Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 gives four competitors the opportunity to clinch a top-10 spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup™. The current top four in NASCAR Sprint Cup standings – Jimmie Johnson, Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth and Dale Earnhardt Jr. – can lock themselves into the post season by leaving Michigan with a lead of at least 145 points over the 11th-place driver with three races remaining in the Race to the Chase. Biffle, who trails Johnson by a single point, is the only one of the four failing to make the Chase a year ago.
Johnson can also lock up at least a Wild Card berth win a win on Sunday – which could prove a tall task. Michigan is one of five active NSCS tracks at which Johnson has yet to win (Watkins Glen, Chicagoland, Homestead and Kentucky are the others). Brad Keselowski, who like Johnson has three wins, could mathematically lock up at least a Wild Card spot with a win, but only if Ryan Newman scores four points or less at Michigan. Tony Stewart, though he also has three wins, cannot officially lock up a Wild Card spot with a win.