The final blow to the competition for spots in the top 35 of NASCAR owners' points may have been struck last weekend at Kansas Speedway.
After Joe Falk took over Richard Childress Racing's No. 33 car at Martinsville, the team, which has been rotating drivers all season, went from the edge of a guaranteed starting spot to falling out. After a disappointing finish by Tony Raines at Texas, Landon Cassill and David Reutimann both leapfrogged the team, bouncing it from 34th to 36th in owners' points.
Then, last weekend at Kansas, Jeff Green failed to qualify for the race.
That sets them at an 11-point disadvantage coming into this weekend's race at Richmond, something that won't be easy to erode with most of these teams running towards the back of the pack. It'll be especially tough with Stephen Leicht (pictured) behind the wheel, as the youngster is making only his third Sprint Cup start. But, as with anything else, one surprisingly good weekend could do wonders to make this race interesting again.
Here are the last five in and the first five out of guaranteed starting spots at Richmond: