Race to Chase update: Keselowski leads Glen movers and shakers

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Sunday’s Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen was the 22nd of 26 regular season races before NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup. Kyle Busch held off Brad Keselowski, who came up just short at Watkins Glen again, to score his third victory of the season. Keselowski desperately needed his first win of the year but with others around him in points having issues, he jumped from 12th place to eighth in the standings.

Keselowski and Kasey Kahne swapped spots, the Pocono winner falling to 12th but still the first Wild Card driver a 34th place finish at the Glen. Martin Truex Jr. also gained four spots to move into 10th, while Jeff Gordon’s crash cost him four spots. Tony Stewart, like Denny Hamlin, will now miss the Chase in 2013 after his injuries. Fortunately, he’s out of the hospital and recovering.

Here’s where things sit as of now:

1. Jimmie Johnson, 808 points, 4 wins
2. Clint Bowyer, 733, 0
3. Carl Edwards, 728, 1
4. Kevin Harvick, 707, 2
5. Kyle Busch, 693, 3
6. Dale Earnhardt Jr., 670, 0
7. Matt Kenseth, 659, 4
8. Brad Keselowski, 634, 0
9. Greg Biffle, 627, 1
10. Martin Truex Jr., 625, 1
11. Kurt Busch, -2 behind Truex, 0 wins
12. Kasey Kahne, -3, 2
13. Jeff Gordon, -15, 0
14. Ryan Newman, -20, 1
15. Jamie McMurray, -25, 0
16. Joey Logano, -27, 0
17. Tony Stewart, -31, 1
18. Aric Almirola, -64, 0
19. Paul Menard, -66, 0
20. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., -94, 0

We’ll feel comfortable saying that six of the 12 Chasers seem pretty definitive at this point with four races to go. One already is, as Jimmie Johnson clinched his berth Sunday.

LOCKED IN: Johnson
VIRTUAL LOCKS: Bowyer, Edwards, Harvick, Kyle Busch, Kenseth
ALMOST LOCKS: Earnhardt Jr., Kahne
GOOD FOR NOW: Keselowski, Biffle, Truex, Newman

IN RANGE: Kurt Busch, Gordon, McMurray
OUT OF RANGE: Logano
VIRTUALLY ELIMINATED: Stewart, Almirola, Menard, Stenhouse Jr.

PREVIOUS RACE TO CHASE UPDATES: Indianapolis, Pocono 2