When it comes to the two wild cards available for the Chase, Kasey Kahne's victory Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway made for a whole new ballgame.
Kahne, who had been out of a Chase spot entering Loudon, moved into the No. 1 wild card spot thanks to his second win of the season. And not only that, he shot up four positions to 12th in the standings – which could help him if he needs a tiebreaker later.
Meanwhile, Carl Edwards' lackluster finish meant the top 10 is now even more firmed up than before. Edwards trails 10th-place Brad Keselowski by 46 points, and it appears the only way into the Chase for any driver currently outside the top 10 is through a wild card.
That means win or bust for drivers like Edwards and Jeff Gordon, each of whom are winless on the season.
Here's a look at the updated NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings after Loudon in regard to how each driver relates to the Chase:
- Matt Kenseth +140 inside Chase
- Dale Earnhardt Jr. +124
- Greg Biffle +100
- Jimmie Johnson +89
- Denny Hamlin +61
- Kevin Harvick +55
- Tony Stewart +51
- Martin Truex Jr. +50
- Clint Bowyer +47
- Brad Keselowski +46
- Carl Edwards -46 (needs one win to get No. 2 wild card spot)
- Kasey Kahne -66 (Holds No. 1 wild card spot, two wins)
- Kyle Busch -68 (Holds No. 2 wild card spot, one win)
- Ryan Newman -77 (-9 points from No. 2 wild card, one win)
- Paul Menard -79
- Joey Logano -80 (-12 points from No. 2 wild card, one win)
- Jeff Gordon -89
- Marcos Ambrose -118
- Jeff Burton -120
- Jamie McMurray -127