Recent Richmond history of drivers trying to make Chase

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Five spots in the Chase for the Sprint Cup remain available heading into Saturday night’s race at Richmond International Raceway and history indicates those five drivers are likely to remain there.

Jamie McMurray will clinch a Chase spot upon starting the race. Also likely to transfer are Ryan Newman, Jeff Gordon, Paul Menard and Clint Bowyer.

Things could change if the winner is a first-time victor this season. However, the last time a driver scored their first win of the season in the fall Richmond race was 2004 with Jeremy Mayfield. He won to earn a spot in the inaugural Chase. Making the task more difficult could be Brad Keselowski. He’s led 66 percent of the laps run in the past two fall Richmond races, winning this event last year.

Something else to consider: Eighteen of the last 20 Richmond races were won by drivers currently locked into the Chase. The other two races? They were won by Bowyer.

Here’s a look at how those trying to maintain their Chase-eligible spot and those trying to make it into the Chase have fared recently at Richmond.

Jamie McMurray

Clinches by: Starting the race

Average finish last 5 Richmond races: 10.2

Best finish in last 5 Richmond races: 4th (three times)

Laps led in last 5 Richmond races: 10

Note: This will mark his first time in the Chase.

 

Ryan Newman

Clinches by: Finishing 31st or better; 32nd and leads at least one lap, or 33rd and leads the most laps

Average finish last 5 Richmond races: 9.2

Best finish in last 5 Richmond races: 3rd (Sept. 2013)

Laps led in last 5 Richmond races: 4

Note: Has finished worse than 31st in two of his 27 career starts at Richmond.

 

Jeff Gordon

Clinches by: Finishing 17th or better; 18th and leads at least one lap, or 19th and leads the most laps.

Average finish last 5 Richmond races: 6.2

Best finish in last 5 Richmond races: 2 (twice)

Laps led in last 5 Richmond races: 222

Note: Has finished worse than 17th in two of the last 17 Richmond races.

 

Paul Menard

Clinches by: Finishing ninth or better; 10th and leads at least one lap, or 11th and leads the most laps.

Average finish last 5 Richmond races: 15.0

Best finish in last 5 Richmond races: 5th (Sept. 2013)

Laps led in last 5 Richmond races: 3

Note: Has one career finish of 12th or better in 17 starts at Richmond.

 

Clint Bowyer

Clinches by: Finishing 28th or better if there is a repeat winner, 29th and leads at least a lap in race won by repeat winner, or 30th and leads the most laps in a race won by a repeat winner.

Average finish last 5 Richmond races: 16.4

Best finish in last 5 Richmond races: 2nd (April 2013)

Laps led in last 5 Richmond races: 185

Note: Has one career finish outside the top 25 in 19 starts at Richmond – placed 43rd in April 2014.

 

Aric Almirola

Makes Chase: By winning. If there is a repeat winner, finishing in the top 16 in Chase grid (currently 29 points behind 16th)

Average finish last 5 Richmond races: 15.0

Best finish in last 5 Richmond races: 8th (April 2013)

Laps led in last 5 Richmond races: 0

Note: Has never led a lap at Richmond in Sprint Cup.

 

Kasey Kahne

Makes Chase: By winning. If there is a repeat winner, finishing in the top 16 in the Chase grid (currently 31 points behind 16th)

Average finish last 5 Richmond races: 14.4

Best finish in last 5 Richmond races: 6th (April 2015)

Laps led in last 5 Richmond races: 0

Note: Has made Chase each of the past three seasons.

 

Greg Biffle

Makes Chase: By winning.

Average finish last 5 Richmond races: 20.6

Best finish in last 5 Richmond races: 12th (Sept. 2013)

Laps led in last 5 Richmond races: 0

Note: Has made the Chase each of the past three seasons.

 

Kyle Larson 

Makes Chase: By winning

Average finish last 3 Richmond races: 13.0

Best finish in last 3 Richmond races: 11th (Sept. 2014)

Laps led in last 3 Richmond races: 0

Note: This will be his fourth career start at Richmond.

 

Austin Dillon

Makes Chase: By winning

Average finish last 3 Richmond races: 24.6

Best finish in last 3 Richmond races: 20th (Sept. 2014)

Laps led in last 3 Richmond races: 0

Note: This will be his fourth career start at Richmond.

 

AJ Allmendinger

Makes Chase: By winning

Average finish last 5 Richmond races: 14.2

Best finish in last 5 Richmond races: 6th (April 2014)

Laps led in last 5 Richmond races: 0

Note: Last chance to make Chase for a second consecutive year.

 

Casey Mears

Makes Chase: By winning

Average finish last 5 Richmond races: 27.2

Best finish in last 5 Richmond races: 19th (April 2014)

Laps led in last 5 Richmond races: 0

Note: Scored best finish of the year (sixth) in season-opening Daytona 500.

 

Danica Patrick

Makes Chase: By winning

Average finish last 5 Richmond races: 26.8

Best finish in last 5 Richmond races: 16th (Sept. 2014)

Laps led in last 5 Richmond races: 0

Note: Has best finish of 15th (Dover) in last 17 starts.

 

Tony Stewart 

Makes Chase: By winning

Average finish last 5 Richmond races: 20.6

Best finish in last 5 Richmond races: 4th (Sept. 2012)

Laps led in last 5 Richmond races: 15

Note: On short tracks this year, has placed sixth (Bristol I), 19th (Bristol II), 20th (Martinsville I) and 41st (Richmond I).

 

David Ragan

Makes Chase: By winning

Average finish last 5 Richmond races: 27.0

Best finish in last 5 Richmond races: 20th (April 2013)

Laps led in last 5 Richmond races: 0

Note: Best finish since joining Michael Waltrip Racing in May is 12th at Daytona in July.

 

Sam Hornish Jr.

Makes Chase: By winning

Average finish last 5 Richmond races: 23.6

Best finish in last 5 Richmond races: 8th (Sept. 2009)

Laps led in last 5 Richmond races: 0

Note: Top-four finishes this season has either been on a restrictor-plate track or a road course.

 

Trevor Bayne

Makes Chase: By winning

Average finish in 1 Richmond race: 24.0

Best finish in 1 Richmond race: 24th (April 2015)

Laps led in 1 Richmond race: 0

Note: This is his second career start at Richmond.

 

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Makes Chase: By winning

Average finish last 5 Richmond races: 23.6

Best finish in last 5 Richmond races: 10th (Sept. 2013)

Laps led in last 5 Richmond races: 0

Note: Has finished 30th or worse in four of the last six races.

 

Justin Allgaier

Makes Chase: By winning

Average finish last 3 Richmond races: 22.3

Best finish in last 3 Richmond races: 18th (April 2015)

Laps led in last 3 Richmond races: 0

Note: Most recent top-10 finish was an eighth at Bristol in the spring.

 

 

Rutledge Wood’s explanation of the Chase for the Sprint Cup, which can be seen exclusively on NBC and NBCSN.