RICHMOND, Va. -- Carl Edwards won Saturday's Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway, but the bigger story was which drivers made the 10th Chase for the Sprint Cup.
The 12 drivers that made NASCAR's playoffs are the 10 locked-in competitors, Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle and Joey Logano, along with two wild-card entries, Kasey Kahne and Martin Truex Jr., who was forced to drive with a broken wrist suffered two weeks ago.
Kurt Busch became the first driver in Chase history to make the playoffs driving for a single-car team.
Falling short of making the Chase was four-time champion Jeff Gordon, who missed the playoffs for only the second time in his career, and by a mere one point), Ryan Newman (who lost in a points tiebreaker to Truex) and defending Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski.
Gordon and Keselowski both didn't help their cause during the first 26 races, as neither managed a win.
Keselowski became the second former Chase champion to win in one year and then miss the playoffs the following year (Tony Stewart won the title in 2005 and missed the Chase in 2006).
Penske Racing teammate Joey Logano will now be the only Chase competitor for his organization, but Keselowski said Friday that he believes Logano has the ability to win the championship.
As for the race itself, Clint Bowyer spun as a result of a blown tire and brought out the caution flag with seven laps remaining, tightening the field for the final restart with three laps left.
Kurt Busch finished second in the race, followed by Newman, Jamie McMurray, Paul Menard, Matt Kenseth, Truex, Gordon, Mark Martin and rookie Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Bowyer's spin and resulting caution flag completely changed the outcome when it came to who made the Chase and who didn't.
Newman was leading the race and en route to his second win of the season and a wild card spot in the Chase. But he came off pit road in fifth place.
And even though he rallied to finish third behind Edwards and Kurt Busch, Newman ended up in a tie with Truex, who finished seventh and earned the second wild card spot via a tiebreaker - by virtue of his second-place finish at Texas back in April.
Gordon was in the Chase by two points before the yellow, but when Logano took the wave around and moved up to 22nd in the standings, Gordon ended the race one point short in his bid to make the Chase.
Paul Menard was the leader on the final restart, but Edwards jumped the start and won the race.
Keselowski did all he could to find a way into this year's Chase for the Championship, leading the most laps as the race entered its final 100 laps, but ultimately fell short.
Gordon led the first 49 laps after winning the pole, but then ran into all kinds of problems including an ill-handling race car. On lap 224, he was forced to make an unscheduled pit stop because of a loose right-front wheel. This dropped Gordon two laps off the pace.
But he raced his way back into the lead lap thanks to the third caution flag and those fresh tires.
Logano, who had six straight top-10 finishes entering the Richmond race, struggled from the get-go and was back in 27th place with 100 laps to go but once again rallied back to make the Chase for the first time in his career.
NOTES: Jeff Burton said his decision to leave Richard Childress Racing at season's end was due to the organization still looking for funding for the 31 team and he had already told car owner Richard Childress that he wanted to cut back his schedule in 2015. "The financial realities for next year were obvious to both Richard and me," said Burton. "So, we talked about it and both made the decision to make this move for the team's future." Burton said he is not sure what the future holds for him: "I don't know what I'm going to do next year. I'm just going to have a good time for the next 11 races, just go and race my butt off and see what happens." Ryan Newman is expected to be named the new driver for the 31 team. ... Five-time champion Jimmie Johnson became a father for the second time at 2:02 a.m. Friday. Lydia Norriss Johnson weighed in at five pounds and 10 ounces and was 19 inches long.