Sprint Cup Chase 2015: NASCAR Standings and Schedule After Coca-Cola 600

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 25, 2015

CHARLOTTE, NC - MAY 24:  Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Subway Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 24, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Jerry Markland/Getty Images

Carl Edwards' outlook for the Sprint Cup Chase is a heck of a lot better after Sunday night. The 35-year-old won the Coca-Cola 600, and as a result, he ensured passage to the Challenger Round with his first checkered flag of the 2015 season.

Without the win, Edwards would be sitting outside of the top 16. Instead, he's well inside the safety zone. You can see the full Sprint Cup standings below, courtesy of ESPN.com:

Sprint Cup Chase Standings
PositionDriverPointsWins
1Jimmie Johnson3933
2Kevin Harvick4732
3Joey Logano4071
4Dale Earnhardt Jr.4011
5Brad Keselowski3811
6Matt Kenseth3721
7Kurt Busch3271
8Denny Hamlin3211
9Carl Edwards3121
10Martin Truex Jr.4320
11Jamie McMurray3530
12Jeff Gordon3460
13Kasey Kahne3450
14Ryan Newman3430
15Aric Almirola3390
16Paul Menard3360
Source: ESPN.com

Here's a look at the rest of the Sprint Cup schedule following Sunday's race, per NASCAR.com:

Sprint Cup Schedule—Post-Coca-Cola 600
RaceTrackDateTime
FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks Dover International Speedway Sunday, May 31 1 p.m. ET
Axalta 'We Paint Winners' 400 Pocono Raceway Sunday, June 7 1 p.m. ET
Quicken Loans 400 Michigan International Speedway Sunday, June 14 1 p.m. ET
Toyota-Save Mart 350 Sonoma Raceway Sunday, June 28 3 p.m. ET
Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola Daytona International Speedway Sunday, July 5 7:45 p.m. ET
Quaker State 400 Presented by Advance Auto Parts Kentucky Speedway Saturday, July 11 7:30 p.m. ET
NASCAR Sprint Cup July New Hampshire Race New Hampshire Motor Speedway Sunday, July 19 1:30 p.m. ET
Crown Royal Presents the 'Your Hero's Name Here' 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway Sunday, July 26 3:30 p.m. ET
Pennsylvania 400 Pocono Raceway Sunday, Aug. 2 1:30 p.m. ET
Cheez-It 355 Watkins Glen International Sunday, Aug. 9 2 p.m. ET
Pure Michigan 400 Michigan International Speedway Sunday, Aug. 16 2:30 p.m. ET
IRWIN Tools Night Race Bristol Motor Speedway Saturday, Aug. 22 7:30 p.m. ET
Bojangles' Southern 500 Darlington Raceway Sunday, Sept. 6 7 p.m. ET
Federated Auto Parts 400 Richmond International Raceway Saturday, Sept. 12 7:30 p.m.
Challenger Round
MyAFibStory.com 400 Chicagoland Speedway Sunday, Sept. 20 3 p.m. ET
Sylvania 300 New Hampshire Motor Speedway Sunday, Sept. 27 2 p.m. ET
AAA 400 Dover International Speedway Sunday, Oct. 4 2:30 p.m. ET
Contender Round
Bank of America 500 Charlotte Motor Speedway Saturday, Oct. 10 7 p.m. ET
Hollywood Casino 400 Kansas Speedway Sunday, Oct. 18 2:15 p.m. ET
Alabama 500 Talladega Superspeedway Sunday, Oct. 25 2:30 p.m. ET
Eliminator Round
Goody's FAST PAIN RELIEF 500 Martinsville Speedway Sunday, Nov. 1 1:15 p.m.
AAA Texas 500 Texas Motor Speedway Sunday, Nov. 8 2 p.m. ET
Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 Phoenix International Raceway Sunday, Nov. 15 2:30 p.m. ET
Championship Round
Ford EcoBoost 400 Homestead-Miami Speedway Sunday, Nov. 22 3 p.m. ET
Source: NASCAR.com

Races determined largely by fuel mileage and consumption, such as the Coca-Cola 600, definitely aren't for most NASCAR fans.

Edwards may not have had the best car on the night, but crew chief Darian Grubb timed the last pit stop perfectly. He ensured Edwards had just enough left in the tank to close out the win.

"That's what made the race for us," Edwards said of Grubb's gambit, per Fox Sports' Jared Turner. "That's what he does—he takes a mediocre day like that and he puts us in a good position."

Grubb was unapologetic with the nature of his team's victory, per Popular Speed:

At the end of the day, few will remember that Edwards somewhat lucked into the win. He prevailed within the rules of the sport, and that's all that matters.

Ask Martin Truex Jr. if he'd settle for a fuel-mileage win.

The 34-year-old picked up yet another top-10 finish, his 11th in 12 Sprint Cup races. Truex looked primed to win with a little under 40 laps to go, but he had to make one last pit stop. That ended up costing him a potential victory, and he settled for fifth.

Truex's frustration with the result was evident in his post-race comments, per USA Today's Jeff Gluck:

Fellow driver Brad Keselowski also felt the finale to the Coca-Cola 600 was somewhat unjust in terms of the most deserving driver:

Kevin Harvick is the only driver with more points than Truex, but Harvick has the security that comes with winning a Sprint Cup race.

If the No. 78 keeps up this pace, then he should finish in the top 16. But it seems improbable that he'll continue racking up top-10 finish after top-10 finish. He'll likely fall back to earth at some point, and when he does, he might start slipping in the standings.

It would be a shame if Truex is unable to truly capitalize on his great start to the 2015 season with a trip to Victory Lane.

At least he's still in the top 16, which can't be said of Clint Bowyer, Danica Patrick and Greg Biffle. Those drivers are the first three out at the moment, and the gap between them and the Chase is only increasing, especially after Edwards leapfrogged the line.

Bowyer is 40 points behind Paul Menard, while Patrick and Biffle are 44 and 52 points back, respectively.

Obviously, it's way too early to begin panicking. The Challenger Round doesn't kick off until September, and Edwards is proof positive that a driver's fortunes can change radically in the space of one race.

All it takes is a confluence of events to fall in Bowyer's, Patrick's or Biffle's favor.