If we've learned one thing over the first seven races of the Sprint Cup season with the new points format, it's that the leader doesn't stay at the top for very long.
Matt Kenseth became the sixth different winner in seven races this season. And that kind of parity leads to this: the points lead has now switched hands after every race this season. This week's new leader is an old one. With his third-place run in Saturday night's Samsung Mobile 500, Carl Edwards took over the points lead for the third time this season despite nearly losing his mom's cooking during the race.
"My mom made a little dish. I think it might have been her first attempt at it," Edwards, who asked for Tums throughout the race, said afterward. "I kept everything in, so we were okay. I knew with this white fire suit I had to be careful."
A healthy Edwards previously led the points after Daytona and California.
Kyle Busch entered the Texas race at the top, but had problems with a vibration during the latter half of the race and had to make multiple stops under green. He finished a lap down in 18th and is now nine points behind Edwards in second. Kenseth went into the race ninth in the standings. The win vaulted him all the way up to third, just 13 back of his teammate.
Does all this lead-swapping mean that the title race is wide open? Well at this point, yes.
Besides Edwards and Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart have also been the points leaders. Kevin Harvick — who is currently in ninth because of an engine failure at Daytona — is the only driver to win more than once. (That Jimmie Johnson guy is fourth, 13 points behind.)
Heck, just look at where Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is. He's up to sixth in the standings, 21 points behind Edwards.
It's inevitable that at some point the lead won't change on a weekly basis. But the early-season parity bodes well for a competitive Chase. If the lead has changed hands seven times in seven races, imagine how much jockeying could go on in the 10-race Chase. And that's what we all want, right?
- Carl Edwards
- Matt Kenseth