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Sprint Cup Chase 2015: NASCAR Standings and Schedule After Brickyard 400

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistJuly 26, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JULY 26:  Kyle Busch drives the #18 Skittles Toyota during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Jerry Markland/Getty Images

Kyle Busch made it three in a row Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, surviving a wild green-white-checkered finish at the Brickyard 400 to once again rattle NASCAR's 2015 Sprint Cup Chase.

NASCAR captured the epic finish:   

NASCAR @NASCAR

.@KyleBusch holds off @joeylogano and wins the #Brickyard400! #NASCARreplay http://t.co/sLgJM8M8ry

It's another monumental occasion for the driver hoping to make the Chase after an injury-shortened season and a stretch for the ages. Joe Gibbs Racing shared the celebration:

Joe Gibbs Racing 🚗🏁 @JoeGibbsRacing

In Victory Lane with @KyleBusch & @Skittles Racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway!!!!! http://t.co/4jwMITIswm

Just 23 points separate Busch from his personal Chase cutoff.

Joey Logano was on Busch's bumper for most of the finale and improved his standing on the leaderboard with a second-place finish. Series leader Kevin Harvick finished third to help his efforts, while Martin Truex Jr. got back into form by finishing fourth. Favorite Jeff Gordon didn't finish after falling victim to an early wreck.

Here's a look at the NASCAR standings after Sunday's epic finish, with a peek ahead at the upcoming slate with the Chase on the way.     

Sprint Cup Series Driver Standings

RKDRIVERPOINTS
1Kevin Harvick777
2Joey Logano708
3Dale Earnhardt Jr.677
4Jimmie Johnson675
5Martin Truex Jr.668
6Brad Keselowski638
7Matt Kenseth615
8Kurt Busch612
9Jamie McMurray602
10Denny Hamlin591
Source: ESPN.com

2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase Grid

RKDRIVERPOINTSWINSTOP 5TOP 10
1Jimmie Johnson67541013
2Kevin Harvick77721418
3Dale Earnhardt Jr.67721012
4Kurt Busch6122712
5Joey Logano70811215
6Martin Truex Jr.6681615
7Brad Keselowski6381412
8Matt Kenseth6151612
9Denny Hamlin591169
10Carl Edwards519124
Source: ESPN.com

Analyzing Notable Finishers

Kevin Harvick

Terry Renna/Associated Press

Kevin Harvick needed a strong performance Sunday when one takes into account Jimmie Johnson's four wins.

He entered the leader but would struggle to hold such a status once those wins get taken into account. So an even-better finish than his third-place slot in New Hampshire last weekend was the ideal target.

As ESPN Stats & Info noted during the race, Harvick was also racing for a bit of history:

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

With a top-10 finish, Kevin Harvick will have 18 in 20 races (90%). Only 4 drivers have had a mark that good in a season (min. 20 races)

For Harvick, another third-place finish isn't terrible by any means, but those with more wins than him continue to be a crowded category. 

Down the stretch, Harvick will need to go on a tear of his own to make things interesting.

Jimmie Johnson

AJ Mast/Associated Press

The pressure is on Johnson with another four-win driver sitting right next to him on the leaderboard.

Johnson didn't have any problems shooting out to four wins but struggled in New Hampshire last weekend to finish 22nd. Sunday, he wound up finishing 15th after finishing 12th.

On a day some figured Johnson might get back to his winning ways, restrictor-plate racing or not, he instead watched as Busch stole some of his recent-history thunder, per ESPN Stats & Info:

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Kyle Busch is 3 laps away from his 3rd straight win. No driver has won 3 straight since Jimmie Johnson in 2007.

Not all is lost for Johnson, but he's not alone anymore.

As the schedule roars toward the Chase, Johnson will need to shake out of this slight slump with so many bunching up near the top of the leaderboard thanks to a competitive Sunday at IMS.

Kyle Busch

AJ Mast/Associated Press

Everyone knew the feel-good Kyle Busch story entering IMS this weekend. 

Busch needed a win and a slot above No. 30 on the leaderboard to qualify for the Chase. The Joe Gibbs Racing superstar got the win at the hills of Sonoma but didn't stop there—he also seized the checkered flag in Kentucky and New Hampshire, giving him three wins in four outings entering Sunday.

At IMS, Busch ran strong most of the day and made it clear over the radio he felt teamwork would win the day and help him make it a ridiculous three in a row, as Fox Sports' Alan Cavanna captured:

Alan Cavanna @CopaCavanna

“You gimme the lead, and aint nobody gonna run with us,” @KyleBusch says

Still, there were some notable communication errors and squabbles over how to handle the end of the caution-riddled race, per Richard Allen of RacingWithRich.com:

Richard B. Allen @SportsFanRBA

Kyle Busch to CC- "You don't want me to get up there and race for the win?" 18 CC- "There won't be a win. You'll run out of gas." #NASCAR

The fact Busch survived the chaos to make it three in a row isn't anything to sniff at. He looks unstoppable, and while he's not in the Chase just yet, it's hard to imagine he doesn't get in given this form.

2015 NASCAR Schedule After Brickyard 400
Date Time (ET)Race TV Info
Sunday, Aug 021:30 p.m.Windows 10 400 NBCSN
Sunday, Aug 092 p.m.Cheez-It 355NBCSN
Sunday, Aug 162:30 p.m.Pure Michigan 400 NBCSN
Saturday, Aug 227:30 p.m.IRWIN Tools Night Race NBCSN
Sunday, Sep 067 p.m.Bojangles' Southern 500 NBC
Saturday, Sep 127:30 p.m.Federated Auto Parts 400 NBCSN
Sunday, Sep 203 p.m.NASCAR Sprint Cup September Chicagoland RaceNBCSN
Sunday, Sep 272 p.m.Sylvania 300NBCSN
Sunday, Oct 042:30 p.m.AAA 400NBCSN
Saturday, Oct 107 p.m.Bank of America 500NBC
Sunday, Oct 182:15 p.m.Hollywood Casino 400 NBC
Sunday, Oct 252:30 p.m.Alabama 500 NBCSN
Sunday, Nov 011:15 p.m.Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500 NBCSN
Sunday, Nov 082 p.m.AAA Texas 500 NBC
Sunday, Nov 152:30 p.m.Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500NBC
Sunday, Nov 223 p.m.Ford EcoBoost 400NBC
Source: ESPN.com

Stats and info courtesy of ESPN.com unless otherwise specified.

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