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Making the NASCAR Chase: where they stand after Watkins Glen

By AMANDA VINCENT
Denny Hamlin’s win in the Cheez-It 355 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International on Sunday was his first-career road-course win, but it also was his second trip to victory lane in 2016, adding to his win in the season-opening Daytona 400 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in February.
With his win, Hamlin became the six multi-race winner of 2016 while already being one of 12 drivers to visit victory lane in the first 22 of the 26-race regular season. His Joe Gibbs Racing teammate and reigning Sprint Cup champion, Kyle Busch, and Brad Keselowski continue to lead the way in the wins column, each with four wins.
Among the 12 race winners are Tony Stewart and Chris Buescher, both outside the top-16 in the points standings. Stewart, though, is in the top-30 of the standings, making his win at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway in June count for something in terms of getting into the 16-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup. Buescher, the winner at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., on Aug. 1, is close to banking on his win to get into the Chase. He’s right outside the top-30, a.k.a. Chase-qualifying territoy, but he’s in 31st, only three points outside the top-30 with four races remaining in the regular season.
With two drivers outside the top-16 with race wins, the Chase berths based on points are becominng fewer, especially if Buescher gets into and remains inside the top-30 by the cut-off at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway next month. And the fight for those final spots is tight, as evident by the standings listed, below.
Here’s a look at the standings, including drivers locked into the Chase, some who are provisionally in but not locked in, and others who are just on the outside looking in:
1. Brad Keselowski (4 wins)
2. Kyle Busch (4 wins)
3. Carl Edwards (2 wins)
4. Denny Hamlin (2 wins)
5. Matt Kenseth (2 wins)
6. Jimmie Johnson (2 wins)
7. Kevin Harvick (1 win)
8. Kurt Busch (1 win)
9. Joey Logano (1 win)
10. Martin Truex Jr. (1 win)
11. Tony Stewart (1 win)
12. Ryan Newman (562 points)
13. Chase Elliott (561 points)
14. Austin Dillon (559 points)
15. Jamie McMurray (550 points)
16. Kyle Larson (520 points)
17. Trevor Bayne (512 points)
18. Kasey Kahne (509 points)
19. Ryan Blaney (502 points)
_______________
31. Chris Buescher (1 win)
Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook (facebook.com/nascarexaminer)

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Posted by on August 9, 2016. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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