Making NASCAR’s Chase: For some it was the best of times, for others the worst

RICHMOND, VA - SEPTEMBER 07:  (Back Row, L-R) Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M's American Heritage Chocolate Toyota, Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Kellogg's / Cheez-It Ford, Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Home Depot / Husky Toyota, Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Time Warner Cable Chevrolet, (Front Row, L-R) Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 Scotchgard Ford, Kevin Harvick, driver of the #29 Budweiser Chevrolet, Kurt Busch, driver of the #78 Furniture Row / Beautyrest Chevrolet, Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, anid Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota,  pose with the Sprint Cup Trophy after qualifying for the Chase for the Sprint Cup during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 56th Annual Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 7, 2013 in Richmond, Virginia.  (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

RICHMOND, VA – SEPTEMBER 07: (Back Row, L-R) Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M’s American Heritage Chocolate Toyota, Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Kellogg’s / Cheez-It Ford, Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Home Depot / Husky Toyota, Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Time Warner Cable Chevrolet, (Front Row, L-R) Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 Scotchgard Ford, Kevin Harvick, driver of the #29 Budweiser Chevrolet, Kurt Busch, driver of the #78 Furniture Row / Beautyrest Chevrolet, Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, anid Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota, pose with the Sprint Cup Trophy after qualifying for the Chase for the Sprint Cup during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 56th Annual Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 7, 2013 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

The field for the 2013 NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup was set Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway and who was in and who was out wasn’t decided until the very last lap.

Carl Edwards won the race taking the lead in the closing laps, but that was the least of the drama.  Jeff Gordon needed a near miracle to secure his spot. He led from pole and was in control early leading 49 laps. Gordon caught lapped traffic though and began to fade. On lap 224, Gordon’s hopes to make the Chase took a huge hit as he suddenly slowed and pitted with a loose right front tire.

Never one to give up, Gordon began to battle back from a two lap deficit.  With fresher tires Gordon was quickly able to make up one lap by passing the leaders.  The third caution came out on lap 267 for debris and the timing proved great for Gordon who had just become the first driver a lap down. By lap 330 Gordon was on the lead lap and had made his way inside the top 15.  He would make his way into the top 10 and combined with troubles for Joey Logano Gordon was in the Chase as the laps wound down.  MORE>>>

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