At this rate, Kurt Busch isn't going to need a win to get into the Chase.
After falling outside of the top 10 because of a slow pit stop, Busch charged back through the field to finish third during Sunday's race at Michigan and is now 9th in the points standings.
"We stuck with our game plan," Busch said, about the team's pit strategy. "At one point we were buried deep, 14th on one of the restarts. I was a little frustrated at that point, knowing we had a much better car. But our weaknesses were restarts today, trying to maneuver in traffic."
"But lo and behold, got fired up, sometimes I get lucky, and opening opened up on the outside. I think I came on that restart from 14th to sixth. It was a game‑changer. That one moment was our race."
Since Busch doesn't have a win this season, being in the top 10 is vital, especially after Joey Logano's win Sunday, which added another driver to the now-cavalcade of drivers with wins below Busch.
8. Brad Keselowski (667 points): Keselowski wanted to try to stretch his fuel to the end, but crew chief Paul Wolfe and owner Roger Penske wanted him to pit. Keselowski pitted under caution and finished 12th. Had he run out of gas, he would have ended up in Mark Martin territory. (27th)
9. Busch (-2 points to Keselowski): One of the favorites at Bristol?
10. Greg Biffle (-4 points): The name of the game for Biffle is to now stay ahead of all of the one-win drivers below him. Barring a second win by any of them, that gets him in. Biffle finished ninth.
11. Kasey Kahne (-8 points): Right now, the four point difference between Kahne and Biffle is a six point difference in the Chase. Kahne was seventh.
12. Martin Truex Jr. (-14 points): That Logano win has him looking over his shoulder at a different driver following his 16th place finish.
13. Joey Logano (-21 points): I apologize for writing you off, Joey.
14. Jeff Gordon (-30 points): After a 17th place finish, things are really, really dicey for Gordon.
15. Ryan Newman (-31 points): It's 17 points to Truex and 10 to Logano. That's simple math an engineer can understand, right? Newman was 13th.
16. Jamie McMurray (-45 points): At almost a race's worth of points outside of the top 10 and without a win, this may be McMurray's last appearance here.
Related coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
• Joey Logano grabs critical win from Michigan pole
• Watch: Crew member hit by tire on pit road
• Brian Vickers blocking out distractions
• Time is running out for Jeff Gordon, Brad Keselowski