NASCAR Sprint Cup ‘Chase For the Championship’ Field Set

And no need to skip ahead -- Danica Patrick didn't make the cut.

Chris Graythen/NASCAR via GETTY

According to a possibly fictious recent survey, the five most thrilling moments in the average American’s life are, in no particular order, having sex for the first time; buying your first home; the birth of your first child; buying your first car, and the annual announcement of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase for the Championship drivers.

Actually, we’re just making that up. “Buying your first car” didn’t even make the fictitous top 10!

But with the gift that keeps on giving, the Chase for the Championship continues to do what NASCAR insisted that it would: Create some additional buzz around the final 10 races of the season, eventually ending at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where the finalists will have been narrowed to the top four, and the driver who does best in that lone race wins the season championship, the culmination of 35 hard-fought individual battles all boiled down to, who gets lucky in race 36.

That may not be NASCAR’s official definition of how the Chase works, but it seems pretty accurate.

Anyway, here they are and how they got there, plus how many times they’ve made the chase:

1) #18-Kyle Busch, 9th time in the Chase, 4 wins this year

2) #2-Brad Keselowski, 5th time, 4 wins

3) #11-Denny Hamlin, 10th time, 3 wins

4) #4-Kevin Harvick, 10th time, 2 wins

5) #19-Carl Edwards, 9th time, 2 wins

6) #78-Martin Truex Jr., 4th time, 2 wins

7) #20-Matt Kenseth, 12th time, 2 wins

8) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 13th time, 2 wins

9) #22-Joey Logano, 4th time, 1 win

10) #42-Kyle Larson, 1st time, 1 win

11) #14- Tony Stewart, 8th time, 1 win

12) #41-Kurt Busch, 10th time, 1 win

13) #34-Chris Buescher, 1st time, 1 win

14) #24-Chase Elliott, 1st time, 0 wins, in on points

15) #3-Austin Dillon, 1st time, 0 wins, in on points

16) #1-Jamie McMurray, 2nd time, 0 wins, in on points

And who made it last year, and screwed the pooch this year: #31-Ryan Newman,, #27 Paul Menard and #15-Clint Bowyer. #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is sitting out the remainder of the season due to concussions.

The first Chase race is next weekend at Chicagoland Speedway in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400. And we’re not making that up.

A few notes:

--Kasey Kahne doesn’t make the Chase again, making us wonder how much longer team owner Rick Hendrick can afford to keep him on.

--None of the Roush Fenway Fords made the cut. Had Chris Buescher not lucked into a rainout win, Ford would have been represented only by the two Penske entries.

--Official Chase total: Eight Chevrolets, five Toyotas, three Fords. One of the reasons Ford is so poorly represented is that there are just so few Ford racing among the top teams. There are 11 Fords among the 41 cars entered this weekend, but most are from teams in the bottom half of the standings.