After two Chase races, Jimmie Johnson's chances at a six-consecutive title were being questioned by some. After four races, he was right back in the thick of things, three points outside of the lead.
But following Saturday night's hard hit and 34th-place finish, the five-time series champion is eighth in the Chase standings – 35 points out of the lead – and facing an uphill battle to defend his title.
"We just have to go racing; that is all there is to it," Johnson said. "There are five races left, and right now all we have are those five races. Definitely not the night we wanted. This is not going to help us win a sixth championship."
Johnson promised he and the No. 48 team "won't quit" and "will go for every point" they can in the five remaining Chase races.
Things remained close at the top of the standings following Saturday night's race, with Carl Edwards extending his lead over Kevin Harvick to five points. Matt Kenseth was able to move to third in the Chase after scoring the win, while Kyle Busch jumped four spots to fourth.
Both Brad Keselowski and Kurt Busch fell in the standings after disappointing runs.
Here are the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings after five Chase races:
- Carl Edwards
- Kevin Harvick -5
- Matt Kenseth -7
- Kyle Busch -18
- Tony Stewart -24
- Brad Keselowski -25
- Kurt Busch -27
- Jimmie Johnson -35
- Dale Earnhardt Jr. -60
- Ryan Newman -61
- Jeff Gordon -66
- Denny Hamlin -86