Chase Watch: It's almost all over now for Newman, McMurray

Jay Busbee

With only one race left until the Chase, it's time to start considering who'll make it to the dance, and who will be left home alone by the phone. Let's take a look at the contenders, shall we?

In the Chase, for now: Kevin Harvick continues his regular-season roll, followed by Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards, Jeff Burton, Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin, Greg Biffle and Clint Bowyer. In other words, pretty much exactly the way it's been for several weeks now.

Outside looking in: Ryan Newman fought his way up to "last guy out" status. Right behind him are Jamie McMurray and Mark Martin. They're back, way back, but you never know ...

Movin' on up: Tony Stewart's victory in Atlanta propelled him up to fourth place, and both Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch also moved up two spots. Further down, Newman's strong run, combined with his brief moment in the lead, put him in position to run at Bowyer. If only there were five more races ...

Bottoming out: Denny Hamlin's Dead Freakin' Last-place finish at Atlanta dropped him five spots to 10th, but that really doesn't matter, because he'll be right back up in first (or, at worst, second) when points are reset this time next week. Below the cut line, McMurray and Martin both stumbled, as did Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr. You know, for what all that's worth.

Prospects: If Bowyer simply runs smoothly and finishes within a few spots of Newman and McMurray, he's in the Chase. Still, Richmond's an unpredictable place, and you never know when something might jump up and bite Bowyer early in the race. Keep your head on a swivel and your hands at 10 and 2, Clint!

All right, your turn. Which drivers do you predict will make the cut, and which will be watching the Chase from the outside with a tear in their eye?