Standings Shuffle: Chase field set
September 07, 2013, Taylor Starer, NASCAR.com
Matt Kenseth holds the top seed in the Chase standings
STANDINGS *Wild Card
|9.||Dale Earnhardt Jr.
|12.||Martin Truex Jr.*
IN THE GREEN
Matt Kenseth (Change: 6th to 1st)
Starting in the fifth position at Richmond, Matt Kenseth looked to establish himself as the “favorite” in the Chase. He led for five laps, but was overtaken by the No. 78 of Kurt Busch. Kenseth went on to finish sixth, just outside the top five, but will start the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup as the No. 1 seed by virtue of his five victories this season.
Kyle Busch (Change: 5th to 3rd)
With four wins at Richmond, Kyle Busch knows what it takes to run well at the 0.75-mile oval. Busch had already clinched a spot in the Chase no matter how Richmond panned out. Following Saturday’s race, Busch climbed to third in the Chase standings with 2,012 points, tying with Jimmie Johnson. Johnson owns the tiebreaker over Busch, however.
Joey Logano (Change: 8th to 6th)
After having issues early, Joey Logano thought his chance at the Chase was ending at Richmond. Dropping to 25th after starting eighth, Logano complained of having tire issues. Hoping to at least make the Wild Card with Kasey Kahne, Logano finished 22nd, and clinched the final top-10 spot in the Chase, kicking Jeff Gordon out of the top 10 by just one point.
IN THE RED
Jimmie Johnson (Change: 1st to 2nd)
Saturday just wasn’t Jimmie Johnson’s night. Days after the birth of his second child, Johnson lost his top spot in the standings to Matt Kenseth. Having to serve an early penalty for exiting pit road too fast, the series of unfortunate events didn’t stop there for Johnson. Two laps behind and running in 34th place, Johnson had battery issues and went to the garage. Returning 24 laps down, he later suffered a loose right front tire and finished 40th. Despite Johnson’s mishaps, he holds the second Chase position, in front of Kyle Busch.
Kevin Harvick (Change: 3rd to 4th)
Starting off 17th, Harvick made his way to second place at one point after close racing with Brad Keselowski, but was eventually overtaken by Kurt Busch after a restart. It seemed as if the short track sparked short tempers, as Keselowski and Harvick made contact. Eventually, Harvick finished 11th and will hold the fourth seed in the Chase.
Carl Edwards (Change: 4th to 5th)
Thanks to Edwards, Richmond got to see some spontaneous gymnastics. Qualifying 26th, Edwards swiftly made his way to the top 10 by Lap 184. Edwards eventually took the lead for 46 laps and came out victorious. Even though Edwards went down one spot in his Chase seeding, he still managed to claim a second win of the season and finish the regular season with the most points.
Brad Keselowski (Change: 15th to 16th)
Winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series race last night, Brad Keselowski had high hopes entering Saturday’s finale. Holding the lead for 142 laps, Kes had a shot to defend his Cup title. At Lap 342, Keselowski went to pit road for a chassis adjustment in hopes of making his car better on short runs. An unfortunate caution sent him tumbling down the standings, and he ended up finishing 17th.
Ryan Newman (No Change)
The cards didn’t fall where Ryan Newman hoped they would. Starting 24th at Richmond, Newman slowly made his way to hold the lead for four laps before losing it at pit road following a late caution. Newman, who would have qualified for the Chase with a victory, had to settle for third. He tied with Martin Truex Jr. for the final Wild Card position. The tiebreaking difference was Truex Jr.’s second-place finish at Texas.