With four races to go in the 2012 regular season, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is at Michigan International Speedway this weekend for the Pure Michigan 400. The race will be televised Sunday on ESPN, starting at 1 p.m. ET.
It's coming down to crunch time for at least five drivers who are vying for the two wild-card spots in the Chase for the Cup championship round. The top-10 automatic qualifiers are fairly certain at this point through at least the first nine positions in the drivers' point standings.
Kasey Kahne, currently in 11th place in the standings and with two wins thus far this season, and Ryan Newman, Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon, Marcos Ambrose and Joey Logano, each with one victory a piece, are the drivers not currently in the top 10 with the best chance of securing one of the two wild-card spots in the Chase field. Kahne trails 10th-place Denny Hamlin by 30 points heading into Michigan.
Columbia, Mo.-native Carl Edwards is currently 12th in the points' standings, but without a Sprint Cup win in over a year, the driver of the No. 99 Roush-Fenway Ford Fusion is in serious jeopardy of missing the season-ending 10-race Chase championship for the first time in six years. Edwards does have three Cup wins at Michigan in 16 starts at the 2-mile tri-oval track.
The Kansas City-area's other NASCAR driver, Clint Bowyer, is sitting much prettier in the race to make the Chase. The Emporia, Kan., native, who pilots the No. 15 Toyota Camry in his first season driving for Michael Waltrip Racing, won at Sonoma in late June and is currently seventh in the standings.
The weather forecast for Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 Sprint Cup race is intermittent clouds with an air temperature in the high 80s.