Jimmie Johnson blew an engine Sunday at Michigan International Speedway. Kyle Busch wrecked once and spun twice. Even Clint Bowyer looped his car on the first lap.
All of the issues, however, weren't such a big deal in relation to NASCAR's looming championship battle. Thanks to the performances of all three drivers in season's first 22 races, a stumble in race No. 23 was simply frustrating. Chances to race into the Chase for the Sprint Cup weren't placed in limbo.
But beyond about sixth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings, things aren't so rosy. Roughly nine drivers are locked in a tight battle for roughly six spots in NASCAR's postseason. Get in, and the Tiffany-designed trophy is in reach. Miss out, and the questions start to murmur from team owners and sponsors.
The final three races of NASCAR's regular season promise to feature plenty of drama. See how the nine drivers currently in reach are standing during the final sprint.