NASCAR standings 2014: Runner-up finish gives Jeff Gordon points lead

Jonathan Ferrey

Jeff Gordon is leading the championship standings for the first time since 2009.

Jeff Gordon finds himself in a unique position, one he hasn't experienced in nearly five years. The four-time Sprint Cup champion is now atop the series standings, holding a four-point lead over Matt Kenseth after seven of 26 regular season races.

That Gordon is the points leader comes as a result of a runner-up finish Monday at Texas Motor Speedway. He finished second to Joey Logano, who with fresher tires charged by Gordon as the two raced under the white flag.

Duck Commander 500

"I'm sure Joey was going to go wherever I didn't," Gordon said. "Probably would have been a little bit better off on the top. Then he crossed over and got into the back of me pretty good. At that point I was just thinking, I just want to finish. Looked out my mirror, those guys were racing hard behind me. A great second-place finish for me."

Leading a race-high 108 laps, Logano had the strongest car for much of the afternoon, and was seemingly headed to Victory Lane when a caution for debris waved with two laps to go. But following subsequent pit stops it was Gordon, sixth before pitting, who was in the lead thanks to a decision by crew chief Alan Gustafson to go with just two tires.

Having struggled on restarts in recent seasons, the onus then fell on Gordon to get a good jump, which he did, but it still wasn't enough. Logano was just too fast for Gordon to fend off and quickly pulled away.

"Some of it's in the car, some of it's in the setup, but most of it's on me," Gordon said. "Today on that particular one, it was just all about not spinning the tires too much. So I tried to carry a little bit more speed to the line because I knew that those guys had an advantage with the newer tires. Got a pretty good start."

Junior Crashes in Texas

Although pleased with his runner-up finish and being ranked No. 1 in points, Gordon couldn't help himself from lamenting what might have been. Under a format where winning is all encompassing and all but ensures a driver a Chase for the Sprint Cup berth, consistency no longer carries the same importance as in years past.

It's a fact Gordon, winless on the year, is quite aware of despite his standing heading into Saturday's race at Darlington Raceway.

"The pressure's always there to win," Gordon said. "You always want to win. Winning benefits you whether it's this points system or any other points system. Winning is the ultimate. That's what we are all out there to do.

"Every race that goes by that there's a different winner, the pressure gets more intense. You just got to go look at that next opportunity and try to put yourself in that position to go win it."

Sprint Cup standings

Position Driver Points Behind Win
1 Jeff Gordon 259 0
2 Matt Kenseth 255 -4 0
3 Carl Edwards 247 -12 1
4 Joey Logano 235 -24 1
5 Kyle Busch 231 -28 1
6 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 228 -31 1
7 Jimmie Johnson 228 -31 0
8 Brad Keselowski 218 -41 1
9 Brian Vickers 205 -54 0
10 Paul Menard 203 -56 0
11 Ryan Newman 202 -57 0
12 Austin Dillon 202 -57 0
13 Denny Hamlin 197 -62 0
14 Tony Stewart 189 -70 0
15 Kyle Larson 187 -72 0
16 Greg Biffle 187 -72 0
17 Clint Bowyer 187 -72 0
18 Marcos Ambrose 186 -73 0
19 Kasey Kahne 178 -81 0
20 A.J. Allmendinger 173 -86 0
21 Jamie McMurray 167 -92 0
22 Aric Almirola 164 -95 0
23 Casey Mears 162 -97 0
24 Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. 154 -105 0
25 Kurt Busch 151 -108 1
26 Kevin Harvick 138 -121 1
27 Martin Truex, Jr. 131 -128 0
28 Justin Allgaier 129 -130 0
29 Danica Patrick 121 -138 0
30 Reed Sorenson 113 -146 0
31 David Gilliland 107 -152 0
32 Michael Annett 103 -156 0
33 Cole Whitt 99 -160 0
34 David Ragan 94 -165 0
35 Alex Bowman 85 -174 0
36 Josh Wise 67 -192 0
37 Travis Kvapil 52 -207 0
38 Ryan Truex 47 -212 0
39 Parker Kligerman 40 -219 0
40 Michael McDowell 40 -219 0

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