The Bubble Boys: Sharpie 500

8/26/2007 - NASCAR

Here's what we know about this year's Chase for the Nextel Cup:

• Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards are in.

• Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Burton will make the Chase simply by starting the next two events.

• 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 ...

13. Dale Earnhardt Jr.

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.