Kahne & Busch Aim for Last 8 Chase Slots

The Race to the Chase is down to one, 300 miles and 400 laps of fast and furious action in the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at the .75-mile oval of Richmond International Raceway. Eight spots remain to be settled in the 2009 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and 11 drivers are mathematically in contention. The top 12 in points after Saturday night’s race will compete for the season championship and the Sprint Cup in the final 10 races of the season.

Dodge’s Chase hopes lie on the shoulders of Richard Petty Motorsports’ Kasey Kahne and Penske Racing’s Kurt Busch. Entering Saturday‘s event, Kahne is sixth in points while Busch is one point behind in seventh.

Here are the Chase scenarios for Kahne and Busch:

• Kahne is currently 96 points ahead of 13th place. He clinches a spot in the Chase if he finishes 21st or better or 23rd or better and leads a lap.

• Busch is currently 95 points ahead of 13th place and clinches a spot in the Chase if he finishes 20th or better or 22nd or better and leads a lap.

After Saturday night’s race, the 12 drivers that qualify for the Chase will have their season point totals “reset” to 5,000. Drivers also get 10 bonus points for each race victory during the “regular season” — the 26 races preceding the Chase.

All seven Dodge teams are assured berths in the top 35 in car owner points and assured berths in Saturday night’s race. Dodge has 17 wins at Richmond including three since the manufacturer returned to NASCAR’s premier series in 2001.

The 2009 Chase for the Championship begins next weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and concludes on Nov. 22 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Kasey Kahne (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger) climbed five positions from 11th to sixth in the point standings with his win at Atlanta. In 11 previous races at RIR, Kahne has posted one win (spring, 2005), two top-five and five top-10 finishes. Kahne’s current point position – sixth – is his highest since the spring event post-Bristol.

“Well, I heard a lot of people say that they counted myself or the 9 team out of making the Chase,” Kahne said. “Maybe after Atlanta, we changed a few people’s minds. Other than a race here or there, we have been pretty consistent so I am really not sure why that was. We missed the setup at Bristol and maybe that’s why, but we will just head to Richmond and race our race. The pit stops have been awesome and the overall communication between everyone on the Budweiser Team has been great.”

Kurt Bush (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger) looks to slow a two-race slide that has seen the 2004 NSCS champion drop three positions in the driver standings over the last three races. Busch’s slide to seventh has erased a once comfortable margin of 275 points ahead of 13th as recent as three races ago heading into Michigan. With an average finishing position of 18.71 in 17 Richmond starts, Busch has scored top-10 finishes in three of his last five races at RIR. Busch won at RIR in 2005.

“The overwhelming attitude for a lot of teams will be to do whatever it takes to win there on Saturday night,” Busch said. We’re still in that group looking to clinch a Chase spot, so we’ll have to continuously be looking at the point situation throughout the race. Hopefully we can put ourselves in a position up front to really go after a win at the end of the race.”

NSCS Driver Points after 25 of 36 races
1. Tony Stewart 3,694 +637
2. Jeff Gordon 3,457 400
3. Jimmie Johnson 3,404 347
4. Denny Hamlin 3,296 239
5. Carl Edwards 3,162 105
6. Kasey Kahne 3,153 96
7. Kurt Busch 3,152 95
8. Juan Montoya 3,145 88
9. Ryan Newman 3,138 81
10. Mark Martin 3,126 69
11. Greg Biffle 3,125 68
12. Matt Kenseth 3,077 20 (points from 13th)
13. Brian Vickers 3,057 -20
14. Kyle Busch 3,040 -37

Other Notes:

• Reed Sorenson (No. 43 Reynolds Wrap Dodge Charger) will join Richard Petty and AJ Allmendinger (No. 44 PVA.org Dodge Charger) plus others for the NASCAR Foundation track walk at noon on Saturday at Richmond. Proceeds go to the Paralyzed Veterans of America.

• Elliott Sadler (No. 19 Insignia/Best Buy Dodge) is tied with Tony Stewart for the longest active DNF streak (48 races) of drivers that have competed in every race.

What You Need To Know
The Race: Chevy Rock & Roll 400
The Place: Richmond International Raceway
The Date: Saturday, September 12
The Time: 7:45 p.m. (ET)
The Track: .75-mile
The Distance: 400 miles/300 laps
Television: ESPN, 7:00 p.m. (ET)

2009 Dodge Motorsports Driver Statistics
Driver Rank Points Behind Starts Poles Wins Top 5s Top 10s Earnings
Kasey Kahne 6 3153 -541 25 1 2 5 10 $5,042,100
Kurt Busch 7 3152 -542 25 0 1 6 13 $3,347,460
AJ Allmendinger 25 2361 -1333 25 0 0 1 3 $2,948,780
Elliott Sadler 26 2355 -1339 25 0 0 1 3 $2,837,810
Sam Hornish Jr. 27 2292 -1402 25 0 0 2 6 $3,049,990
Reed Sorenson 28 2275 -1419 25 0 0 0 1 $3,373,670
David Stremme 31 2204 -1490 25 0 0 0 0 $3,246,380

Dodge Weekend Motorsports on TV
(All Times Eastern)
Friday, September 11
12:00 p.m. – Sprint Cup Practice at Richmond (SPEED)
1:30 p.m. – NASCAR Live (SPEED)
2:00 p.m. – Sprint Cup Final Practice (ESPN2)
3:30 p.m. – NASCAR Now (ESPN2)
4:00 p.m. – Nationwide Series Pole Qualifying at Richmond (ESPN2)
5:30 p.m. – Sprint Cup Pole Qualifying (ESPN2)
7:00 p.m. – Nationwide Series Countdown (ESPN2)
7:30 p.m. – Nationwide Series Race at Richmond (ESPN2)
11:00 p.m. – Trackside at Richmond (SPEED)

Saturday, September 12
5:00 p.m. – NASCAR RaceDay (SPEED)
5:00 p.m. – Drafting Partners featuring Ryan Newman (GAC)
7:00 p.m. – Sprint Cup Countdown (ABC)
7:30 p.m. – Sprint Cup Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond (ABC)
11:00 p.m. – Sprint Cup Post-Race at Richmond (ABC)
11:00 p.m. – Inside the Headsets (SPEED)
11:30 p.m. – NASCAR Now (ESPN2)
11:30 p.m. – NASCAR Victory Lane (SPEED)

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  • sublime

    Good luck Kurt and Kasey, Dodge needs to win it all this year!

  • MoParBob

    God bless KK and KB, as for next year…

    Watch ChryCo bail on us one again… It pains me to say this, but I don’t see DODGE around in Nascar much longer. Next year yes, but after that, crap shoot. Any dolt with half a brain cell would know that when you are out numbered 13 to 1 on the track the law of averages has you lucky to win races let alone a championship. God bless Penske, but it looks like I will have a lot more free time in the months to come.