarded for each pre-Chase win.  Even if Edwards maintains his consistent runs, he’ll start in a hole, as Mark Martin (11th in the point standings) has the most wins among Chase contenders, with four—good for an extra 40 points.  Juan Pablo Montoya, Ryan Newman and Biffle—all Chase contenders—have zero wins, as well.

On to the bubble situation.  Here’s how things shook out after Monday’s road course race at Watkins Glen International:

Kyle Busch once again finds himself on the outside of the top-12 in the Sprint Cup Series point standings. The good news for Busch is he gained valuable points with a 4th-place finish and is now just 58 points behind 12th-place Kenseth, who finished 14th.

Brian Vickers has been spectacular at Michigan International Speedway as of late. In his last four races, he has finished no worse than 9th—that includes a career-best Michigan finish of 4th. Overall, he has accumulated six top-10s in 11 starts. Going in to the weekend, Vickers is in 14th place (96 points behind 12th-place Kenseth) and is coming off an 11th-place finish last weekend at Watkins Glen.

Clint Bowyer was buoyed by a 9th-place finish at Watkins Glen, but he’ll need to really turn it on at Michigan this weekend in order to make up the 99-point deficit behind Kenseth, along with Busch and Vickers, who he would need to leapfrog to gain a spot in the top-12.  Michigan hasn’t been kind to Bowyer.  His average finish of 23.0 is the lowest among Chase contenders.

Ryan Newman, Biffle, Mark Martin and Kenseth are all within 100 points of 13th-place Kyle Busch. Although Newman (9th), Biffle (10th), Martin (11th) and Kenseth (12th) are in the Chase today, a poor performance, coupled with a strong run from one of the “outsiders,” could spell disaster with only two races left before Richmond.

The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup culminates at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday, September 12, at the Chevy Rock & Roll 400—“One Last Race to Make the Chase.”  Once the checkered flag flies, the field will be set for the series championship.  Tickets, which start at $40, are on sale now and can be purchased by logging on to www.rir.com or calling 866-455-RACE (7223).

The weekend starts on Friday, September 11, with the Virginia 529 College Savings 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race “under the lights.”  Friday’s ticket includes practice and Fas Mart Pole Qualifying for the Chevy Rock & Roll 400, as well as practice and WRIC-TV8 Pole Qualifying for the Virginia 529 College Savings 250.  Tickets are $45 (reserved) and $35 (general admission) and children 12 and under are admitted free with a ticketed adult in general admission sections on Friday only.  Log on to www.rir.com or call 866-455-RACE (7223) for tickets and information.

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