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From The Marbles

Craziest Moment: Chain reaction contact on a restart has major Chase implications

Nick Bromberg
From The Marbles

An early race stack up on a restart left Kasey Kahne with a busted engine and a domino effect that would ripple throughout the Sprint Cup points standings.

On lap 32, Jeff Gordon was first in the outside lane and spun his tires, a precursor of things to come -- the outside lane never was able to get moving on restarts. That accordioned the field behind him, and Mark Martin got into the back of Jeff Burton who got into the back of Kasey Kahne who got into the back of Jimmie Johnson who got into Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Yeah, it was a mess.

All the drivers involved had damage, but none worse than Kahne, whose car started smoking after the contact. The team was forced to take the car behind the wall and make engine repairs and Kahne ended up 36th.

Kahne entered the AdvoCare 500 in 8th in the standings. Despite the poor finish, he clinched a Chase berth Sunday night, but instead of hanging on in the top 10, he's now in 12th, occupying a Wild Card spot.

Right now, that hurts Ryan Newman the most. Had Kahne stayed in the top 10 and Kurt Busch had been kept out, Newman would be occupying the second Wild Card spot. Now, with one race to go before the Chase Newman is still on the outside looking in.

8. Joey Logano, 729 points (1 win): Logano could have all but sealed a Chase spot Sunday night, but fell back on a late restart and never was able to climb back towards the lead. Logano seems safe, but the 25 point lead he has over Martin Truex Jr. could disappear in a hurry.

9. Greg Biffle, 727 (1 win): The same can be said for Biffle, who has never moved over, or even close to the dangerous side of the Chase bubble. He was 15th Sunday and another 15th place finish gets him in.

10. Kurt Busch, 719 points (0 wins): Busch moves up two spots and back into the top 10. For Busch, it's a head-to-head race with Jeff Gordon now with an eye on Kasey Kahne. If Kahne moves into the top 10, it's likely at the expense of Busch. And subsequently, at the benefit of Ryan Newman.

11. Jeff Gordon, 713 points (0 wins): How much does Jeff Gordon's performance last year at Richmond affect your view of his chances this year? There's no telling what the Kurt Busch wheel of destruction could land on. It could be a win, or it could be 30th.

12. Kasey Kahne, 709 points (2 wins): If you're Kahne and the No. 5 team, don't you go for broke for a third win in the hopes you get into the top 10? If those things happened, it'd mean Kahne starts the Chase just six points back of Matt Kenseth. As of now, he's 15 back.

13. Martin Truex Jr., 704 points (1 win): Truex better find himself a sturdier cast after the one he had at Atlanta melted off. The gameplan for Truex seems pretty simple: stay ahead of Ryan Newman and hope Gordon doesn't win if he doesn't himself.

14. Ryan Newman, 699 points (1 win): The gameplan for Newman seems pretty simple: stay six spots ahead of Truex and hope Gordon doesn't win if he doesn't himself. Yes, that sentence looks familiar, but can it be summed up any better?

15. Brad Keselowski, 691 points (0 wins): Woof. The gameplan for Keselowski is decidedly not simple after his engine went sour at Atlanta. His best case scenario is to win and hope for the worst for a one-win driver ahead of him and for Kahne to get into the top 10. Anything can happen, right?

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