Talladega wrecks result in just minimal changes in Sprint Cup points; Gordon, Kenseth still 1-2

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Okay, take the ‘Dega mulligan and move on.

That’s pretty much the scenario for most of the drivers in the Sprint Cup standings after Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway.

Because so many of the top drivers in the rankings coming into the race were involved in wrecks, the overall standings didn’t really change all that much.

Jeff Gordon remained in first place in the Cup standings, three points ahead of Matt Kenseth, who stayed in second place.

Kyle Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr. each gained one spot in the rankings, moving up to third (four points behind Gordon) and fourth (-19), respectively.

Carl Edwards dropped one place, into a tie for fourth with Earnhardt.

Rounding out the top 10 after ‘Dega, Joey Logano remained in sixth place (-42), Jimmie Johnson improved from eighth to seventh (-43), Greg Biffle gained three places to jump to eighth (-47), Ryan Newman remained in ninth (-48) and Brian Vickers remained in 10th (-50).

The biggest improvement in the standings by any driver Sunday was three positions, by both Biffle and by Clint Bowyer, who climbed into the top 20 and left Talladega in 18th position (-86).

Suffering the biggest drop in the standings was Tony Stewart, who fell six places, from 15th to 21st (-103).

Other changes of note:

* Brad Keselowski dropped four places in the standings, from seventh to 11th (-53).

* Jamie McMurray dropped five places, from 19th to 24th (-106).

* Kurt Busch fell out of the top 25 to 27th (-151).

* Last year’s spring Talladega race winner David Ragan dropped four spots to 35th after Sunday’s race (-216).

* In what he has previously said would be the final race of his three-plus decade Cup career, Terry Labonte finished

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UNOFFICIAL Provided by NASCAR Statistics- Sunday, 5/4/2014 @ 4:42 PM Central UNOFFICIAL

Points Report

Talladega Superspeedway

45th Annual Aaron’s 499

Pos Driver BonusPts Points Ldr Nxt Starts Poles Wins T5s T10s DNFs Money Won PPos G/L

1 Jeff Gordon 7 347 0 0 10 0 0 4 7 0 $2,382,113 1 0
2 Matt Kenseth 8 344 -3 -3 10 1 0 3 7 0 $2,028,762 2 0
3 Kyle Busch 10 343 -4 -1 10 1 1 3 5 0 $2,114,368 4 1
4 Dale Earnhardt Jr 10 328 -19 -15 10 0 1 5 6 1 $2,799,753 5 1
5 Carl Edwards 8 328 -19 0 10 0 1 2 5 1 $1,601,948 3 -2
6 Joey Logano 16 305 -42 -23 10 1 2 5 5 2 $2,293,318 6 0
7 Jimmie Johnson 9 304 -43 -1 10 0 0 3 5 0 $2,107,568 8 1
8 Greg Biffle 5 300 -47 -4 10 0 0 2 4 0 $1,814,683 11 3
9 Ryan Newman 3 299 -48 -1 10 0 0 0 4 0 $1,370,198 9 0
10 Brian Vickers 3 297 -50 -2 10 0 0 2 4 0 $1,659,513 10 0
11 Brad Keselowski 13 294 -53 -3 10 1 1 4 4 0 $2,577,893 7 -4
12 Denny Hamlin 9 292 -55 -2 9 1 1 2 3 0 $2,401,200 14 2
13 Kyle Larson # 0 286 -61 -6 10 0 0 2 5 1 $1,613,533 13 0
14 Austin Dillon # 1 281 -66 -5 10 0 0 0 1 0 $1,711,908 12 -2
15 AJ Allmendinger 2 279 -68 -2 10 0 0 1 3 0 $1,406,400 17 2
16 Marcos Ambrose 2 268 -79 -11 10 0 0 2 2 0 $1,527,933 16 0
17 Paul Menard 3 265 -82 -3 10 0 0 1 5 0 $1,800,698 18 1
18 Clint Bowyer 5 261 -86 -4 10 0 0 1 3 2 $1,575,053 21 3
19 Kevin Harvick 16 258 -89 -3 10 1 2 2 4 2 $1,901,923 20 1
20 Kasey Kahne 3 252 -95 -6 10 0 0 0 3 1 $1,372,383 22 2
21 Tony Stewart 1 244 -103 -8 10 1 0 2 4 1 $1,603,348 15 -6
22 Casey Mears 1 244 -103 0 10 0 0 0 1 0 $1,429,267 23 1
23 Aric Almirola 1 242 -105 -2 10 0 0 1 2 2 $1,517,363 24 1
24 Jamie McMurray 1 241 -106 -1 10 0 0 0 2 1 $1,578,368 19 -5
25 Ricky Stenhouse Jr 0 218 -129 -23 10 0 0 1 3 0 $1,648,363 26 1
26 Martin Truex Jr 0 209 -138 -9 10 0 0 0 1 1 $1,402,793 27 1
27 Kurt Busch 7 196 -151 -13 10 0 1 2 2 4 $1,283,708 25 -2
28 Justin Allgaier # 1 190 -157 -6 10 0 0 0 0 1 $1,328,504 28 0
29 Danica Patrick 2 176 -171 -14 10 0 0 0 0 1 $1,219,363 29 0
30 David Gilliland 3 152 -195 -24 10 0 0 0 0 1 $1,285,819 30 0
31 Michael Annett # 0 144 -203 -8 10 0 0 0 0 2 $1,168,724 33 2
32 Alex Bowman # 0 132 -215 -12 10 0 0 0 0 2 $1,135,470 34 2
33 Reed Sorenson 3 131 -216 -1 10 0 0 0 0 3 $1,108,794 32 -1
34 Cole Whitt # 0 131 -216 0 10 0 0 0 0 1 $1,062,083 35 1
35 David Ragan 3 131 -216 0 10 0 0 0 0 1 $1,210,228 31 -4
36 Josh Wise 0 119 -228 -12 9 0 0 0 0 0 $995,392 36 0
37 Ryan Truex # 0 77 -270 -42 8 0 0 0 0 2 $671,703 38 1
38 Travis Kvapil 2 72 -275 -5 8 0 0 0 0 0 $656,049 37 -1
39 Parker Kligerman 0 54 -293 -18 8 0 0 0 0 4 $829,833 39 0
40 Michael McDowell 1 49 -298 -5 6 0 0 0 0 3 $524,164 40 0
41 Terry Labonte 0 44 -303 -5 2 0 0 0 0 0 $479,744 44 3
42 David Reutimann 1 37 -310 -7 3 0 0 0 0 0 $255,665 41 -1
43 Bobby Labonte 0 29 -318 -8 1 0 0 0 0 0 $325,213 42 -1
44 Jeff Burton 0 27 -320 -2 1 0 0 0 0 0 $115,960 43 -1
45 Michael Waltrip 1 23 -324 -4 2 0 0 0 0 1 $384,038 48 3
46 David Stremme 0 22 -325 -1 3 0 0 0 0 1 $227,870 45 -1
47 Timmy Hill 0 7 -340 -15 2 0 0 0 0 1 $150,770 46 -1
Pos Driver BPts Points Ldr Nxt Starts Poles Wins T5s T10
s
DNFs Money Won PPos G/L
BPts – Bonus Points, -Ldr/-Nxt = Points behind Leader/Next higher, PPos = Previous Position, G/L = Points standing gain/loss, (i) Ineligible for driver points in this series48 Dave Blaney 0 4 -343 -3 2 0 0 0 0 2 $131,650 47 -1
49 Landon Cassill(i) 0 0 -347 -4 8 0 0 0 0 0 $958,783 49 0
50 Sam Hornish Jr.(i) 0 0 -347 -4 1 0 0 0 0 0 $107,410 50 0
51 Trevor Bayne(i) 0 0 -347 -4 4 0 0 0 0 2 $607,428 51 0
52 Brian Scott(i) 0 0 -347 -4 4 1 0 0 0 1 $573,865 52 0
53 Joe Nemechek(i) 0 0 -347 -4 6 0 0 0 0 2 $506,009 53 0
54 Blake Koch(i) 0 0 -347 -4 1 0 0 0 0 0 $72,946 54 0
55 J J Yeley(i) 0 0 -347 -4 1 0 0 0 0 1 $62,180 55 0
56 Morgan Shepherd(i) 0 0 -347 -4 1 0 0 0 0 1 $73,693 56 0
57 Eric McClure(i) 0 0 -347 -4 0 0 0 0 0 0 $24,763 57 0
Pos Driver BPts Points Ldr Nxt Starts Poles Wins T5s T10
s
DNFs Money Won PPos G/L
BPts – Bonus Points, -Ldr/-Nxt = Points behind Leader/Next higher, PPos = Previous Position, G/L = Points standing gain/loss, (i) Ineligible for driver points in this series

Title contenders stumble on the streets of Toronto

Photo: IndyCar
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The championship picture of the Verizon IndyCar Series saw a massive shakeup after Sunday’s Honda Indy Toronto. While points leader Scott Dixon ended up in victory lane, his third win on the streets of Toronto and his third win of the 2018 season, all of his championship rivals stumbled.

Josef Newgarden, the pole sitter and second-place man in championship – he trailed Dixon by 33 points entering Sunday – led from the pole and looked to be a contender for the win, but a Lap 34 restart saw his day come apart.

Newgarden ran wide exiting the final corner coming to the green flag and smacked the outside wall. He plummeted through the field and pitted under caution – for a Turn 1 pileup involving Graham Rahal, Max Chilton, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Will Power, and Sebastien Bourdais – to allow the No. 1 Hitachi Chevrolet Team Penske group to examine the car for damage.

Newgarden continued on, but was never a contender the rest of the day, ultimately finishing ninth.

“I knew it would be low grip, but not zero grip. I just lost the front end completely,” Newgarden said in describing how the wall contact happened. “I feel terrible, it’s not fun to make a mistake.”

Alexander Rossi, who sits third in the championship, ran a steady sixth in the first stint until Lap 27, when contact with Will Power damaged his front wing. Rossi was then caught up in the melee on the Lap 34 restart, getting airborne over the left-front of his Andretti Autosport teammate Hunter-Reay.

Rossi again pitted for a new front wing – he had six stops in total – and ended up eighth on a day when he felt like a podium beckoned.

“It’s a pretty disappointing result. I don’t think we had the car to beat Scott (Dixon), but for sure with the problems that everyone had, we could’ve finished second. It’s been a difficult string of races,” Rossi said afterward.

Hunter-Reay, too, had a day forget. After going from sixth to third on the start, he spun his No. 28 DHL Honda into the Turn 3 Barrier on Lap 27. And like Rossi, he was caught up in the Lap 34 pileup, falling off the lead lap in the process.

Hunter-Reay languished in 16th at the checkered flag.

“It was a very unfortunate day and a big loss for us in points,” Hunter-Reay lamented. “The DHL Honda was running comfortable in third and pushing hard, but I had too much front brake lock and found the tire barrier – that’s my fault. Then after that, we got caught up in a wreck, which put us a lap down. From there we just fought to stay in front of the leader.”

Power, too, hit his struggles after the first stint, when contact with the Turn 11 wall, an incident similar to the one that his Team Penske teammate Newgarden had, bent the right-rear suspension of his No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet. He also had contact with Rossi later that lap.

Power lost two laps in the pits as the team made repairs, and he took the checkered flag in 18th.

“In the last corner, I brushed the wall and bent a rear toe link, so the car was a little bit out of whack. I didn’t even know that (Alexander) Rossi and I touched. I was just kind of trying to hang on until we got a yellow and could pit,” Power explained. “I’ve never had so many DNFs; not DNF for this race, but like a DNF in a season. Still, it’s kind of how this sport can go.”

All told, their struggles mean that Dixon leads the championship by 62 points over Newgarden. Rossi sits third, 70 points of the lead, followed by Hunter-Reay and Power, who sit 91 and 93 points out of the lead respectively.

And the next race, the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio (July 29 on NBCSN) won’t make it easy for them to make up ground, as Dixon’s record there is astoundingly strong. The four-time IndyCar champion has five wins at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, his most recent triumph coming in 2014, a race in which he famously came from last on the grid (22nd) to win.

Conversely, Newgarden, Rossi, Hunter-Reay, and Power have a combined one win at Mid-Ohio (Newgarden, last year).

However, the likes of Newgarden and Rossi still appear confident that they can make up for their Toronto struggles.

“We have to move on now and try to pick it back up. With the championship battle, we’ve got a long way to go. This doesn’t help but look, we have plenty of racing (left),” said Newgarden. “We need to keep our head up here. We’re going to be just fine, we’ve got fast cars and the best in the business. If we get our mistakes sorted out, we’re going to be just fine.”

Rossi, who finished sixth at Mid-Ohio last year, echoed similar sentiment, and thinks Mid-Ohio presents an opportunity to get back on track.

“We’re very good at Mid-Ohio, we’re kind of circling Toronto and Mid-Ohio as two races we were going to be pretty good at, so we got to reset, man, and just execute,” Rossi explained afterward. “We’re fast. We’re there every weekend. That’s the important thing. It’s a lot harder to be outside the top 10 and looking for answers. We’re fighting for pole every weekend. We’re in the Fast Six virtually every weekend, so you’re putting yourself in position to have a good result, it hasn’t come really since Texas.”

The 2018 championship is far from over – the season-ending GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma being a double-points event helps ensure as much. But, if Dixon does claim the 2018 title, Toronto may be the race that serves as the turning point.

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