(AP Photo/John Bazemore)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) There are only two spots in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship up for grabs headed into NASCAR's regular-season finale at Richmond, where a first-time winner this season could snag a last-minute berth.
Kasey Kahne did it Sunday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway, where his first win of the season earned him an automatic berth in the 16-driver field. Matt Kenseth, who is winless on the year, also became eligible based on points. They became the 13th and 14th drivers locked into the Chase with only Saturday night's race in Virginia remaining.
"It was just an unbelievable way to make The Chase," Kahne said. "I told a couple friends ... `I have to win. I have to win Sunday night.' It was all that I could think about. I knew Atlanta was a better opportunity for myself to win at than Richmond."