Talladega is in the rearview mirror, and as expected, it caused a shakeup in the Chase standings. Here's how the 12 drivers stand after Sunday's AMP Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway:
1. Jimmie Johnson (finished 9th at Talladega): Skirted early disaster when he fell a lap down. This wasn't a banner day for Johnson, but he'll take it. His car was never right, but at least he avoided the Big One, which is something most Chasers can't say.
2. Carl Edwards (finished 29th, -72 points): Rode around the back all day, hoping to stay out of trouble, then sparked the Big One with 15 laps to go that took out 11 cars, including teammates Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth. Not a good day for Edwards.
3. Greg Biffle (finished 24th, -77 points): Was making his move to the front when Edwards got into his bumper, turning Biffle into the wall. Biffle can't be happy with his teammate, especially considering Johnson was on the ropes. Biffle and Edwards both stood to make up ground on the points leader. Instead, they fell further back.
4. Jeff Burton (finished fifth, -99 points): Kept his nose clean all day and was able to score his fourth top 10 in four Chase races. Still he's 99 points back, which shows that it's going to take wins, not top fives, to catch up.
5. Clint Bowyer (finished sixth, -152 points): Spent most of the day under the radar only to wind up with a top-10 finish. He's probably not going to rally enough to make a run at the title, but he's setting himself up well for next season.
6. Kevin Harvick (finished 20th, -171 points): Nearly had his consecutive races without a DNF streak end, but Harvick was on the track when the checkered flag flew. Still, he was one of those caught up in Carl Edwards' mess. Had a good run going up to that point.
7. Tony Stewart (finished first, -203 points): Finally breaks his 43-race winless streak, beating Regan Smith in controversial fashion. Despite the win, Stewart barely cut into the deficit he has to Johnson.
8. Jeff Gordon (finished 38th, -232 points): The drive for five ended when David Reutimann had a tire blow, causing an accident that collected Gordon. From here on out, Gordon will just be trying to get a win and avoid the first winless season since his rookie year.
9. Matt Kenseth (finished 26th, -245 points): Jack Roush had to be screaming when Edwards started a wreck that collected three Roush Fenway cars, including Kenseth. Roush hasn't fared well at Talladega in the past, but Sunday they were heading for a solid finish until …
10. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (finished 28th, -249 points): Another one of those not happy with Edwards. Junior was moving to the front for a final charge when he ran straight into the melee.
11. Kyle Busch (finished 16th, -331 points): Four Chase races, four issues. This time he was caught up in another's accident (Edwards). He had a winning car, just couldn't make it to the finish before trouble came.
12. Denny Hamlin (finished 39th, -335 points): Suffered maybe the hardest hit of his career when a tire blew, sending him into the wall. Hamlin was leading at the time. He was taken to a hospital. He's okay, but sore.
- Carl Edwards
- Greg Biffle