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Nick Bromberg

Ten drivers locked into Chase going into Richmond

Nick Bromberg
From The Marbles

Eight drivers joined Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon Sunday night by clinching spots in the 2010 Chase.

The eight included Kyle Busch Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards, Jeff Burton, Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin. They're all in. And all Greg Biffle needs to do is start next Saturday's race and he's in.

For whatever reason, Hamlin wondered after engine blowing his engine if he was going to make it to the Chase.

The engine expiration dropped Hamlin to 10th in the Cup standings, but he's 198 points ahead of Ryan Newman, who's in 13th place. That's three more than a driver can earn from winning and leading the most laps.

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Biffle was involved in a crash after being three wide with Ryan Newman and Kasey Kahne. Biffle is 11th, but he's 161 points ahead. Since the most a driver can make up in one race is 161 points, all Biffle needs to do to clinch is start Saturday night's race at Richmond.

Clint Bowyer remained in 12th, 117 points ahead of Newman. It will take a dramatic swing for Newman to move past Bowyer at Richmond, a place where Bowyer has had great success. (Bowyer won the 2008 spring race at Richmond, also known as the race where Kyle Busch and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. got together racing for the lead)

And falling into the "Hail Mary" category are Jamie McMurray and Mark Martin. McMurray is in 14th, 128 points behind Bowyer, and Martin is in 15th, 147 points behind.

But hey, East Carolina connected on a Hail Mary Sunday, so there's a chance -- albeit an absolutely miniscule one -- that McMurray or Martin, or Newman, for that matter, could sneak in.

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