News & Media


Standings Shuffle: Feeling Gordon's pain

November 04, 2013, George Winkler, NASCAR.com

Texas crash dashes hopes for fifth title as No. 24 falls three spots in standings

Updated standingsFull Texas coverage

Three up

Three down

FULL SERIES COVERAGE

Pos.

Driver

Pts back

+/-

1.

Jimmie Johnson

--

+1

2.

Matt Kenseth

-7


-1

3.

Kevin Harvick

-40

+1

4.

Kyle Busch

-52

+1

5.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

-62

+2

6.

Jeff Gordon

-69

-3

7.

Clint Bowyer

-69

-1

8.

Greg Biffle

-73

0

9.

Joey Logano

-91

+2

10.

Kurt Busch

-96

-1

11.

Carl Edwards

-116

-1

12.

Ryan Newman

-118

0

13.

Kasey Kahne

-133

0

IN THE GREEN

Jimmie Johnson (Change: Second to first)
Johnson has a seven-point lead over Matt Kenseth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup after a dominant performance at Texas where he led 255 of 334 laps en route to his sixth victory of the season. The news gets even better for the No. 48 because Johnson's 116.4 Driver Rating at Phoenix in the past eight years towers over that of every other driver, including Matt Kenseth (87.0). However, Johnson entered the final Phoenix race last season in the same position, seven points up on Brad Keselowski, and couldn't close the deal on a sixth title. So he'll be the first one to say this Chase isn't over yet.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Change: Seventh to fifth)

Earnhardt Jr. posted his third second-place finish in the Chase with another strong run at Texas. Junior now has 13 top-10 finishes in 23 career Sprint Cup Series races at Texas Motor Speedway. However, one wonders where he'd be if he had avoided that 35th-place finish at Chicagoland to start the 2013 Chase. Other than that blip, he has been strong in the postseason with six top-10 finishes in the seven races following Chicagoland. Perhaps he's closing in on his first win of the season.

Joey Logano (Change: 11th to ninth)

Compared to the drama that unfolded around the Penske Racing team the last time the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series was in Texas, this had to be a breeze for Logano, who finished a career-best third at the track. Remember, Logano barely made it to the grid on time for the spring race in Texas but battled back to finish fifth. Afterward the rear housings for Logano and Brad Keselowski failed inspection, leading to penalties for both teams. Fast-forward to the fall and Logano was all smiles after moving up two spots in the Chase standings as he tries to build momentum.

IN THE RED

Jeff Gordon (Change: Third to sixth)

Even if you aren't a Gordon fan, you had to feel for what happened to the four-time champ at Texas. Seventy-four laps into the AAA Texas 500 he blew a left front tire and hit the wall in Turn 1, damaging the right side of the No. 24. Gordon admirably returned to the race but finished in 38th place, 187 laps down. Down 69 points with two races to go, Gordon's chance for a fifth title is basically done. If that turns out to be the case, it was a dramatic ending to a run that had plenty of drama to start with when Gordon was allowed in as the 13th Chase driver following the Richmond incident.

Carl Edwards (Change: 10th to 11th)

Entering Phoenix, Edwards has the second-best Driver Rating (100.6) in the past eight years there, and he won the Phoenix race earlier this year. But a strong finish to the 2013 season is all the Roush Fenway Racing driver can shoot for after being officially eliminated from title contention following Texas. Edwards won the Coors Light Pole award, but lost his engine during the race and finished 37th. That prompted Edwards, who was driving the No. 99 Aflac Ford, to say: "Aflac has coverage for just about everything, but I don't think they cover sick engines."

Kurt Busch (Change: Ninth to 10th)

After starting the Chase strong with a fourth-place finish at Chicagoland, Busch has settled into the middle of the pack for the subsequent races -- save for Kansas, where he was second. Busch's 17th-place showing at Texas continued a string of finishes outside the top 10 during the Chase. And although Busch is 96 points behind the leader, he is eliminated from title contention by virtue of a tiebreaker he'd lose to Johnson.

MISSED CHANCES

Matt Kenseth (Change: First to second)

A pit-road speeding penalty pushed Kenseth to the middle of the pack during the AAA Texas 500, but it didn't take him long to get back in the top 10, and eventually he finished fourth. It was a good effort, but when the man you're battling for the championship finishes first, it's not quite good enough. Kenseth is a master of 1.5-mile tracks, so pundits generally expected him and not Johnson to grab a lead in the Chase coming out of Texas. Now the fight switches to Phoenix, a 1-mile track where Kenseth hasn't been as prolific.

MORE:

READ: Johnson ahead
of Kenseth after Texas

READ: Gordon's Chase hopes
fall with wreck

WATCH: Hendrick isn't
celebrating yet

WATCH: Drivers sound
off after Texas

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