Photo: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

Sprint Cup Chase Contenders Not Willing to Chance Double-Header

By Toby Christie, NASCAR Editor

Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon and Joey Logano, who are all in the 2016 NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup, were scheduled to run the Xfinity Series race Saturday at Dover International Speedway. When weather cancelled all on-track activity Saturday, NASCAR announced that the Xfinity Series event would be moved to Sunday morning at 10 a.m. ET, just before the Sprint Cup Series race.

This essentially meant that three of the 16 drivers running for the most prestigious championship in American motorsport had one hell of a decision to make.

On one hand, competing in double-headers is rare and sweeping a double-header has never been done. So a chance at history is always something that every driver wants.

“You have no idea how bad I want to,” said Logano of competing in the double-header. “We just have to think about the big picture, too. We have a very fast XFINITY car here, and I really want to race it because I think I’ve got a shot to finally beat [the Joe Gibbs Racing team].

On the other hand at one of NASCAR’s most treacherous tracks, 600 laps could be a death sentence to anyone’s Sprint Cup Series title aspirations.

“Anything can happen here,” Busch said. “As Joey said, you don’t want to get 300 miles into the Cup race tomorrow and feel like, ‘My arms are going to fall off.’ There’s bigger priorities on that side (Sprint Cup), for sure, so we’ll just see where we land.”

Even with a shot at history, all three drivers will skip Sunday morning’s Xfinity Series Drive Sober 200.

Subbing for second-place starter Busch, will be Drew Herring. Herring is a Joe Gibbs Racing development driver who has five top-10 finishes in 19-career NXS starts.

Taking the helm of the No. 22 Ford Mustang in place of Joey Logano will be Ryan Blaney. Blaney is a Cup Series rookie who has racked up four wins over 49 career NXS starts. Blaney will have the most realistic shot of anyone to complete the Sunday double-header.

Regan Smith will also pull the double header as he will strap into the No. 2 Camaro for Dillon. Smith, who returned to Cup Series racing for 2016, has recorded six victories since 2012 in NXS competition.

Busch and Logano aren’t mathematically clinched into the round of 12 of the Chase, but they are in very comfortable positions heading into the penultimate race of the first round. Dillon faces a five-point deficit, and if he wants to make it into the next round he’ll have to win Sunday or out-point Kyle Larson by five points.

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Toby Christie is a contributing writer for Motorsports Tribune. He has been watching stock cars turn left since 1993, and has covered NASCAR as an accredited media member since 2007. Toby is a proud member of the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA). Additionally, Toby is a lifelong Miami Dolphins fan, sub-par guitarist and he is pretty good around a mini-golf course.

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