Biffle on Chase bubble, but Johnson doesn't see it bursting

Reid Spencer - NASCAR Wire Service Friday, Sep 05 1797

Jimmie Johnson has good news for Greg Biffle -- if the six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion happens to be right, that is.

Biffle currently is the last driver inside the Chase grid on points, and he'd love for Johnson's handicapping of Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 (7:30 p.m. ET on ABC) at Richmond International Raceway to be right on the mark.

"I feel like the winner of tomorrow night's race will either be the No. 4 (Kevin Harvick) or the No. 24 (Jeff Gordon) or the No. 2 (Brad Keselowski)," Johnson said before Friday morning's opening practice at the .75-mile short track.

"So I think points will set the field here at the end, and we'll get to Chicago and get started."

That would be just fine with Biffle, who has a clear path to NASCAR's postseason if any one of 15 drivers -- including Harvick, Gordon and Keselowski -- happens to win Saturday night's race.

If any of the 13 drivers who have already won a regular-season race should triumph at Richmond, or if Matt Kenseth (already in the Chase on points) or Ryan Newman (the winless driver immediately ahead of Biffle in the standings) should take the checkered flag, Biffle simply has to finish 22nd or better to lock up one of the two remaining Chase spots.

If he leads a lap, Biffle can finish 23rd or better. If he leads the most laps, Biffle can claim a Chase spot by running 24th.

No doubt Biffle won't mind too much if Johnson's prediction comes true.

On the other hand, the ideal scenario for the No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing team would be for Johnson to be wrong -- provided Biffle wins the race.

The 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup kicks off Sept. 14 at Chicagoland Speedway (2 p.m. ET on ESPN).