Round 3 of the Chase is in the books. Here’s how the 12 drivers stand after Sunday's Camping World RV 400 at Kansas Speedway:
1. Jimmie Johnson (finished first at Kansas): To understand how far Johnson and company have come this season, just compare Sunday's race to Johnson's 29th-place performance at Las Vegas in the year's first race at a 1.5-mile track. No doubt Johnson is in championship form.
2. Carl Edwards (finished second; -10 points): Was willing to risk slamming into the wall to beat Johnson to the checkered flag Sunday. If you can't get behind that, what can you get behind?
3. Greg Biffle (finished third; -30 points): How tight is this race? Biffle finished third and actually lost ground to Johnson and Edwards. But he's still very much in the hunt.
4. Jeff Burton (finished seventh; -121 points): Can we officially put the cut off of Chase contenders at Biffle? Burton and those behind him are showing well, but they are nowhere close to challenging the three drivers in front of him.
5. Kevin Harvick (finished sixth; -136 points): Has finished in the top 10 in nine straight races and 10 of 11 … and still sits 136 points back. Sometimes good isn't good enough.
6. Jeff Gordon (finishes 4th; -143 points): A true professional, not only was Gordon sick all day Sunday but he's struggling through a season where he knows he can't compete with the likes of Johnson and Edwards, yet he's still fighting for every position.
7. Clint Bowyer (finished 12th; -164 points): Overcame getting black flagged for jumping the start of the race to finish 12th. More and more, Bowyer is showing the type of resolve and consistency that will put him in the championship hunt someday.
8. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (finished 13th; -190 points): When Junior started complaining about his car later in the race, did anyone think he and crew chief Tony Eury Jr. would figure it out? Didn't think so, which is why Junior still isn't a championship threat.
9. Matt Kenseth (finished 5th; -192): He may be out of the championship hunt, but there is no doubt Kenseth is among the top four drivers in the sport right now. One bad run at New Hampshire will prove to be the difference.
10. Denny Hamlin (finished 11th; -243 points): The best team during the regular season now holds the bottom three spots in the Chase. Coincidence? Two of three, maybe, but all three is a disturbing pattern.
11. Tony Stewart (finished 40th; -255 points): If Stewart was retaliating against Brian Vickers – and it certainly looked like he was – before spinning out, then it will go down as one of the biggest bonehead moves of all time. Smoke essentially threw away a shot at a title for a shot at revenge. Smart.
12. Kyle Busch (finished 28th; -311 points): Hard to be hard on Kyle Busch for being a bit ornery. When it has mattered most, his team has come up goose eggs. Now, you have to wonder if there will be a fallout between crew and driver.