Found August 12, 2012 on Race Review Online:
Ford-400-qualifying

 

Busch Watkins Glen spinAdd another driver to the mix for the second Wild Card berth, the final Chase position available.

With his second career win at Watkins Glen, Marcos Ambrose inserted himself into the Wild Card mix. Though he's yet to win at the Sprint Cup level on an oval track, which is a necessity if Ambrose hopes to make the Chase, anything is possible.

There are now six drivers who could claim the second Wild Card spot with a win over the next four races, while 11th place and two-time winner Kasey Kahne is still solidly ensconced in the first Wild Card spot.

Here's how the current contenders for the final Chase berth stack up.

Carl Edwards in 12th place is winless, but because of his points position, even a single win would put him ahead of the current one-time winners below him in the standings.

13th-place Ryan Newman (winner at Martinsville in April) is currently the man with a bulls-eye on his bumper, the one all the other Wild Card hopefuls are aiming for.

Kyle Busch in 14th is just six points behind Newman and was less than one lap from winning at the Glen, which would have given him possession of the second Wild Card. However, it was not to be for April's Richmond winner after a last-lap spin . Still, Busch will be among the favorites at tracks such as Bristol and Richmond which remain before the Chase field is set.

Back in 15th, Jeff Gordon dropped to third in the battle for the second and final Wild Card berth after he also spun out on the final lap at Watkins Glen. He had taken over the second Wild Card after his victory at Pocono last week, but he's now 10 points behind Newman and will have to fight back after his disappointing 21st-place finish on Sunday.

In 17th place sits Ambrose following his second career win. He's a daunting 44 points behind Newman, so it will almost certainly take a second 2012 win if he wants to make the Chase. The same goes for Joey Logano in 18th place, winner at Pocono in June, sitting 57 points behind Newman.

It's hard to predict who will come out on top, but my top pick is still Jeff Gordon. Kyle Busch is a close second, but his bad-luck finish at Watkins Glen after dominating nearly half the race shows that his glass is still half full and the tide of bad luck is still against him (if you believe in that sort of thing).

One thing I can be sure of is that it will be an action-packed final month of racing as these drivers jockey for a position in the Chase. These guys are no slouches. They include a four-time champion, last year's championship runner-up, and Kyle Busch, who is...well, one of the most talented, exciting, and controversial drivers NASCAR has seen in quite a while.

Buckle up, and enjoy the ride!

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