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As many as 4 more drivers can clinch Chase spot at Pocono

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With six qualifying races left, a total of 10 more spots remain to be clinched to fill out the expanded 16-driver playoff field for this year’s 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Four more drivers can punch their Chase ticket in Sunday’s race at Pocono to join the six drivers that are locked in thus far: Brad Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt Jr., while Brickyard 400 winner Jeff Gordon, six-time and defending Sprint Cup champ Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards and Joey Logano all clinched their spot in the Chase at Indianapolis.

According to NASCAR statisticians, “any driver who left Indy with a 289 point lead on 31st place clinched a top 30 points spot.”

“This weekend, the magic number is 241 – any driver 241 points ahead of 31st place clinches a top 30 spot,” a NASCAR media release stated. “If a driver does that, and has multiple wins, he clinches a spot.

“Those who can do it this weekend: Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Aric Almirola.”

But it’s not all that simple. There’s a few prerequisites to the clinching scenario for each of the four drivers:

* By virtue of his two wins, Harvick needs to score just eight points at Pocono to clinch – unless 31st-ranked David Gilliland wins and leads the most laps.

* Busch has clinched a top 30 spot, but needs another win to clinch all the way into the Chase.

* Hamlin can clinch a top 30 spot with his second win of the season, a strong likelihood given his past success at Pocono.

* Almirola could also clinch with a win Sunday at Pocono, provided he’s at least 241 points ahead of 31st place after the race.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Pippa Mann, breast cancer survivors paint IMS’ start/finish line pink

Photo: IndyCar
Photo: IndyCar
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We’ve written a fair bit on MotorSportsTalk about the efforts Pippa Mann has done in working with the Susan G. Komen Foundation for breast cancer awareness. Susan G. Komen has supported Mann’s last two runs at the Indianapolis 500, when she’s driven the No. 63 Honda for Dale Coyne Racing.

This being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the awareness hit a new level with Mann working alongside breast cancer survivors to paint the start/finish line at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s iconic Yard of Bricks pink for the day.

IMS president Doug Boles also joined in the opportunity.

View a selection of photos and social posts below. More is linked here, via

Mercedes set to clinch F1 constructors’ championship in Russia

SOCHI, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 08:  Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP speaks with members of the media in the paddock during previews to the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on October 8, 2015 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
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For the second year in a row, Mercedes is poised to wrap up the Formula 1 constructors’ championship in Sochi at this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix.

Mercedes won its first F1 teams’ title in Russia last year, having returned to the sport as a works constructor in 2010. When it last enjoyed such status in the 1950s, there was no championship for the teams.

Just as it did in 2014, Mercedes has dominated proceedings in F1 this season, winning all but three races and sweeping to eight one-two finishes to leave drivers Lewis Hamilton (pictured) and Nico Rosberg battling for the drivers’ title for the second straight year.

Now, Mercedes seeks the knock-out blow in the constructors’ title race by officially wrapping it up in Sochi this weekend.

To do so, the team must simply outscore rivals Ferrari by three points this weekend. The lead currently stands at 169 points, with 215 still on offer. After Sochi, there will be 172 remaining.

“We return to Russia with positive memories from last season, when the team sealed the first constructors’ title for Mercedes-Benz with a one-two finish,” team boss Toto Wolff said.

“A repeat performance in Sochi would be fantastic and this is absolutely the target – but we are under no illusions that it will come easy. The job is not done yet.”

The tire allocation for this weekend’s race could pose problems to Mercedes just as it did in Singapore, potentially allowing Ferrari to spoil the party and delay the victory celebrations at Brackley.

However, if the form book is to be trusted, Sochi could be playing host to another Mercedes party on Sunday night with a second world title in the bag for the Silver Arrows.