Keselowski's win makes him third Chase prospect
March 09, 2014, Staff report, NASCAR.com
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RELATED: Full coverage of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup format changes | Official news release | Changes explained | Chase Facts and FAQ | Bracket (PDF)
After a disappointing 2013 season of not making the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski became the third driver of 2014 to virtually clinch a spot in the Chase this Sunday in the Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
It was an emotional win for Keselowski, being his first at the track in his Sprint Cup career and coming off a hard-fought battle for the lead on the final lap with Dale Earnhardt Jr.
It seems as if missing the Chase last year has fueled Keselowski to come back with a vengeance this season as he has three consecutive top-three finishes. Keselowski now stands a point behind leader Earnhardt Jr. in the Sprint Cup driver standings.
Earnhardt was the first to take advantage of the new format's emphasis on winning regular-season races, adding a sticker emblazoned with "Winner" above the driver's side window after prevailing in the season-opening Daytona 500 the previous weekend.
If Keselowski, Harvick or Earnhardt Jr. were to win again this season, they would be guaranteed a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
After the third race of NASCAR's regular season, here is how the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings look:
|1.||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Winner: Daytona|
|2.||Brad Keselowski||Winner: Las Vegas|
|3.||Kevin Harvick||Winner: Phoenix|
|4.||Jimmie Johnson||3rd in points|
|5.||Joey Logano||4th in points|
|6.||Jeff Gordon||5th in points|
|7.||Carl Edwards||6th in points|
|8.||Matt Kenseth||7th in points|
|9.||Denny Hamlin||8th in points|
||9th in points|
||10th in points|
||11th in points|
|13.||Greg Biffle||12th in points|
|14.||Austin Dillon||13th in points|
|15.||Kasey Kahne||15th in points|
|16.||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||16th in points|