Standings Shuffle: Sonoma shakes it up
June 23, 2013, Pat DeCola, NASCAR.com
Lots of ups and downs for some big names at Sonoma Raceway
In the green
Martin Truex Jr. (Change: 13th to 10th)
The win was huge for many reasons for Truex, but in terms of the standings he’s now solidly in the top 10 as drivers who have no wins (Earnhardt Jr., Keselowski, Menard) will get filtered down.
Jeff Gordon (Change: 16th to 13th)
Gordon came close to earning his sixth Sonoma victory with his second-place finish, but more importantly he gains crucial traction in the standings with his fourth top-five finish this season.
Marcos Ambrose (Change: 23rd to 22nd)
Ambrose is still a long shot to make the Chase, especially coming away from a road course without a win, but the driver remains determined and is now one spot closer to being in Wild Card contention.
Kurt Busch (Change: 20th to 17th)
Busch finally pulled through and finished a whole race when he had a car he felt could win -- which has been a problem for him throughout the season. That crucial win still eludes him, though.
In the red
Tony Stewart (Change: 10th to 15th)
After four straight top-10 finishes, Stewart was due for an adjustment. Tough to see why the adjustment (28th-place finish) was so rough, though. However, he still holds onto a Wild Card spot with his lone victory.
Kyle Busch (Change: 6th to 8th)
Few Sprint Cup regulars had as poor of a day as Busch who had a run-in with Juan Pablo Montoya in the early going and never seemed to recuperate.
Jeff Burton (Change: 17th to 20th)
Burton was hanging around in 17th before this race, but with his 31st-place finish at Sonoma, making the Chase becomes a difficult proposition. Too bad, because he gained four spots after Michigan.
Jamie McMurray (Change: Stays 21st)
Things seemed to be headed McMurray’s way when he took the Coors Light Pole ahead of the race, but after leading just three laps and finishing 25th, McMurray, too finds himself behind the 8-ball when it comes to Chase chances.
Denny Hamlin (Change: 26th to 25th)
It might be time to unofficially close the book on Hamlin’s hope of making a run at the Chase this season. He did go up a spot, but there may not be enough races to make up the ground necessary.
Brad Keselowski (Change: Stays 9th)
If Keselowski slips down the standings, and the defending champ plans on, you know, defending his title, he may have to do so Wild Card style.