As of now, three drivers – Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer and Matt Kenseth – have locked themselves into the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Johnson and Bowyer have clinched a Top-10 automatic berth, while Kenseth has clinched at least a Wild Card spot.
You can probably expect those three to be joined by others following tomorrow night’s Advocare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. This week, any driver that’s ahead of the 11th place driver in the standings by at least 49 points will lock down a Top-10 spot in the Chase.
Barring some big problems, Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards will likely punch their tickets to the postseason down in Georgia. Edwards simply needs to finish 38th or better, while Harvick needs to finish of 31st or better.
Also in contention for Top-10 spots are Kyle Busch, who must finish at least 10th tomorrow, and Kenseth, who needs to come home at least seventh.
That’s the foursome that controls their own destiny. But four others can also clinch an automatic spot, and that’s the seventh-10th place bracket in the standings: Dale Earnhardt Jr. (seventh, +33 points over 11th), Kasey Kahne (eighth, +20 over 11th), Greg Biffle (ninth; +17 over 11th), and Joey Logano (10th; +4 over 11th).
Martin Truex Jr., Logano, and Greg Biffle can all clinch at least a Wild Card Spot with a victory tomorrow and some help. All three of those drivers already have one win each this season.
Marco Andretti wanted to do something really special to honor the 25th anniversary of grandfather Mario Andretti’s final Indy car win in 1993 at Phoenix International Raceway (now known as ISM Raceway).
So the third-generation Andretti, along with his team, Andretti-Herta Autosport, came up with a plan and design that will take longtime race fans back in time when it appears early next month for the Phoenix Grand Prix.
Marco Andretti’s No. 98 Oberto Beef Jerky Circle K/Curb Honda will be decked out in the colors of the car his grandfather won his last race on the one-mile short track 25 years ago.
“When the idea of a throwback livery celebrating my grandfather’s final win was thrown around, Oberto was ready to get to the drawing board,” Marco Andretti said in a media release. “The black, white and red car resembles many of my family’s race cars and was a big part of my life growing up.
“It’s really cool to be able to add one of my cars to that family legacy.”
The car is a virtual double of the legendary Newman-Haas Racing and Texaco/Havoline-sponsored car Mario drove on that celebratory day in the Valley of the Sun 2 ½ decades ago.
Various events and ceremonies during the April 6-7 race weekend will honor the senior Andretti. That includes several of his former competitors who will be on hand to celebrate with Mario, including Emerson Fittipaldi, Bobby Rahal, Jimmy Vasser, Paul Tracy, Arie Luyendyk, and of course, son Michael Andretti and grandson Marco Andretti.
Check out what happened on that day 25 years ago: