Chase Grid: Dale Earnhardt Jr. in tight race to advance

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LOUDON, N.H. – Dale Earnhardt Jr. holds the final transfer spot heading into this weekend’s race at Dover International Speedway, but he has only a one-point advantage on Kyle Busch and Paul Menard.

Four drivers will be eliminated from the Chase for the Sprint Cup after the Dover race.

Only Matt Kenseth, who won Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and Denny Hamlin, who won last week at Chicagoland Speedway, are guaranteed a spot in the second round of the Chase. The other 10 spots will be set this weekend.

Earnhardt finished 14th at Dover in May. He’s finished no worse than 17th in his last seven starts there.

Busch was running in the top five in May when he was involved in an accident with a car not on the lead lap. He has eight top-10 finishes in the last 11 Dover races.

Menard finished eighth at Dover in May – his best finish there since placing seventh in Sept. 2010. He has three career top-10 finishes there with two of them coming in the last three races.

While Earnhardt is 12th, he’s only one point behind Jamie McMurray, who is 11th. McMurray was seventh at Dover earlier this season. It was McMurray’s first top-10 finish there since placing 10th in June 2008.

Here’s the Chase standings (*advances to 2nd round with win):

1 – Matt Kenseth … 2099 points*

2 – Denny Hamlin … 2093 points*

3 – Carl Edwards … 2089 points

4 – Joey Logano … 2089 points

5 – Jimmie Johnson … 2083 points

6 – Ryan Newman … 2074 points

7 – Kurt Busch … 2073 points

8 – Brad Keselowski … 2072 points

9 – Martin Truex Jr. … 2071 points

10 – Jeff Gordon … 2068 points

11 – Jamie McMurray … 2058 points

12 – Dale Earnhardt Jr. … 2057 points

13 – Kyle Busch … 2056 points

14 – Paul Menard … 2056 points

15 – Kevin Harvick … 2034 points

16 – Clint Bowyer … 2018 points