NASCAR‘s Chase for the Sprint Cup is now half way concluded and things are getting tighter in the standings for a few while the other drivers are watching their chanc to win the sport’s top honor slip away for the season.
At the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte, Clint Bowyer would come out victorious in large part thanks to a huge mistake made by current points leader Brad Keselowski. With just 58 laps remaining in the race Keselowski ran out of of fuel after leading the race for 139 of the 334 total laps. If Keselowski (who finished 11th) would have been able to hold on he would have had an almost insurmountable lead in the standings for the Sprint Cup, however he didn’t and now there are four or five drivers who truly have a legitimate chance at winning the title including the race winner, Bowyer.
Denny Hamlin finished the race in second place while Jimmie Johnson came in a close third and both drivers are within striking distance as well of catching Keselowki as early as next week. Amongst the other drivers competing in the Chase Greg Biffle placed fourth, Kasey Kahne eighth, Martin Truex Jr. 10th, Tony Stewart 13th, Matt Kenseth 14th, Kevin Harvick 16th and Jeff Gordon 18th.
This race was the first Sprint Cup race without an Earnhardt (Dale Sr. or Dale Jr.) competing in it since 1979 due to Dale Earnhardt Jr. suffering a concussion last week and being sidelined for two weeks. Regan Smith drove the number 88 car in Dale Jr.’s place and finished in 38th place.
Keselowski remains in first place with 2,214 points but Johnson is now just seven points behind him and Hamlin is trailing by 15. Bowyer is in fourth trailing by 28 points and Kahne is in fifth trailing by 35. Earnhardt Jr. will also miss the upcoming NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Kansas presented by Dodge and is in last place trailing the leader by 86 points. During the regular season Hamlin won the race at Kansas and if he can duplicate that then he will have an excellent shot at taking over either first or second place in the standings at the conclusion of next week.