NASCAR & Auto Racing

A look at who remains in NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup

A capsule look at the 12 remaining contenders for the championship in NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup:

1. Joey Logano

No. 22 Team Penske Ford

Wins: 5. Top 5s: 14. Top 10s: 19.

Where he stands: Logano’s victory at Kansas not only put him atop the point standings, it automatically qualified him for the next round of the Chase.

2. Kyle Busch (-6)

No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota

Wins: 1. Top 5s: 7. Top 10s: 13.

Where he stands: Despite having an “off season” by Busch’s standards, four straight top 10s have kept him near the top of the points. But he’s never won at Charlotte.

3. Carl Edwards (-9)

No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford

Wins: 2. Top 5s: 7. Top 10s: 12.

Where he stands: Another driver who’s never won at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Edwards has an average finish of 11.4, 12 top 10s in 19 career starts there.

4. Ryan Newman (-9)

No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Chevy

Wins: 0. Top 5s: 2. Top 10s: 12.

Where he stands: Newman’s a strong qualifier at Charlotte, with nine of his 51 career poles there. But strong finishes there have been a challenge (10 top 10s in 29 starts).

5. Denny Hamlin (-11)

No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota

Wins: 1. Top 5s: 6. Top 10s: 13.

Where he stands: A good finish at Charlotte, where he’s finished in the top 10 in seven of his past eight starts, can help Hamlin advance as much as a win.

6. Kevin Harvick (-15)

No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevy

Wins: 2. Top 5s: 10. Top 10s: 15.

Where he stands: Harvick has won the Coca-Cola 600 twice and finished second in the May race this season. Can this be the weekend where a strong run ends in Victory Lane?

7. Matt Kenseth (-17)

No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota

Wins: 0. Top 5s: 11. Top 10s: 18.

Where he stands: After a seven-win season in 2013, Kenseth is winless this season. But he’s won twice at Charlotte and has third-place runs in his past two starts there.

8. Jeff Gordon (-17)

No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy

Wins: 4. Top 5s: 11. Top 10s: 19.

Where he stands: “Wonder Boy” is now 43, but he’s having his best season since 2007. Gordon also has five wins at Charlotte and was seventh in the May race.

9. Kasey Kahne (-25)

No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy

Wins: 1. Top 5s: 3. Top 10s: 10.

Where he stands: A win at Charlotte (where he has four career titles and finished second last October) would help Kahne break out of a recent slump.

10. Brad Keselowski (-39)

No. 2 Team Penske Ford

Wins: 5. Top 5s: 13. Top 10s: 16.

Where he stands: A wreck at Kansas knocked the 2012 Sprint Cup champion from the points lead. He can dig out of that hole at Charlotte, where he won last year’s BofA 500.

11. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (-42)

No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy

Wins: 3. Top 5s: 11. Top 10s: 17.

Where he stands: Junior has never won at Charlotte in 29 career starts, but a strong run at Kansas has him believing he can celebrate his 40th birthday in Victory Lane this weekend.

12. Jimmie Johnson (-44)

No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy

Wins: 3. Top 5s: 10. Top 10s: 18.

Where he stands: “Six-time” is in real danger of not contending for the Sprint Cup title. But Johnson has seven career wins at Charlotte, including May’s Coca-Cola 600.

Bill Kiser

  Comments