To say the least, Saturday night's Federated Auto Parts 400 was one the craziest in Chase history, with 11 drivers going after the final six spots in the 2013 Sprint Cup Championship.
Carl Edwards won the race after leading 46 laps, and ended the regular season as the points leader. It was Edwards' second win of the season. He'll enter the Chase next weekend fifth, tied with fourth place Kevin Harvick.
"We're going to win the championship. That's our mission. That seemed like a crazy mission a month and a half ago," Edwards said in Victory Lane.
"This championship would mean the world to me."
Teammate Greg Biffle will go into Chicagoland just behind Edwards in sixth after his 12th place result.
Joey Logano edged out Jeff Gordon by just one point to make it in. This is just the second time Gordon has missed the Chase.
Despite a third place finish by Ryan Newman, Martin Truex, Jr. beats him out for a Wild Card spot because of the second-place finish tie-breaker.
Clint Bowyer spun with five laps to go, sending the leaders to pit road. Newman, who had been leading, lined up for the restart in fifth. That caution put Truex, Jr. in the Chase.
"We had a flat tire or something. We were leading the race." Bowyer is eighth in points going into Chicagoland.
"He just spun right out. It's the craziest thing I ever saw," Dale Earnhardt, Jr. said after the race. "I don't know what was going on. I almost ran into him." Earnhardt, Jr. ended the night 13th, and will enter the Chase ninth.
Kasey Kahne is the other Wild Card driver after his 14th result in Richmond.
"I'm just happy we had a couple wins, or we wouldn't have made the Chase," a visibly agitated Kahne said afterwards.
With a second place finish, a very emotional Kurt Busch made the Chase.
"It's been an 18 month work in progress," Busch said afterwards. "It's an unbelievable feeling."
Matt Kenseth will enter Chicagoland as the top seed with his five wins on the year. He ended his night in Richmond sixth.
It was yet another rough night for incoming points leader Jimmie Johnson. Johnson started last after missing practice Saturday to attend the birth of his second daughter, Lydia. After a pit road speeding penalty and battery issues that sent him to the garage, Johnson ended the night in Richmond in 40th, his fourth straight finish of 28th or worse. He will line up second in the Chase.
"August is normally a tough month for the (no.) 48, and this one was no different," Johnson said.
While many were focused on the Chase, Saturday night was a great showing for several drivers not competing for the championship. Jamie McMurray, who had an outside shot at making the Chase, finished fourth.
Filling in for the injured Tony Stewart, Mark Martin finished ninth and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. finished 10th, his first of the year.
With the championship field reset and just ten races to go, next week the Sprint Cup Series enters Chicagoland Speedway. Coverage of Sunday's Geico 400 begins at 2 pm Eastern time on ESPN and PRN.
Chase for the Sprint Cup Standings
1. Matt Kenseth
2. Jimmie Johnson
3. Kyle Busch
4. Kevin Harvick
5. Carl Edwards
6. Joey Logano
7. Greg Biffle
8. Clint Bowyer
9. Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
10. Kurt Busch
11. Kasey Kahne (Wild Card)
12. Martin Truex, Jr. (Wild Card)
Thanks to NASCAR on ABC, NASCAR.com, Racing Reference, ESPN, USA Today, SB Nation, Associated Press and Sporting News for the statistics, quotes and information used in this piece.