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Time running out for those trying to vault into Xfinity Series Chase

NASCAR XFINITY Series O'Reilly Auto Parts 300

FORT WORTH, TEXAS - APRIL 08: Dakoda Armstrong, driver of the #28 WinField Toyota, leads Ryan Reed, driver of the #16 Lilly Diabetes/American Diabetes Association Ford, during the NASCAR XFINITY Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 8, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

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While the Sprint Cup Series will set their 16-driver Chase field this weekend at Richmond, the Xfinity Series still has two races to go.

The inaugural Xfinity Chase kicks off Sept. 24 at Kentucky Speedway, which leaves Richmond and Chicagoland Speedway as the final races to decide which 12 drivers will compete for the championship.

Three drivers have already locked up their spots courtesy of wins: Erik Jones (three wins), Elliott Sadler (two wins) and Daniel Suarez (a win at Michigan).

Six other drivers, including three last weekend at Darlington, have locked up a spot on points. They are Justin Allgaier, Ty Dillon, Brendan Gaughan, Brennan Poole, Brandon Jones, and Darrell Wallace Jr.

It leaves three spots to be decided over the next two weeks.

Ryan Reed, Blake Koch, and Ryan Sieg are the three drivers sitting in those spots. Dakoda Armstrong is the first driver outside a Chase spot. He’s followed by Jeremy Clements, and Ross Chastain are the first three drivers on the outside looking in.

  • Reed holds a 74-point advantage on Armstrong.
  • Koch has a 22-point advantage on Armstrong.
  • Sieg has an 18-point advantage on Armstrong.

While the gap for all three drivers on the outside looking in has grown over the last two weeks, the driver who has taken the biggest hit has been Chastain.

The No. 04 team from JD Motorsports sat 13th in the standings from June 11 (Michigan) until August 27 (Road America). Three consecutive finishes of 29th or worse, however, have taken Chastain from a Chase spot to 15th in the standings, now 48 points behind Sieg.

In the spring race at Richmond, Blake Koch was the highest finisher among those sitting in a Chase spot with an eighth-place. Reed finished 11th and Sieg finished 21st.

The Virginia 529 College Savings 250 will air on NBCSN at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 9.

Follow @KellyCrandall