Race No. 8 of the Chase for the Sprint Cup is in the books. Here's how the 12 drivers stand after Carl Edwards' victory Sunday in the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway:
1. Jimmie Johnson (finished 15th at Texas): Missed the setup from the beginning and never fully recovered. Johnson suffered his first finish outside of the top 10 in this year's Chase. Still, if you asked him prior to the Chase if he'd like a 106-point lead heading to Phoenix, he'd take it in a heartbeat.
2. Carl Edwards (finished first, -106 points): Dominated most of the race but needed to take a gamble on fuel to win. Fortunately for him, it paid off. But was it a gamble? To catch Johnson, Edwards had to win Sunday and the only way to do that was to try and go the distance.
3. Greg Biffle (finished fifth, -143 points): Kept his championship hopes alive with a quiet fifth-place performance. If the points race is tight going to Homestead-Miami, Biffle will be smiling. He's really good there.
4. Jeff Burton (finished 13th, -212 points): The cutoff of non-contenders unofficially starts here. Burton has faded the last three weeks, turning in yet another double-digit finish. That's just not good enough.
5. Jeff Gordon (finished second, -255 points): Almost had his first victory of the season. Like Edwards, Gordon gambled on fuel and was right there had Edwards run out of gas. It didn't happen, and now Gordon has just two shots left to win a race and extend his winning streak to 15 seasons.
6. Clint Bowyer (finished fourth, -267 points): For a moment there it looked like Bowyer might find his way to victory lane. But pit strategy didn't fall his way. Still, great finish for Bowyer, who's getting better on the 1.5-mile tracks.
7. Kevin Harvick (finished seventh, -279 points): Never much of a factor in what turned into a typical Harvick performance this season – solid, but not great.
8. Matt Kenseth (finished ninth, -393 points): Had a good car but never could get to the front to take advantage of the clean air. Had he gotten there, Kenseth might have had something for Edwards.
9. Tony Stewart (finished 16th, -404 points): He got his win at Talladega and hasn't finished in the top 10 since. It seems like his focus is already on his new gig.
10. Kyle Busch (finished sixth, -428 points): Wanted to get back in the top 10, which earns him a trip to New York City for the champions banquet, and did. Busch has shown some of his old form the last few weeks. Still, he doesn't have the killer edge he did during the first 22 races of the season.
11. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (finished 20th, -429 points): Tony Eury Jr. haters will be clamoring for his head after Junior ran out of gas with only a handful of laps to go. Not that it really mattered. Junior wasn't going to win anyway.
12. Denny Hamlin (finished 17th, -431 points): The ups and downs continue for Hamlin, who can't seem to find a groove. The long season is almost over. Time to get ready for next year.
- Carl Edwards