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Battle on tap for Sprint Cup's final Chase spots

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — And then there were five.

Five spots, that is, still up for grabs in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Chase for the Championship.

Among those jockeying for a berth is Martin Truex, who gamely finished third Sunday night at Atlanta while driving with a broken right wrist.

Truex rose from 18th after an unscheduled pit stop with just more than 100 laps left in Sunday's Advocare 500 to check on a potential loose wheel. Most impressive was this: Truex's cast appeared to be melting late in the race, won by Kyle Busch.

"The cast just inside my hand here got all soft," Truex said. "It hurts like hell when you're in there just steering the car. … (It) felt like every time I moved it, somebody was hitting it with a hammer."

But Truex, with one win on the season and 13th in points, is in decent shape headed to Richmond, where the Chase field will be decided Saturday night. He holds the second wild card.

Busch, Kasey Kahne, Kevin Harvick and Matt Kenseth clinched Chase berths Sunday.

Not in as a great a spot is four-time champ Jeff Gordon, who is winless and 11th in points — six points out of 10th. There was some postrace tension with Carl Edwards that apparently began when Gordon slid in front of Edwards early. Gordon tried to discuss it later, twice.

"I have a problem with a guy when I apologize for sliding him and he proceeds to tell me all the things that I did wrong in the race," Gordon said after the first conversation with Edwards. "…I tried to have a regular conversation and that didn't seem to be possible with him."

NHRA: Langdon twice

INDIANAPOLIS — Top Fuel points leader Shawn Langdon had a double-win weekend, racing to the U.S. Nationals victory on Monday in the NHRA's most prestigious event.

A day after winning a special $100,000 eight-car Top Fuel shootout, Langdon earned another $100,000 after his run of 3.818 seconds at 320.97 mph beat Steve Torrence.

Robert Hight (Funny Car), Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) and John Hall (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were winners.

"This is definitely the biggest win of my career," Hight said after ending a 35-race drought.

Sprint Cup points

After 25 of 36 races. The top 10 in points plus two wild cards after Saturday's race at Richmond make the Chase for the Championship.

Driver Pts. Back

^Jimmie Johnson 837—

^Clint Bowyer 809 28

^Kevin Harvick 795 42

^Carl Edwards 795 42

^Kyle Busch 786 51

^Matt Kenseth 768 69

Dale Earnhardt Jr. 750 87

Joey Logano 729 108

Greg Biffle 727 110

Kurt Busch 719 118

Jeff Gordon 713 124

^Kasey Kahne* 709 128

Martin Truex* 704 133

Ryan Newman 699 138

Brad Keselowski 691 146

^ — Clinched a Chase spot

* — Wild-card leaders

Sprint Cup up next

Federated Auto Parts 400, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.

TV: Ch. 28

Battle on tap for Sprint Cup's final Chase spots 09/02/13 [Last modified: Monday, September 2, 2013 9:53pm]
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