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Chase Breakdown: Race tighter than ever

Jay Hart
Yahoo Sports

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The Chase for the Sprint Cup has never been tighter after three races. Just 30 points separate first from third, and after winning at Kansas, Greg Biffle has moved up to eighth in the standings, only 85 points back.

Here is a look at how the 12 Chase drivers fared in race No. 3 of the Chase at Kansas Speedway:

1. Jimmie Johnson – Finished second: For the first three-quarters of the race, Johnson was a non-factor. But he turned it up when it counted, and now the march to No. 5 begins.

2. Denny Hamlin – Finished 12th: Has to be better on the intermediate tracks if he's going to dethrone Johnson. Not a confidence-building run for Hamlin. (-8 points)

3. Kevin Harvick – Finished third: Still not spectacular, but solid nonetheless. If Johnson slips up even once, Harvick showed at Kansas that he will be there to pounce. (-30 points)

4. Carl Edwards – Finished sixth: A good but not great run for Edwards, who worked his way through the field but never could make it all the way to the front. (-53 points)

5. Jeff Gordon – Finished fifth: If there is such a thing as a disappointing top-five finish, this is it. Gordon looked early like he could contend for the win, but once again his team didn't make the right adjustments late. (-58 points)

6. Kurt Busch – Finished 13th: The inconsistencies continue for the elder Busch, who can't put together solid back-to-back runs. That's not a championship-winning formula. (-70 points)

7. Kyle Busch – Finished 21st: Got intentionally run into by David Reutimann after Busch spun Reutimann early. Give Busch credit for salvaging a decent finish out of what could have been a title-ending day. (-80 points)

8. Greg Biffle – Finished first: Looked like he was going to fade early, but hung on, worked on his car, and wound up doing exactly what he had to do to remain in contention. (-85 points)

9. Jeff Burton – Finished 18th: Yet another solid run that turned sour at the end. Even Burton was perplexed. He went from a certain top-five to 18th, adding more frustration to an already frustrating Chase. (-101 points)

10. Tony Stewart – Finished fourth: The good news is he came home fourth; the bad news is a win was in the cards. He made up ground, but not as much as he could have. (-127 points)

11. Matt Kenseth – Finished seventh: Easily Kenseth's best run in more than a month, and maybe his best of the season. Kenseth was an actual contender to win for a spell, which is something we haven't seen from him much this season. (-149 points)

12. Clint Bowyer – Finished 15th: Time for Bowyer to grab the pom-poms and do whatever he can to help Harvick win the title. (-252 points)

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