For Sunday night’s Bojangles’ Southern 500, the next-to-last Sprint Cup Series race of the regular season. This marks the first time the Southern 500 has been run in its traditional Labor Day weekend slot since 2003, when Terry Labonte drove his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet to victory.
It’s Kasey Kahne behind the wheel of the Number-5 entry this time around. He’s one of seven drivers fighting for the final five spots in the post-season Chase that opens later this month at Chicagoland Speedway.
This year’s list of Sprint Cup Series race winners shows eleven drivers, two fewer than at this point of the 2014 season. Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson are tied for the series lead in wins with four apiece. Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth are right behind at three each. With a maximum of thirteen race winners now possible, the remaining spots in the sixteen-driver post-season field will be filled based on regular-season point standings.
The five highest-placed non-winning drivers in the standings today are Jamie McMurray, Ryan Newman, Paul Menard, Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer – who leads Aric Almirola by thirty-five points for what would be the final spot on The Chase Grid with Kahne just two points further back.