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Standings Shuffle: Kurt Busch, Stewart climb charts

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IN THE GREEN

 

Tony Stewart (Change: 16th to 10th)

What looked like a rough year has been turning around for Tony Stewart. He had four top-10s in a row between Charlotte and Michigan, and after two weeks of placing outside of the top 20, Stewart came back for a second-place finish at Daytona. The effort moved him into the 10th spot in the Sprint Cup Series standings, only two points below ninth-place Kurt Busch.

 

Kurt Busch (Change: 14th to 9th)

It's been a big year for this small team. In the seven races before Daytona, the No. 78 Funiture Row Racing team had placed in the top 10 four times. He made if five-for-eight at the Coke Zero 400, finishing sixth as the field wrecked around him.

 

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (Change: 20th to 18th)

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.'s 11th-place finish only bumped him up two spots to 18th in the standings, but he's within striking distance of some powerhouses on the board. With 466 points, he's only 21 away from catching up with Jeff Gordon in 14th place. For a rookie, that's saying something.

 

IN THE RED

 

Joey Logano (Change: 10th to 15th)

Just last week, Joey Logano made it into the top 10 in the Spint Cup standings. He was running well at Daytona until he lost a front tire, sending him into the wall and back to the garage. He needs to nab some more strong finishes to separate himself from the close quarters of the drivers ranked in the teens.

 

Paul Menard (Change: 15th to 20th)

After losing an engine at Daytona 23 laps into the 160-lap race, Paul Menard finished in last place. He also lost several places in the points standings. With no top-10 finishes since Kentucky, the No. 27 team has a lot of work to do to reverse that trend.

 

Martin Truex Jr. (Change: 8th to 11th)

After getting caught up in a wreck that also took out Denny Hamlin and Juan Pablo Montoya, Truex was done for the night. His 41st-place finish only earned him three points, dropping him just outside of the coveted top 10. Luckily, with a win under his belt, a Wild Card bid is not out of the picture.

 

MISSED CHANCES:

 

Kyle Busch (No change)

Starting from the pole position with a TRD engine that seemed faster than ever, Kyle Busch looked in a position for his third win of the season. Unforunately, he couldn't hold off Jimmie Johnson, and his 12th-place finish didn't get him anywhere on the points chart. He could have used more points with Greg Biffle and brother Kurt closing in on him.

 

Brad Keselowski (No change)

The reigning Sprint Cup champion needs to make a move if he's going to make it into the Chase this year. With a finish outside of the top 20 at Daytona, Ryan Newman and Jamie McMurray are now within reach of Kes and Jeff Gordon. The No. 2 was strong at Loudon last season; we'll see if he can turn his season around next Sunday.

 

Juan Pablo Montoya (No change)

After the Hamlin-Montoya-Truex wreck, Montoya was the only one to get back out on the track. He only ran 126 of the race's 160 laps, giving him a 39th-place finish and five points. But Daytona has never been his strongest track. He turned a pole at Loudon into a third-place finish in 2009; repeating that effort will go a long way in getting him back on the Chase track.

 

 

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