The Road To Richmond” motors its way into Michigan International Speedway this weekend, with all the attention on the “wild card” spots. There are only four races left, including the Federated Auto Parts 400 on Saturday, September 8, at Richmond International Raceway, for the bubble drivers to make their mark and race their way into the 2012 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Looking through the top 20, there are a few drivers who are feeling the heat and need to do something to be sure they have a spot in the Chase. With Marcos Ambrose winning last weekend at The Glen, we’ve now seen six different drivers win among the drivers ranked 11th through 20th in the point standings. These last three races before “The Road to Richmond” culminates at Richmond International Raceway for the Federated Auto Parts 400 will be extremely critical in determining who’s a contender and who’s a pretender.
Here are some drivers that are hoping their luck doesn’t run out in the Irish Hills of Michigan:
Carl Edwards There’s no doubt Edwards is feeling a bit of pressure, sitting 12th in points with no wins on the season. Dale Earnhardt Jr. broke his winless streak at MIS in June and Edwards is hoping this track provides that same bit of luck for him. He has two career wins and comes in with the fourth-best driver rating at Michigan (104.7).
Jeff Gordon If the field were to be set today, Gordon would find himself on the outside looking in. He is currently sitting 15th in points with one win on the season. In addition to his two career wins, Gordon has 25 top-10s and the sixth-best driver rating (96.7) this weekend.
Marcos Ambrose With his victory last weekend, Ambrose has thrown himself into the middle of the pursuit for one of the two “wild card” spots. Sitting 17th in points with one victory, he will likely need to win at least one more race to earn his first career chase berth. After winning the pole in June with a blazing fast speed of 203.241, Ambrose should be among the favorites this weekend.
Ryan Newman Currently 13th in points, with one win, Newman provisionally holds the second and final “wild card” spot. Newman has two career victories at MIS and finished 15th in June. With his Chase dreams on the line, Newman will be looking to return to victory lane in Michigan for the first time since 2004.
Expect these drivers to continue to be in the thick of the 2012 Race to The Chase, as the road ends at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday, September 8 for “One Last Race to Make The Chase”—the Federated Auto Parts 400. Once the checkered flag flies, the field will be set for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Only those in the top 10 and two “wild card” positions will be eligible for the championship over the final 10 races of the season.