The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series‘ return to Daytona International Speedway marked the halfway mark of the 2013 season. Daytona may have been the 18th race of the year, but it also means that time is running out for many drivers as the Chase is slowly approaching.
The trip gave Jimmie Johnson another great race weekend, but it didn’t go too well for many other drivers as the points standings saw some significant movement.
About five drivers that went into Daytona in the top 10 wrecked, and several of them dropping several spots in the standings. For Joey Logano, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Martin Truex Jr., Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin and Jeff Gordon, Daytona didn’t go in their favor.
With their Chase hopes on the line, the Coke Zero 400 may have been a major set back for Logano, Gordon, and Hamlin.
Despite some troubles at Daytona, Kenseth and Edwards still remain within the top 10. Truex and Kahne are still within chase contention with the two wild card spots, while Gordon and Logano still remain in the mix within the top 15 in points. Logano suffered the biggest setback out of everyone, falling five spots back to 15th.
The comeback for Hamlin may have gotten off to a great start, but time is running out for him in order to attempt to qualify into the Chase.
There are only about eight races left until the start of the Chase. For the drivers who took a big hit in the points, the next couple of races will be go time. Some drivers might be able to recover and still qualify into the 2013 Chase, while others will have a challenge ahead of them heading into the final races.
All this promises to be one of the closest battles to get into the Chase in recent memory, but it will all depend on who will step up to the occasion and claim their spot.