Night racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway shook up the Chase Sprint Cup Standings a bit, but only for few championship long shots as the top 7 drivers managed to hold on to their position in a race that saw little to no action.
A missed opportunity during the last restart by Jimmie Johnson gave the win to a non-chase contender, Brad Keselsowski. This was the #22 Penske Racing driver, and current Sprint Cup Champions first win of the 2013 season.
Drivers and fans alike can expect more action going into the second half of the 10 Chase races, starting with Talladega next Sunday.
Up: Brad Keselowski
Bad Brad won the race at Charlotte (his first victory of 2013) and made a statement in the process, showing that the defending champion isn’t content to remain on the sidelines during the Chase, even if he’s not a part of the 13-driver field.
Up: Clint Bowyer
The driver of the # 15 Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing finished 11th, gaining him one position in the Chase standings. He’s 63 points behind leader Matt Kenseth and will need a ton of help to realistically get back into the championship picture.
Down: Dale Earnhardt Jr
Dale Jr. slipped a position to 9th after leading 19 laps early on, he finished 15th and one lap down. He is currently 66 points behind leader Kenseth and 3 points behind Bowyer.
Up: Carl Edwards
The driver of the #99 gained one position with a top 10 finish at Charlotte, but like all drivers not known as Johnson or Kenseth, will need some help to get back in the title hunt.
Down: Joey Logano
The Penske newcomer moved down one position from last week’s race at Kansas. He finished 18th and down one lap, and it’s looking like the youngster won’t make much noise in his first Chase appearance.
Up: Matt Kenseth
Kenseth finished third to maintain his points lead, an important result no doubt. But perhaps more importantly, Charlotte was a psychological victory for the No. 20 JGR team as Jimmie Johnson was clearly disappointed after the race and Kenseth has to be feeling good heading to Talladega, where he’s run up front for the better part of the last two years. The only question will be: Can he avoid the Big One?
Stuck in neutral: Jimmie Johnson
Five-Time finished fourth after leading 130 laps and practically having the checkered flag in his sights before a rare yellow flag changed the game. After lining up for a final restart, Keselowski, who led 11 laps the entire race, found his way to the front and grabbed the win. Matt Kenseth, who battled car issues the entire race, rallied at the end for a top 3 finish, increasing his lead over Johnson by one point.
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