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Sprint Cup Chase 2015: NASCAR Standings, Schedule Post-Sylvania 300

Joe Pantorno@@JoePantornoFeatured ColumnistSeptember 27, 2015

Matt Kenseth (20) takes the lead on a restart during the NASCAR Sprint Cup series auto race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015, in Loudon, N.H. Kenseth won the race. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Jim Cole/Associated Press

The second of three races in the first round of NASCAR's Chase for the Sprint Cup is in the books, as Matt Kenseth took the checkered flag Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Kenseth's win ensures that he will advance to the round of 12 as four drivers are set to be cut after the race at Dover next week.

A majority of the 16 drivers have work to do in the next week as we take a look at the updated points standings and remaining schedule after the Sylvania 300:

NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase Standings
RankDriverPointsSylvania 300 Finish
1Matt Kenseth2,0991
2Denny Hamlin2,0932
3Carl Edwards2,0895
4Joey Logano2,0893
5Jimmie Johnson2,0836
6Ryan Newman2,07410
7Kurt Busch2,07319
8Brad Keselowski2,07212
9Martin Truex Jr.2,0718
10Jeff Gordon2,0687
11Jamie McMurray2,05814
12Dale Earnhardt Jr.2,05725
13Kyle Busch2,05637
14Paul Menard2,05615
15Kevin Harvick2,03421
16Clint Bowyer2,01826
NASCAR.com
2015 Sprint Cup Chase Remaining Schedule
Date, Time (ET)EventLocation
Sunday, Oct. 4, 2:30 p.m.AAA 400Dover International Speedway
Field Cut to 12
Saturday, Oct. 10, 7 p.m.Bank of America 500Charlotte Motor Speedway
Sunday, Oct. 18, 2:15 p.m.Hollywood Casino 400Kansas Speedway
Sunday, Oct. 25, 2:30 p.m.CampingWorld.com 500Talladega Superspeedway
Field Cut to 8
Sunday, Nov. 1, 1:15 p.m.Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500Martinsville Speedway
Sunday, Nov. 8, 2 p.m.AAA Texas 500Texas Motor Speedway
Sunday, Nov. 15, 2:30 p.m.Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500Phoenix International Speedway
Field Cut to 4
Sunday, Nov. 22, 3 p.m.Ford Ecoboost 400Homestead-Miami Speedway
NASCAR.com

Things are looking good for Denny Hamlin, who won the first race of the Challenger Round at Chicagoland last week. He followed up his win with a second-place finish and sits just six points behind Kenseth for the lead.

Brad Keselowski, who sits in eighth in the standings, had a great chance to separate himself from the bottom of the pack when he made his way toward the lead with fewer than 60 laps left.

But NASCAR penalized him on the restart after deeming that he accelerated too early.

Kentucky Speedway caught a quote from Keselowski after the race on his penalty:

Kentucky Speedway @KySpeedway

.@keselowski on his restart black-flag penalty: "It's a pretty basic understanding. It's an entertainment sport, not a fair sport." #NASCAR

Yet Keselowski isn't in as much trouble as Kyle Busch, Paul Menard, Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer, who sit in the cut spots entering the final race of the first round.

Harvick is trying to dig out of a hole that he created when he finished 42nd at Chicagoland after Jimmie Johnson hit his car, blowing out one of his tires. He didn't improve much Sunday, finishing 21st.

One of the more consistent drivers this season, Harvick has two wins and 18 top-five finishes, making his appearance in the bottom four this early in the Chase surprising. 

Kyle Busch is also a name that many fans probably didn't think would be on the first cut list. With four wins and six top-five finishes this year, Busch finished 37th at New Hampshire on Sunday. 

With one race remaining before the cuts, there is going to be some desperate driving that will create plenty of drama around NASCAR. Tensions and emotions will continue to rise as the Chase makes its way to Dover, Delaware, but the quality of racing should rise as well before the field prepares to cut down to 12 racers.

Stats courtesy of NASCAR.com.

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