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:
CHASE FOR THE SPRINT CUP STANDINGS – WEEK ONE (MyAFIBStory.com 400 at Chicagoland)
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.