Field set for the Chase for the Cup: Fan reaction

The Wonderful Pistashios 400 at Richmond International Raceway, held on September 10, 2011, set the field for the Chase for the Cup, which is the championship series in NASCAR Sprint Cup. The race was an exciting one, filled with crashes and close calls, as is expected in the final push to make the Chase. Kevin Harvick was the winner of the Wonderful Pistashios 400. There were three spots up for grabs for the Chase for the Cup going into the race.

Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman and Brad Keselowsi had all clinched spots in the Chase. After the race, the final three spots were set. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin will be the final three drivers competing for the Chase for the Cup.

The race was a tense one, with drivers taking more chances, and getting into more wrecks, than in a usual race. Clint Bowyer had an outside chance of making the pack, but spun out. While trying to get back on the track, he went too slow into traffic and caused a pile up. Bowyer recently found out that his chances of continuing with Richard Childress Racing were slim due to a lack of sponsorship and a spot in the Chase could have helped his situation. Unfortunately, even though he got back out in the race, he missed out on the Chase.

Drivers were well aware of the significance of the day after the race. In commemoration of the tragedy of September 11, 2001, several cars were repainted in patriotic colors for the race. Military members and first responders were honored in a ceremony that took place before the race started. Ryan Newman's camouflage painted car also had painted on it the names of all the individuals who were killed in the plane crash at the Pentagon on that day. Laps of silence were observed.

Kristin Watt has been a NASCAR Winston Cup, now Sprint Cup, fan for as long as she can remember starting way back when she was a little girl and her mother would sit on the couch with her every Sunday during the season to watch the races. Back then, they were fans of Bill Elliot and newcomer Davey Allison.

Note: This article was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Sign up here to start publishing your own sports content.

Follow Yahoo! Sports' NASCAR coverage on Twitter.
Updated Monday, Sep 12, 2011