October 11, 2014
Dale Earnhardt Jr. looks out of the garage during practice for Saturday's NASCAR Bank of America Sprint Cup series auto race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., Friday, Oct. 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Chris Keane)
Chris Keane

CONCORD, N.C. (AP) One bad race knocked three of NASCAR's biggest names to the bottom of the championship standings, and a repeat Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway will put the trio on the verge of elimination.

That's the harsh reality for Dale Earnhardt Jr., Brad Keselowski, and six-time and defending NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson.

NASCAR eliminates four drivers from the Chase field after every third race, and Keselowski, Earnhardt and Johnson are ranked 10th through 12th in the field. A win automatically advances a driver into the third round; anything else forces the drivers to depend on next week's elimination race at Talladega Superspeedway to stay in title contention.

It's a mathematical longshot to believe all three are going to recover and advance to the second round.

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