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Dale Jr. grabs top spot in Chase standings

August 03, 2014, Staff report,

Fan favorite has three wins this season after sweeping Pocono

MORE: Full race results | Updated series standings
RELATED: Full coverage of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup format changes | Official news release | Changes explained | Chase Facts and FAQ

Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s third win of the 2014 Sprint Cup Series season put him atop the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings.

Earnhardt Jr. became the third Sprint Cup Series driver to win three races this season, joining Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski, by holding off Kevin Harvick on Sunday at Pocono Raceway.

Harvick became the seventh driver to assure himself a spot in the 16-driver playoff field, assuming he attempts to qualify for the next five races.

In addition to Harvick, Earnhardt Jr., Keselowski, Jeff GordonCarl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson, and Joey Logano have clinched their playoff spots as long as they attempt to qualify for every race.

Eleven drivers have combined to win the first 21 points-paying races of the season, and five races remain before the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field is set. After the 21st points race of NASCAR's regular season, here is how the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings look: