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Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Chase cut line; Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch in trouble

NASCAR New Hampshire Auto Racing

Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. waits in the garage while his car is worked on during practice for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup series auto race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H., Friday, Sept. 25, 2015 (AP Photo/Cheryl Senter)


Matt Kenseth clinched a spot in the second round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup and took the lead in the points standings, but the focus squarely was on the stars in trouble entering the first-round elimination race at Dover International Speedway.

After running out of fuel on the final lap at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Dale Earnhardt Jr. (25th) is in the 12th and final transfer position in the standings. He is one point ahead of Kyle Busch (37th after a midrace crash at New Hampshire) and 22 points ahead of Kevin Harvick (21st after running out of fuel while leading with three laps remaining).

Harvick, the defending series champion, faces a virtual must-win scenario at Dover, where the playoff field will be reduced fro 16 to 12 drivers.

Points standings: