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NASCAR standings 2014: Chaotic Texas tightens Chase for the Sprint Cup

An eventful race at Texas has compressed the Chase for the Sprint Cup standings.

Tom Pennington

A once sizeable points margin among the eight drivers has narrowed considerably with one race remaining in Round 3 of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

The differential between first-place Joey Logano and eighth-place Kevin Harvick is 18 points with Harvick trailing fourth-place Jeff Gordon by a mere five markers entering next week's race at Phoenix International Raceway.

Only four drivers will advance to the Nov. 16 championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. And because non-Chasers Dale Earnhardt and Jimmie Johnson won the past two events, three spots are assured of going to drivers via their points rank.

Following the Oct. 26 race at Martinsville Speedway the gap between first and eighth was 33 points, with championship favorites Brad Keselowski and Harvick each in significant deficits.

That the standings tightened is a byproduct of a fevered race Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway.

Chasers Logano, Ryan Newman, Gordon and Kenseth all suffered tire-related problems, while a series of late cautions allowed several drivers to improve their finishes. Carl Edwards rallied from two laps down to finish ninth. Logano, who suffered a flat tire and spun with 36 laps to go, charged from 26th 12th. With each position on the track representing one point, every pass carries added importance.

"We got super lucky there at the end and my guys never quit," Edwards said. "I have no idea where we are at in points, but we certainly finished better than we should have tonight. It was a great night when for awhile it didn't look like it was going to be. We get to move on to Phoenix now and we will know what we have to do there. We will take it."

Harvick, Keselowski and Gordon were all in contention for the victory, which would have guaranteed a place in the final four. However, as Gordon and Keselowski were challenging Johnson for the lead in the first of two overtimes, Gordon spun after contact with Keselowski and fell to 29th.

On the subsequent restart, Johnson fended off Harvick and Keselowski to secure the victory. Harvick and Keselowski placed second and third, respectively, but were able to put themselves within reasonable distance entering Phoenix.

"We had a solid night, got ourselves back in the championship running for what we needed to do on the weekend," Harvick said. "Next week's going to be pretty crazy. I'm looking forward to it."

Chase for the Sprint Cup Standings

Rank Driver Points Behind
1 Joey Logano 4,072 --
2 Denny Hamlin 4,072 0
3 Ryan Newman 4,070 -2
4 Jeff Gordon 4,060 -12
5 Carl Edwards 4,059 -13
6 Matt Kenseth 4,059 -13
7 Brad Keselowski 4,055 -17
8 Kevin Harvick 4,054 -18