- Joe Breeze, Motorsports
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Here's what we know about this year's Chase for the Nextel Cup:
• There are two races left to decide the Chase field (California Speedway and Richmond International Raceway).
• And Earnhardt Nation still is in serious trouble.
How did the drivers on the Chase bubble fare Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway?
11. Martin Truex Jr.
Position before race -- 11
Chase points safety margin -- 166
Breakdown -- Junior's DEI teammate saw his points cushion shrink by 30 after an 11th-place run at Thunder Valley -- his third straight top-15 effort. Still, with just two races before the Chase, Truex is nearly a lock.
12. Kurt Busch
Position before race -- 12
Chase points safety margin -- 158
Breakdown -- With seven consecutive top-15 finishes -- including a sixth at Bristol -- Busch has a stranglehold on the No. 12 spot. He lost a measley five points Saturday night to No. 13 Dale Earnhardt Jr. And speaking of Junior ...
Position before race -- 13
Points out of Chase -- 158
Breakdown -- Dale Jr. is simply running out of time. He inched five points closer to the Chase cutoff with a fifth-place showing at Bristol, but he needs a lot of help -- too much help.
14. Ryan Newman
Position before race -- 14
Points out of Chase -- 175
Breakdown -- Newman finished a respectable seventh on Saturday and still lost ground, falling another four points behind the final Chase spot.
Joe Breeze is a motorsports editor at ESPN.com. He can be reached at Joe.M.Breeze@espn3.com.
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