NASCAR Cup: Chase standings after Martinsville Speedway
Jimmie Johnson, with the help of his daughter, applies a winner decal to his car after winning the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 30, 2016 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).
By AMANDA VINCENT
The Goody’s Fast Relief 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on Sunday was the first race of the Chase for the Sprint Cup round of eight. With the race win, Jimmie Johnson cemented his slot in the final-four that will battle for the 2016 title in the season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Three of the four Joe Gibbs Racing drivers in the Chase — Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch — finished in the top-five at Martinsville, taking the third through fifth spots in the race finishing order. As a result, they line-up behind Johnson in the points standings, in the three other provisional advancing positions with two races remaining in the round of eight. Hamlin finished one position ahead of Kenseth and both drivers led laps, but because Kenseth received an additional bonus point for leading a race-high 176 laps, the two JGR teammates are tied in the standings.
Joey Logano finished in the top-10, but with four other Chasers finishing ahead of him at Martinsville, Logano will head into the Nov. 6 race at Texas Motor Speedway fifth in the standings, the first provisional elimination spot. While on the provisional outside looking in, though, he’s not out by much. Logano trails fourth-place driver Busch by a scant four points.
Logano is followed in other provisional elimination spots by drivers that struggled at Martinsville — Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch and Carl Edwards.
Here’s a look at the standings among the eight remaining Chase drivers:
1. Jimmie Johnson (1 win)
2. Denny Hamlin (4039 points)
3. Matt Kenseth (4039)
4. Kyle Busch (4037)
5. Joey Logano (4033)
6. Kevin Harvick (4021)
7. Kurt Busch (4019)
8. Carl Edwards (4005)