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NASCAR Standings 2012: Chase Hopes Dim For Some Drivers After Dover Results

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After three races, who are the legitimate contenders for NASCAR's Chase for the Sprint Cup?

Looking at the standings, it appears to be a three-man battle between points leader Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson (five points back) and Denny Hamlin (16 points behind).

After that, fourth-place Clint Bowyer trails by a healthy 25-point margin and has never won on a 1.5-mile track – which are four of the final seven races. So can Bowyer really out-run Keselowski, Johnson and Hamlin? Doubtful.

Next is Tony Stewart and Kasey Kahne, who are tied for fifth (32 points back). Stewart isn't running well, but Kahne could still potentially get back in the mix if the three main contenders wreck at Talladega or something along those lines.

Everyone else – including seventh-place Dale Earnhardt Jr. – is out of it. Sure, those drivers might say publicly they still have a shot, but it would take a miracle.

Here are the NASCAR standings after Sunday's race at Dover International Speedway:

  1. Brad Keselowski
  2. Jimmie Johnson -5
  3. Denny Hamlin -16
  4. Clint Bowyer -25
  5. Tony Stewart -32
  6. Kasey Kahne -32
  7. Dale Earnhardt Jr. -39
  8. Martin Truex Jr. -42
  9. Kevin Harvick -46
  10. Jeff Gordon -48
  11. Greg Biffle -51
  12. Matt Kenseth -72