The 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season has been one of the most exciting of all time due to the new Chase for the Sprint Cup format, which has made each and every race hugely important.
A single win virtually guarantees entry into the Chase, while two victories are enough to cement Chase status. That has made for some unpredictable races, as drivers are more aggressive than ever in an attempt to solidify their positions.
Along with a current snapshot of the Sprint Cup standings, here is all the information you need to know regarding where and when to catch every race remaining on the jam-packed schedule.
Sprint Cup Results and Schedule
|Sunday, Feb. 23||1 p.m. ET||Daytona 500 at Daytona||FOX||Dale Earnhardt Jr.|
|Sunday, March 2||3 p.m. ET||The Profit on NBC 500 at Phoenix||FOX||Kevin Harvick|
|Sunday, March 9||3 p.m. ET||Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas||FOX||Brad Keselowski|
|Sunday, March 16||1 p.m. ET||Food City 500 at Bristol||FOX||Carl Edwards|
|Sunday, March 23||3 p.m. ET||Auto Club 400 at California||FOX||Kyle Busch|
|Sunday, March 30||1 p.m. ET||STP 500 at Martinsville||FOX||Kurt Busch|
|Monday, April 7||12 p.m. ET||Duck Commander 500 at Texas||FOX||Joey Logano|
|Saturday, April 12||6:30 p.m. ET||Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington||FOX||Kevin Harvick|
|Saturday, April 26||7 p.m. ET||Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond||FOX||Joey Logano|
|Sunday, May 4||1 p.m. ET||Aaron's 499 at Talladega||FOX||Denny Hamlin|
|Saturday, May 10||7:30 p.m. ET||5-Hour Energy 400 at Kansas||FOX||Jeff Gordon|
|Sunday, May 25||6 p.m. ET||Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte||FOX||Jimmie Johnson|
|Sunday June 1||1 p.m. ET||FedEx 400 at Dover||FOX||Jimmie Johnson|
|Sunday, June 8||1 p.m. ET||Pocono 400 at Pocono||TNT||Dale Earnhardt Jr.|
|Sunday, June 15||1 p.m. ET||Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan||TNT||Jimmie Johnson|
|Sunday, June 22||3 p.m. ET||Toyota - Save Mart 350 at Sonoma||TNT||Carl Edwards|
|Saturday, June 28||7:30 p.m. ET||Quaker State 400 at Kentucky||TNT||Brad Keselowski|
|Saturday, July 5||7:30 p.m. ET||Coke Zero 400 at Daytona||TNT||Aric Almirola|
|Sunday, July 13||1 p.m. ET||Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire||TNT||Brad Keselowski|
|Sunday, July 27||1 p.m. ET||Crown Royal Presents You Hero's Name Here 400 at Indianapolis||ESPN||Jeff Gordon|
|Sunday, Aug. 3||1 p.m. ET||GoBowling.com 400 at Pocono||ESPN||Dale Earnhardt Jr.|
|Sunday, Aug. 10||1 p.m. ET||Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen||ESPN||AJ Allmendinger|
|Sunday, Aug. 17||1 p.m. ET||Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan||ESPN||Jeff Gordon|
|Saturday, Aug. 23||7:30 p.m. ET||Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol||ESPN||Joey Logano|
|Sunday, Aug. 31||7:30 p.m. ET||NASCAR Sprint Cup Series August Atlanta Race||ESPN||Kasey Kahne|
|Saturday, Sept.6||7:30 p.m. ET||Federated Auto Parts 400 a Richmond||ABC||Brad Keselowski|
|Sunday, Sept. 14||2 p.m. ET||NASCAR Sprint Cup Series September Chicagoland Race||ESPN||Brad Keselowski|
|Sunday, Sept. 21||2 p.m. ET||Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire||ESPN||Joey Logano|
|Sunday, Sept.28||2 p.m. ET||AAA 400 at Dover||ESPN||Jeff Gordon|
|Sunday, Oct. 5||2 p.m. ET||Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas||ESPN||Joey Logano|
|Saturday, Oct.11||7:30 p.m. ET||Bank of America 500 at Charlotte||ABC||Kevin Harvick|
|Sunday, Oct.19||2 p.m. ET||Geico 500 at Talladega||ESPN||Brad Keselowski|
|Sunday, Oct. 26||1:30 p.m. ET||Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500 at Martinsville||ESPN||Dale Earnhardt Jr.|
|Sunday, Nov. 2||3 p.m. ET||AAA Texas 500 at Texas||ESPN||Jimmie Johnson|
|Sunday, Nov. 9||3 p.m. ET||Quicken Loans Race For Heroes 500 at Phoenix||ESPN||Kevin Harvick|
|Sunday, Nov.16||3 p.m. ET||Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami||ESPN||Kevin Harvick|
Final Sprint Cup Standings
|Pos.||Driver||Points||Wins||Top 5||Top 10|
Top Chase Contenders
As a six-time Sprint Cup champion, there is always pressure on Jimmie Johnson to perform. The pressure truly started to mount when Johnson hadn't won through the season's first 11 races, but things changed quickly for the No. 48 team.
After picking up his first victory of the season at Charlotte, JJ followed it up with another win the next week at Dover. Not only did that signal that Johnson was indeed back in fine form, but it also cemented his spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Even after that second victory, crew chief Chad Knaus told reporters that the team still wasn't quite where it wanted to be:
We're still behind. I think we're behind on just a little bit of everything. When you are fortunate enough to battle for a championship, your main focus goes solely on trying to win a championship, so as we were going through and pursued the 2013 season championship, we lost focus on 2014. But that's just inherent. That's what happens because you have to focus on the goal that's directly in front of you.
If Johnson and his team still have the capability to get better, then that is a scary thought for the rest of the Sprint Cup field. Johnson is a contender to win it all every season, and this one is no different.
With a pair of wins in his back pocket, Joey Logano has been able to ride free and easy since Richmond. After facing plenty of scrutiny as a young driver, Logano has truly come into his own and unquestionably established himself as a Sprint Cup contender in the No. 22 machine.
Who will win the 2014 Chase for the Sprint Cup?
Logano doesn't receive as much respect as drivers with longer track records of success such as Johnson, but there is absolutely no doubt that he is approaching elite status and has the ability to win multiple Sprint Cup titles by the time his career is over.
"If we keep doing what we're doing, we'll be the team to beat," Logano said. "I feel like the team's at that level. I feel like I'm at that level."
As good as Logano has been this year, most seem to view him as a dark horse to win the title. The fact that expectations are fairly low when compared to other drivers should work in his favor and make him a major threat moving forward.
Winning multiple races in the current Chase format certainly seems to put drivers at ease, and Kevin Harvick is proof positive. Since scoring his second win of the season at Darlington, Harvick and the No. 4 team have gotten progressively better.
Even though his spot in the points standings isn't overly significant, he has moved up in that regard meteorically. This is despite the fact that Harvick claims his focus has been on trying to win additional races more than finishing well otherwise, according to Jeff Gluck of USA Today:
Harvick to MRN on being in Chase for SURE: "That feels great. It's allowed us to go for wins and not have to worry about points too much."— Jeff Gluck (@jeff_gluck) April 13, 2014
Harvick is among the best Sprint Cup drivers to never win a points total. He has finished third on three occasions but would obviously love to take the next step.
Based on how well he has performed in his first season with Stewart-Haas Racing, his first career title is very much within reach.
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