Sprint Cup Chase 2015: NASCAR Standings, Schedule Post-Windows 10 400

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 2, 2015

Matt Kenseth (20) drives back up the front stretch past a coasting Kyle Busch (18) after winning the NASCAR Pocono 400 auto race, Sunday, Aug. 2, 2015, in Long Pond, Pa. Busch was leading the race when he ran out of fuel on the final lap. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

There are worse ways to lose a race, but Kyle Busch won't want to find them out after he ran out of fuel on the final lap of the Windows 10 400, handing a victory to Matt Kenseth in the process.    

Not even the best driver in the world can do anything with a car that's running low on fuel. Busch attempted to squeeze every last drop he could out of his car's tank, but it was to no avail, per NASCAR:

The disappointment didn't seem to affect the 30-year-old after the race, per USA Today's Jeff Gluck:

The final result could be particularly important for Busch. He must finish inside the top 30 in the points standings in order to qualify for the Chase. His four wins alone won't be enough to get him into the top 16.

As ESPN.com's Bob Pockrass noted, Busch still would've had work to do even in victory Sunday:

With that said, falling from first to 21st cost Busch points—points he can't afford to be dropping. Luckily for him, he made up a ton of ground in spite of his late collapse, per ESPN Stats & Info:

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Making up 13 points between now and the Challenger Round should be doable for Busch, especially given the way he has driven of late. Kasey Kahne, who currently sits in 16th, can't be feeling too comfortable with his position right now.

Here's a look at the Chase field following Sunday:

Sprint Cup Standings—Post-Windows 10 400
Pos.DriverPointsWins
1Jimmie Johnson7134
2Kevin Harvick7802
3Dale Earnhardt Jr.7172
4Matt Kenseth6622
5Kurt Busch6202
6Joey Logano7341
7Martin Truex Jr.6941
8Brad Keselowski6811
9Denny Hamlin6141
10Carl Edwards5531
11Jamie McMurray6310
12Jeff Gordon6170
13Paul Menard5910
14Ryan Newman5840
15Clint Bowyer5740
16Kasey Kahne5590
Source: NASCAR.com

The door is slowly closing for those hoping to creep into the top 16. With the Windows 10 400 completed, just five more races remain until the Challenger Round begins. You can view what's left of the 2015 schedule below:

2015 Sprint Cup Schedule—Post-Windows 10 400
RaceTrackDateTime (ET)
Cheez-It 355Watkins Glen InternationalSunday, Aug. 92 p.m.
Pure Michigan 400Michigan International SpeedwaySunday, Aug. 162:30 p.m.
IRWIN Tools Night Race Bristol Motor SpeedwaySaturday, Aug. 227:30 p.m.
Bojangles' Southern 500 Darlington RacewaySunday, Sept. 67 p.m.
Federated Auto Parts 400Richmond International RacewaySaturday, Sept. 127:30 p.m.
Challenger Round
NASCAR Sprint Cup September Chicagoland RaceChicagoland SpeedwaySunday, Sept. 203 p.m.
Sylvania 300New Hampshire Motor SpeedwaySunday, Sept. 272 p.m.
AAA 400Dover International SpeedwaySunday, Oct. 42:30 p.m.
Contender Round
Bank of America 500 Charlotte Motor Speedway Saturday, Oct. 107 p.m.
Hollywood Casino 400 Kansas SpeedwaySunday, Oct. 182:15 p.m.
Alabama 500 Talladega Superspeedway Sunday, Oct. 252:30 p.m.
Eliminator Round
Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500 Martinsville Speedway Sunday, Nov. 11:15 p.m.
AAA Texas 500Texas Motor SpeedwaySunday, Nov. 82 p.m.
Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 Phoenix International Raceway Sunday, Nov. 152:30 p.m.
Championship Round
Ford EcoBoost 400Homestead-Miami SpeedwaySunday, Nov. 223 p.m.
Source: NASCAR.com

Kenseth's win didn't have a major impact on the Chase standings. He already had one checkered flag to his name in 2015—the Food City 500 in April—so he had already guaranteed a top-16 place before Sunday's race.

But a second win will mean Kenseth has a couple of extra bonus points when the Challenger Round begins, which will undoubtedly come in handy.

Looking a little further down the standings, Clint Bowyer did a lot to help himself in the Windows 10 400. He collected 36 points on the day after finishing eighth.

Bowyer now owns a 15-point advantage on Kahne in 15th, and he also gained ground on Ryan Newman, who picked up 21 points with a 23rd-place finish. Only 10 points separate Bowyer from 14th.

The battle for 14th and 15th might not seem that interesting now, but let's assume Busch winds up in the top 30 in points and climbs into the Chase.

You don't want to be the driver in 16th right now because that spot essentially belongs to the No. 18 car. Once Busch enters the Chase, the guy in 16th will get bumped out completely, which is why 15th could be considered the Chase cutoff at the moment.

And if you're Bowyer, you can't rest on your laurels in 15th.

All it takes for your Chase outlook to radically change overnight is anyone from Kahne on down—Busch excluded—picking up a victory between now and the Challenger Round. All of a sudden, Bowyer would be in 16th—the last man out to make way for Busch.

Newman has a fairly solid buffer in 14th, while Jeff Gordon and Paul Menard look to be pretty safe in 12th and 13th, respectively.

No matter how the standings shake out over the coming weeks, drama will be in abundance as drivers scratch and claw for a Chase place.