Originally posted on Race Review Online  |  Last updated 9/6/12

HOMESTEAD, FL - NOVEMBER 21: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Z-Line Designs Toyota, does a burnout after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Championship and the Ford 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 21, 2009 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)


With one race left in NASCAR's regular season, there is but a single Chase berth still up for grabs. Kyle Busch currently has a tenuous hold on that position as the highest-ranked of the one-win drivers outside of the top 10. The No. 18 is currently 12 points ahead of Jeff Gordon, the nearest challenger for that final coveted spot.
But it remains to be seen who will walk away from Richmond International Raceway on Saturday night with the NASCAR's final playoff berth. Jeff Gordon or Kyle Busch? Carl Edwards or Ryan Newman? Joey Logano or Marcos Ambrose?
Any of those six drivers could make the Chase by winning one of the final two races of NASCAR's regular season. Kyle Busch is clearly the favorite at this point, but he's just one wreck, ill-timed caution or bad pit stop from missing out on the Chase. And of course, if any of the other one-win drivers manage to pull of a W at Richmond, that driver will automatically take the wild card spot away from Busch, regardless of the points situation.
The battle for the second wild card slot has been in a great deal of flux over the past month. A few weeks ago, I though Jeff Gordon had the best shot at the spot. Then Ryan Newman took over the top spot on the strength of a couple of solid finishes. But after the No. 39's bad luck over the last couple of weeks, he's fallen way back and his only hope is to win at Richmond.
At this point, it's clear that Kyle Busch has a definite edge over Gordon. Sure, Gordon is solid at Richmond, but in all likelihood, if he (or Newman, Logano, Ambrose, etc.) is going to earn that second wild card, he'll have to take the same route Tony Stewart did in winning the championship at Homestead last November: by going out and beating the man who is currently best at the track in question.
And make no mistake, Kyle Busch has been numero uno at Richmond lately. He is the most recent winner at the track (April of this year). The younger Busch brother boasts four Richmond wins and a minuscule average finish of 4.7. He ranks second in numerous statistical categories at the track, including average running position (7.3), driver rating (116.1), fastest laps run (503), average green flag speed and laps in the top 15. Suffice it to say, the competitors of the No. 18 have their work cut out for them this weekend if they hope to make the Chase.
But dominant as Busch has been, he's still far from a lock to make the Chase. He may be the definite favorite for the final wild card spot, but there are too many variables at play for him to start celebrating just yet. The race is shaping up to be a free-for-all on the 0.75-mile Virginia short track as pretty much everyone on the track is racing for wins and doesn't give a hoot about the points, with the lone exception of Busch. He is truly the only one with anything to lose with a bad finish, because wins are all that matter for his fellow wild card contenders as well as those already locked into the top 10 who are racing for bonus points.
Will Kyle Busch make the Chase? Probably. Is he a lock to go dancing in NASCAR's postseason? Not hardly.


Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

'Sell high' and 'buy low' fantasy candidates

Marshawn Lynch ruled out by Seahawks for Week 5

Howard says he played through torn MCL, meniscus in playoffs

Bills offensive progress stalled by injuries

Bruins’ Zac Rinaldo: Raffi Torres’ suspension 'really opened my eyes’

Cowboys’ Sean Lee cleared to play vs. Patriots after concussion battle


NHL Department of Player Safety inconsistent in disciplining players?

Tennessee desperate for big win over #19 Georgia

UCLA punter Adam Searl arrested on suspicion of rape

Sepp Blatter appeals FIFA suspension

Gostkowski is best kicker in NFL, according to peers

DeMarco Murray: Running more plays will mean more chances

What’s wrong with Ohio State’s offense?

Weeden bashes Twitter: ‘I don’t need a 12-year-old telling me how to play’

Fan at Texas A&M game was so drunk, he reportedly told police he was at Baylor vs. Texas Tech

10 unheralded NFL players who will impact Week 5

Mallett’s dad: Criticism of QB makes his grandmothers cry

LSU has sold a disappointing amount of tickets for South Carolina game

Five potential upsets in NFL Week 5

Why the Carolina Panthers are the NFL's next super power

Six biggest matchups in Week 6 of the college football season

Dalton motivated by getting booed at celebrity softball game

Which undefeated college team has best résumé?

WATCH: Derek Holland wipes backside with Blue Jays towel

Is 'Hockey Tough' leading to a much bigger problem?

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

10 unheralded NFL players who will impact Week 5

Five potential upsets in NFL Week 5

Why the Carolina Panthers are the NFL's next super power

NHL Department of Player Safety inconsistent in disciplining players?

Explaining the silence on Thabo Sefolosha’s police brutality trial

Six biggest matchups in Week 6 of CFB

Joe Maddon's defensive calculus

Sepp Blatter appeals FIFA suspension

Looking at four NHL goaltenders who debuted for new teams

Get to know the four NL playoff teams

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker