Update on the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings
After 20 races, there are 11 drivers eligible for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Following Kyle Busch’s fourth victory of the season on Sunday at Indianapolis, there are still plenty of drivers vying for those final five spots. At this time, the 11 drivers in the Chase grid are: Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart.
Here’s a look at the five drivers currently holding down the final spots in the Chase grid:
Chase Elliott (+63 points)
Chase Elliott is 11th in the point standings and is the first driver in based on points in the Chase grid. The good news for Elliott is that he’s already raced this season at four of the next six tracks and he’s finished in the top four in three of those races.
Austin Dillon (+58 points)
Like Elliott, Austin Dillon has to feel pretty good about his chances at making the Chase. Dillon is 12th in the point standings and is holding steady in his position. Last time Dillon was at Pocono, he had brake problems which caused him to finish 37th. Since then, he’s only finished out of the Top 13 twice.
Ryan Newman (+45 points)
After his 28th-place finish at Talladega on May 1st, Ryan Newman has dramatically improved his position in the points standings. In the next nine races (which started with a seventh-place finish at Kansas), Newman had an average finish of 10.2 and had five Top-10 finishes. Newman now sits at 13th in the point standings, which is six spots better than where he was coming into Kansas. Austin Dillon and Newman switched spots in the point standings after Newman got caught up in a couple of wrecks at Indianapolis and finished 31st. Pocono is one of Newman’s strongest tracks so he’ll most likely bounce back from his disappointing performance at the Brickyard last week.
Jamie McMurray (+34 points)
Jamie McMurray’s last 10 races are similar to Newman. McMurray has three Top-10 finishes since Kansas with two of those coming in the last three weeks. Also like Newman, McMurray had trouble at the Brickyard, finishing 19th. Unfortunately, McMurray has been caught up in wrecks which have caused his poor finish at Indianapolis and his 34th-place finish at Daytona.
Kyle Larson (+10 points)
Kyle Larson had one of his best racing weeks ever last week. Larson had a miraculous comeback victory in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Eldora on Wednesday and then finished fifth at Indianapolis, which moved him into the final spot in the Chase grid. Since his disappointing 35th-place finish at Kansas in May, Larson has finished in the Top 13 in all but two of the 10 races. Not including Tony Stewart, Larson has made the biggest gains in the point standings since May began (22nd to 15th).
Larson has raced well at five of the final six tracks before the Chase begins. At Pocono, he’s finished in the Top 11 in each of his five races at the track and he got his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole start at the track. At Watkins Glen, he has a Top-five finish in one of his two starts at the track. At Michigan, Larson finished third earlier this year. He’s finished in the Top 10 in both of his starts at Darlington. Larson has yet to get a Top-10 finish at Richmond, which is the final race before the Chase begins. With an average finish of 13th at the track, Larson looks to change that in his sixth start at Richmond.
The First Four Out
Sitting outside the Chase grid are Kasey Kahne (-10 points), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (-11 points), Trevor Bayne (-14) and Ryan Blaney (-22). Time is running out for these four drivers so grabbing a win in these final six races is almost a necessity at this point to get into the Chase.
Tune-in to the Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway on Sunday at 12:30 PM CT on NBCSN. Fans can also listen to the race on MRN affiliates throughout the country.
Racing returns to Kansas Speedway in less than 80 days and tickets are currently on sale by calling 866.460.7223 or logging on to www.kansasspeedway.com for the Hollywood Casino 400, the fifth race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup on Oct. 16, the Kansas Lottery 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race on Oct. 15, and the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season finale on Oct. 14.
Parking is always free at Kansas Speedway and fans can bring in one 14x14x14-inch soft-sided cooler with their favorite food and beverages.
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