Sprint Cup Chase 2014: NASCAR Standings and Schedule After Quaker State 400

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJune 29, 2014

Brad Keselowski does a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup series auto race Saturday, June 28, 2014, at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Ky. (AP Photo/Garry Jones)
Garry Jones/Associated Press

An exciting finish at the Quaker State 400 has led to a shift at the top of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings.

Brad Keselowski will move up to fourth place after his impressive win at Kentucky on Saturday, climbing up from his previous spot of fifth. Still, Jeff Gordon remains in first place with 618 points and a 24-point lead over both Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Things were not as good for rookie Kyle Larson, who dropped two spots to No. 12 after ending his day in 40th place, totaling just 75 laps before ending his day.

Here is a look at the latest standings in the Chase for the Sprint Cup as of June 28, via NASCAR.com:

2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Standings (as of June 28)
1Jeff Gordon24618Leader1
2Jimmie Johnson48594-243
3Dale Earnhardt Jr.88594-242
4Brad Keselowski2560-582
5Matt Kenseth20555-630
6Carl Edwards99536-882
7Joey Logano22519-992
8Ryan Newman31514-1040
9Kevin Harvick4509-1092
10Kyle Busch18508-1101
11Paul Menard27488-1300
12Kyle Larson42474-1440
13Greg Biffle16474-1440
14Clint Bowyer15473-1450
15Kasey Kahne5465-1530
16Tony Stewart14460-1580
17Denny Hamlin11455-1631
18Austin Dillon3455-1630
19Brian Vickers55442-1760
20Marcos Ambrose9438-1800
via NASCAR.com

The Quaker State 400 featured plenty of excitement from start to finish, but it was clearly Keselowski who dominated the competition. He led for 199 of the 267 laps and came away with an easy win when all was said and done.

While he did lose the lead a few times during the race, he showed off his skill while passing Joey Logano around the midway point, via ESPN:

However, Kyle Busch built up a big lead as the race started to come to a close, according to Jeff Gluck of USA Today:

Once again, though, Keselowski was able to take over the lead and close out a strong performance:

After the win, the 2012 champion discussed his plans going forward this season:

If he can perform the way he did in Kentucky, Keselowski certainly has a good chance. Of course, he will still have tough challenges like he did Saturday from Busch, who finished in third place. Darrell Waltrip of Fox Sports discussed the strong efforts from those who did not earn the checkered flag:

This result really makes things interesting heading into the last couple of months before the start of the Chase for the Sprint Cup. There are nine races remaining before the cutoff, with only 16 drivers getting one of the elusive spots.

Obviously, big-name competitors like Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin will have to look to get better in the coming weeks if they want a chance at the title.

Here is a breakdown of the upcoming races for the remainder of the 2014 season:

2014 NASCAR Remaining Schedule
DateRaceWhereTime (ET)TV
July 5Coke Zero 400Daytona International Speedway7:30 p.m.TNT
July 13Camping World RV Sales 301New Hampshire Motor Speedway1 p.m.TNT
July 27The John Wayne Walding 400 at The BrickyardIndianapolis Motor Speedway1 p.m.ESPN
Aug 3GoBowling.com 400Pocono Speedway1 p.m.ESPN
Aug 10Cheez-It 355 at The GlenWatkins Glen International1 p.m.ESPN
Aug 17Pure Michigan 400Michigan International Speedway1 p.m.ESPN
Aug 23Irwin Tools Night RaceBristol Motor Speedway7:30 p.m.ABC
Aug 31NASCAR Sprint Cup Series August Atlanta RaceAtlanta Motor Speedway7:30 p.m.ESPN
Sept 6Federated Auto Parts 400Richmond International Speedway7:30 p.m.ABC
Chase for the Cup
Sept 14NASCAR Sprint Cup Series September Chicagoland RaceChicagoland Speedway2 p.m.ESPN
Sept 21Sylvania 300New Hampshire Motor Speedway2 p.m.ESPN
Sept 28AAA 400Dover International Speedway2 p.m.ESPN
Oct 5Hollywood Casino 400Kansas Speedway2 p.m.ESPN
Oct 11Bank of America 500Charlotte Motor Speedway7:30 p.m.ABC
Oct 19GEICO 500Talladega Superspeedway2 p.m.ESPN
Oct 26Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500Martinsville Speedway1:30 p.m.ESPN
Nov 2AAA Texas 500Texas Motor Speedway3 p.m.ESPN
Nov 9Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500Phoenix International Raceway3 p.m.ESPN
Nov 16Ford Ecoboost 400Homestead-Miami Speedway3 p.m.ESPN
via NASCAR.com

Next week's race is a big one, as it will take place at the famed Daytona International Speedway. The Coke Zero 400 will help separate the true contenders from those who cannot handle the difficult course.

Earnhardt was able to win the Daytona 500 earlier in the year, and he will hope to replicate his success the next time out.

That race will be followed by a trip to the Northeast at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. With a total of nine events remaining to make an impact on the standings, the pressure is certain to rise in the coming weeks.

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