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Gordon joins Chase contenders with Kansas win

May 10, 2014, Staff report, NASCAR.com

First win of 2014 puts points leader in good position to reach postseason

Jeff Gordon has been the most consistent driver in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this year, as evidenced by his points lead, but Victory Lane eluded him through the first 10 races of the season.

After holding off Kevin Harvick to win the 5-hour Energy 400 at Kansas Speedway on Saturday night, Gordon said it felt like "a huge weight off my shoulders."

Gordon now has a 15-point lead over second-place Matt Kenseth in the points standings, but more importantly, is one of nine drivers with at least one win.

"We've had a fast car every single weekend," Gordon said, "and it gives me so much confidence."

Gordon became the first three-time winner at Kansas, and his 89 career victories in the premier series rank third all-time.

Gordon has eight top-10 finishes this season, including five top-fives.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. (fifth Saturday) and Joey Logano, who finished fourth, both have six top-fives in 2014.

Logano (Texas and Richmond) and Harvick (Phoenix and Darlington) are the only two-time winners in the Sprint Cup Series this season; Earnhardt Jr. (Daytona), Brad Keselowski (Las Vegas), Carl Edwards (Bristol), Kyle Busch (Fontana) and Kurt Busch (Martinsville) each have one win.

Drivers with at least two wins will gain one of the 16 spots in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, assuming they rank among the top 30 in the standings and attempt to qualify for all 26 races.

Any driver with one win through the first 26 races, and a top-30 ranking in the points standings, could also potentially qualify for the Chase. If the points leader does not have a win, that driver will also qualify for the Chase.

After the 11th race of NASCAR's regular season, here is how the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings look:

Pos. Driver Chase berth
1. Joey Logano
Winner: Texas, Richmond
2. Kevin Harvick
Winner: Phoenix, Darlington
3. Jeff Gordon
Winner: Kansas
4. Kyle Busch
Winner: Fontana
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Winner: Daytona
6. Carl Edwards
Winner: Bristol
7. Brad Keselowski
Winner: Las Vegas
8. Denny Hamlin
Winner: Talladega
9. Kurt Busch
Winner: Martinsville
10. Matt Kenseth
2nd in points
11. Jimmie Johnson
7th in points
12. Ryan Newman
8th in points
13. Greg Biffle
9th in points
14. Brian Vickers
10th in points
15. Kyle Larson
13th in points
16. Austin Dillon
14th in points


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