Tony Stewart’s broken leg this week in a sprint car race in Iowa is going to scramble the race for teams hoping to make the NASCAR Chase for the title.
His team has announced that Stewart will miss the Sprint Cup race this weekend at Watkins Glen as a result of the injury, but in reality it will be difficult for “Smoke” to climb into a race car anytime in the near future.
With five races remaining before the Chase, Stewart was in a strong position to claim one of the two wild card spots for the chase. He currently was 11th in points with one victory, but was only five points behind Greg Biffle for the 10th spot.
NASCAR rules has the top 10 drivers in points locked into the Chase and the two wild card positions available to drivers in the 11th through 20th positions, based on wins.
Here’s where the final five races will get interesting. Defending champion Brad Keselowski is currently 12th in the points race, only seven behind Biffle and 20 points within Kasey Kahne in the eight spot.
Two drivers outside the top 10 at the moment are Martin Truex Jr. at 14th and Ryan Newman in the 15th position, both have recorded a victory. Newman is 24 points behind Biffle and Truex is 15 markers outside the top 10.
Jeff Gordon is on the bubble, sitting ninth in the point standings, but without a victory in 2013. The only other drivers in the top 10 without a win are Clint Bowyer, second in points, and Dale Earnhardt Jr., currently fifth in the standings.
David Ragan with a win at Talladega is sitting 26th in the point standings and not likely to break into the top 20. He has a lot of drivers to climb over to claim one of the wild card positions.