Your Chase Standings for Week One (Chicagoland)

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The logjam at the top of the Chase Grid was finally broken last night at Richmond International Raceway with Brad Keselowski’s fourth win of 2014.

Keselowski’s near-flawless performance in the Federated Auto Parts 400 brought him another three bonus points for the first Chase reset ahead of the Challenger Round – which begins next Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway and continues at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Sept. 21) and Dover International Speedway (Sept. 28).

With 12 bonus points, Keselowski has moved to the top seed with 2,012 points. The next four behind him – Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson, and Joey Logano – have earned three regular season wins apiece and thus are all at 2,009 points going into the Windy City.

Two-win drivers Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards come next with 2,006 points each. Then, a group of six drivers with one win apiece occupy the No. 8-13 seeds; they each have 2,003 points.

And with no wins, No. 14 seed Matt Kenseth, No. 15 seed Greg Biffle, and No. 16 seed Ryan Newman start with the base reset total of 2,000 points.

In case you need to see all of that in “chart” form, here it is:

1. 2- Brad Keselowski, 2012 (4 regular season wins)
2. 24-Jeff Gordon, 2009 (3 regular season wins)
3. 88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 2009 (3 regular season wins)
4. 48-Jimmie Johnson, 2009 (3 regular season wins)
5. 22-Joey Logano, 2009 (3 regular season wins)
6. 4-Kevin Harvick, 2006 (2 regular season wins)
7. 99-Carl Edwards, 2006 (2 regular season wins)
8. 18-Kyle Busch, 2003 (1 regular season win)
9. 11-Denny Hamlin, 2003 (1 regular season win)
10. 41-Kurt Busch, 2003 (1 regular season win)
11. 5-Kasey Kahne, 2003 (1 regular season win)
12. 43-Aric Almirola, 2003 (1 regular season win)
13. 47-A.J. Allmendinger, 2003 (1 regular season win)
14. 20-Matt Kenseth, 2000
15. 16-Greg Biffle, 2000
16. 31-Ryan Newman, 2000

Should any of these 16 drivers win in the Challenger Round, they’ll automatically advance to the Contender (second) Round and have their points reset to 3,000. When the Challenger Round ends, the Top 12 in points will move on and all will then have their points reset to 3,000 as well.

The same will apply for the Eliminator (third) Round, with all Contender Round race winners and the Top 8 in points getting reset to 4,000 points; and the Championship (final) Round, with all Eliminator Round race winners and the Top 4 in points getting reset to 5,000 points for the season finale at Homestead.

As drivers are eliminated from each round, their respective point totals will be readjusted to the normal points format in sync with the other drivers in the field that are no longer in contention for the championship. They’ll be racing for fifth place in the overall standings at Homestead.

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”