RELATED: Provisional Chase Grid
NO NEW WINNER, NO CHANGES
Martin Truex Jr. already had clinched a Chase spot, so his win at Darlington didn't cause any changes in the Chase Grid. There was a moment of uncertainty when Ryan Newman led for Laps 330-338 of the 367-lap race, however. But Newman slipped back, and he remains the first driver outside the Chase Grid. Newman also faces a potential penalty for failing post-race Laser Inspection System at Darlington. Jamie McMurray currently clings to the final Chase berth with one regular-season event at Richmond remaining.
Chris Buescher's 17th-place finish helped boost his Chase chances. Buescher prevailed at Pocono Raceway in August to check off one requirement for Chase eligibility; the second is a place among the top 30 in the Sprint Cup driver standings. Buescher remains 30th in the standings, increasing his lead over 31st-place David Ragan to 11 points.
Drivers who have clinched a spot in the Chase are: Brad Keselowski, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. (all with multiple wins), along with one-win drivers Kurt Busch, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano and Tony Stewart. Chris Buescher is currently in the Chase Grid, but has not clinched a spot. After Sunday's 500-miler, just one regular-season race (Richmond) remains before the 16-driver postseason field is settled.
With 25 of 26 regular-season races complete, just three at-large spots (at present) for non-winners remain available. Here's how that picture looks post-Darlington.
Editor's note: The standings below are the Chase Grid standings, not the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers' standings.
|STANDING||DRIVER||POINTS DIFFERENTIAL FROM CUTOFF|
|22||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||-91|
|26||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||-181|