Commentary

The Bubble Boys: Sharp AQUOS 500

The Bubble Boys: Sharp AQUOS 500

Updated: September 3, 2007, 2:24 AM ET
By K. Lee Davis | ESPN.com

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

• Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Burton and Kyle Busch are in.

• Clint Bowyer and Martin Truex Jr. will make the Chase by starting Saturday's Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway, the final race of the regular season.

• Ryan Newman was officially eliminated.

• Dale Earnhardt Jr. kept his hopes alive.

How did the drivers on the Chase bubble fare Sunday night at California Speedway?

Kurt Busch

11. Kurt Busch
Position before race -- 12
Chase points safety margin -- 141
Breakdown -- Finished in the top 10 for the fifth time in seven races with a ninth-place showing at California. He needs only to finish 36th or better at Richmond to clinch a spot in the Chase, 38th if he leads a lap and 39th if he leads the most laps.

Kevin Harvick

12. Kevin Harvick
Position before race -- 10
Chase points safety margin -- 128
Breakdown -- Finishing 16th did not give the Californian the strong ending he was hoping for. Still, he needs only finish 32nd or better at Richmond to clinch a berth, 33rd if he leads at least one lap and 35th if he leads the most laps. How often has he finished 33rd or worse this season? Three times in 25 races.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

13. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Position before race -- 13
Points out of Chase -- 128
Breakdown -- Earnhardt is running out of time, and he knows it. "It doesn't look like we're going to make it," he said. He may not, but a fifth-place finish at California didn't hurt his chances as he finished ahead of every driver he can still mathematically catch. Problem is, he didn't finish very far ahead of any of them. He has to finish fifth at Richmond and lead the most laps to have a shot at the Chase, fourth if he leads any lap and third if he doesn't lead a lap.

K. Lee Davis is a motorsports editor at ESPN.com. He can be reached at kevin.davis@espn3.com.