RICHMOND, Va. -- Eight drivers are mathematically alive to race their way into the Chase for the Sprint Cup in Saturday's Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway.
Nine drivers have clinched top-10 spots in the Chase: Greg Biffle, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, Martin Truex Jr., Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick. Tony Stewart, currently 10th, has clinched at least a wild-card spot.
Realistically, the two wild cards likely will be Kasey Kahne, who holds the first wild-card slot on the basis of two race victories, and either Kyle Busch or Jeff Gordon, each of whom has one victory. Busch has a 12-point lead over Gordon going into Saturday's race, and Richmond is Busch's best track. In 15 Sprint Cup starts at the 0.75-mile oval, he has four victories, 12 top-five finishes and an average finish of 4.733.
Gordon's numbers are two victories, 15 top fives and an average finish of 14.692 in 39 career starts. Gordon will start the race from the outside of Row 1, while Busch will start 15th.
ROMNEY TO START IT OFF
Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney is expected to give the command to start engines in the race. Two days earlier, the Democratic National Convention wrapped up in Charlotte, N.C., where delegates toured the NASCAR Hall of Fame and did hot laps at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
FATHERHOOD DOESN'T SOFTEN RIVALRY
After winning Friday night's NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Richmond International Raceway, Kevin Harvick celebrated with his baby son Keelan, who was back at home in North Carolina, via Facebook's video chat application. Asked if becoming a father in July had mellowed him, Harvick said it hadn't.
"I'm not gentler," Harvick said. "I still want to punch Kyle Busch in the mouth."
Harvick has had long-running feuds with both Busch brothers.
EURY SR. LET GO
The most stunning news of the weekend came from JR Motorsports, the NASCAR Nationwide Series team owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr., his sister Kelley Earnhardt Miller and Tony Eury Jr., who is Earnhardt's cousin and crew chief for Danica Patrick's JR Motorsports Chevrolet.
On Friday, the team parted ways with Competition Director Tony Eury Sr., effective immediately. "The conversation Tony Sr. and I had was one of the most difficult I've ever been a part of," said Miller, general manager of JR Motorsports. "I believe Tony Sr.'s passion for the sport is exceeded only by his yearning to excel in it, and that itself became the issue that both he and I struggled with. At JR Motorsports we do this to win races and compete for championships, and lately we have not met that standard."
PATRICK TO MULTI-TASK
Patrick is working on a deal that would allow her to compete in next year's Indianapolis 500, as well as run the full NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule with Stewart-Haas Racing.
"I'd like to if it's with the right team," Patrick said. "... I feel like I'd still be able to get in a seat and get comfortable with the amount of practice time there is in Indy and have a shot to win the race."