By: Keith Bloemendaal
The race tonight is in California, and the green flag drops at around 8pm est. As I watch the Raceday show, it occurs to me that there is a really good race going on for 35th in owner points.
While most of us are aware of the Chase, and who is fighting for the top 12 spots to get in. And with only two races left, one after tonight, a few drivers are still fighting for the Chase. Ryan Newman, in the #12 Alltel car, is in 15th (179 points out of 12th) and really needs to race well and hope that someone like Clint Bowyer, in the #07 Jack Daniels car, or Denny Hamlin, in the #11 FedEx car has some real problems and finish out of the top 30 for Newman to have a chance.
David Ragan and Kasey Kahne have a better chance of making the chase, currently in 13th and 14th positions. Kahne is 56 points out of 12th, and David Ragan is only 12 points out. Kenseth, Hamlin, and Bowyer are running 10th thru 12th, but are on the bubble and have to race well to stay in the Chase.
Dale Earnhardt Jr, Jimmie Johnson, and Jeff Burton should lock their spots in the Chase tonight. While Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards guaranteed their spots last week.
With owner points, the 35th spot is very important to guys for next year as it guarantees they race the first ten races of the year, regardless of the qualifying times. Sam Hornish Jr is in 35th (owner points), but the #96 car owned by Hall of Fame Racing will have new phenom 18yr old Joey Logano driving 5 races towards the end of the season. Can he finish well enough to gain 3 spots (and about 300 points) to get them in the top 35? I don't know, but it will be interesting to watch this kid race. He takes over the #20 Home Depot car for 2009, and I think he is going to be a driver we should keep our eyes on!
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