NASCAR & Auto Racing

Cut to the Chase … a look at the 12 drivers in the running for the Sprint Cup championship

Jimmie Johnson celebrated in Victory Lane after winning a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Oct. 9.
Jimmie Johnson celebrated in Victory Lane after winning a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Oct. 9. The Associated Press

NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup championship has trimmed its field from 16 drivers to 12, and only Jimmie Johnson, by virtue of his victory last week at Charlotte, is guaranteed passage to the Round of 8. The other 11 drivers need to win the Hollywood Casino 400 on Sunday at Kansas Speedway or next week at Talladega to guarantee advancement to the next round.

Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Chevrolet, 3,045 points

The six-time Sprint Cup champion won the fall races at Kansas Speedway in 2008 and 2011 and the spring race in 2015 and can become the first four-time winner at the track.

Matt Kenseth, No. 20 Toyota, 3,040 points

Kenseth, the 2003 Sprint Cup champion, lost his bid for a third Kansas Speedway win last fall when Joey Logano ran him off the track.

Kyle Busch, No. 18 Toyota, 3,036 points

After much heartache, the reigning Sprint Cup champion won for the first time at Kansas Speedway in May.

Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Ford, 3,034 points

The 2012 Sprint Cup champion is tied with Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr. for most wins this season with four.

Kurt Busch, No. 41 Chevrolet, 3,033 points

His luck at Kansas Speedway is not that much better than his brother’s. The 2004 champion is winless in 21 starts at Kansas.

Carl Edwards, No. 19 Toyota, 3,029 points

Edwards, of Columbia, desperately wants to win at his home track where his only victory was in the 2004 trucks race.

Martin Truex Jr., No. 78 Toyota, 3,028 points

Truex led for 172 laps at Kansas Speedway in May, 95 in laps in 2015 and 173 in 2012, but he has yet to get his first win there.

Denny Hamlin, No. 11 Toyota, 3,012 points

Now considered the best driver without a championship, Hamlin won the 2012 spring race at Kansas.

Austin Dillon, No. 3 Chevrolet, 3,009 points

Driving the hallowed No. 3 of the late Dale Earnhardt, he’s still looking for his first career win in 115 starts.

Chase Elliott, No. 24 Chevrolet, 3,009 points

The only rookie in the Chase, the son of Hall of Famer Bill Elliott finished a solid ninth in Kansas Speedway debut in May.

Joey Logano, No. 22 Ford, 3,006 points

Logano has won the last two fall races at Kansas Speedway, leading a combined 164 laps, and needs a top-five finish, if he doesn’t win, to maintain hopes of advancing to Round of 8.

Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Chevrolet, 3,004 points

The 2014 Sprint Cup champion is in the same predicament as Logano. He won the October 2013 race at Kansas Speedway from the pole.