There is no surprise which driver is atop the Sprint Cup Series standings following Sunday's Sylvania 300. Matt Kenseth joins Greg Biffle (2008) and Tony Stewart (2011) as the only drivers to open the Chase for the Sprint Cup by winning consecutive races following his victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Kenseth stretched his points lead to eight over Kyle Busch. Busch, for the second week, finished runner-up to his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate. Sitting third overall is Jimmie Johnson, very much in contention at just 18 points back.
There's a sizable gap, beginning after Johnson, that has developed separating the contenders and pretenders. With just two rounds of the Chase complete fourth- and fifth-place Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle are already 36 and 38 points behind Kenseth. Holding positions six through 10 in the standings are Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman and Clint Bowyer.
Gordon led near the halfway mark Sunday and looked poised to cut into Kenseth's points advantage. He slid through his stall while making a pit stop, however. By the time he corrected his mistake, he fell to 22nd and never recovered. He finished 15th.
A sixth-place run jumped Dale Earnhardt Jr. up two spots in the standings to 11th while Joey Logano (12th) and Kasey Kahne (13th) completes the rest of the drivers eligible for the championship.
The next race in NASCAR's Chase is the AAA 400 Sunday at Dover International Speedway.
|11||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||2049||-62||0|
|16||Martin Truex Jr.||752||-1359||1|
|19||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||700||-1411||0|