Sprint Cup: Kenseth wins at Richmond; Chase field set

Matt Kenseth extended Joe Gibbs Racing’s summer-long run of excellence with a dominating victory Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway as the 2015 regular season came to a close. Kenseth led all but forty-eight of the four hundred laps in notching his fourth win of the year and securing the Number-3 seed in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup that opens next weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. Dating back to mid-May, J-G-R has now won ten of the last sixteen races. Kyle Busch, one of Kenseth’s teammates, finished second on Saturday night and holds the Number-2 seed for the post-season, second only to top-seeded Jimmie Johnson. Kenseth’s margin of victory over Busch was nine-tenths of a second with pole sitter Joey Logano, Aric Almirola and Dale Earnhardt Junior completing the top five … With The Chase Grid now filled, championship points have been reset. Johnson, Busch and Kenseth are all tied at the top by virtue of their four wins during the regular season … With three victories, Logano is the Number-4 seed – one spot ahead of regular-season points leader Kevin Harvick. The two drivers who went into the weekend holding the final two provisional spots in the Chase – Clint Bowyer and Paul Menard – came out of the weekend with their post-season tickets punched after finishes of tenth and twenty-sixth, respectively. Jamie McMurray, Jeff Gordon and Ryan Newman also made the Chase on points after a winless regular season.

Chase grid, heading to Challenger Round

1. Jimmie Johnson 4 Wins

2. Kyle Busch 4 Wins

3. Matt Kenseth 4 Wins

4. Joey Logano 3 Wins

5. Kevin Harvick 2 Wins

6. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2 Wins

7. Kurt Busch 2 Wins

8. Carl Edwards 2 Wins

9. Brad Keselowski 1 Win

10. Martin Truex Jr. 1 Win

11. Denny Hamlin 1 Win

12. Jamie McMurray 757 Points

13. Jeff Gordon 738 Points

14. Ryan Newman 737 Points

15. Paul Menard 716 Points

16. Clint Bowyer 710 Points

Inside The Chase Grid

The 2015 post-season field features sixteen drivers. The bottom four participants will be eliminated following the third race of the Challenger Round, on October 4th at Dover International Speedway … Any of The Sixteen Challengers that wins one of the next three races – at Chicagoland Speedway, New Hampshire or Dover – will automatically advance to the next round of the Chase, which opens next Sunday.

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