NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase Grid 2016: Standings, Schedule Post-Chicagoland 400

Joe Pantorno@@JoePantornoFeatured ColumnistSeptember 19, 2016

Martin Truex Jr. (78) drives past Tony Stewart (14) during a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Chicagoland Speedway, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016, in Joliet, Ill. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

The first race of NASCAR's Sprint Cup Chase is in the books as Martin Truex Jr. took home the checkered flag in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 from Chicagoland.  

With two more races left in the round of 16, here are the updated Chase standings:

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Driver Point Standings
PlaceDriverPoints
1Martin Truex Jr.2,050
2Brad Keselowski2,049
3Kyle Busch2,046
4Denny Hamlin2,045
5Joey Logano2,043
6Chase Elliott2,039
7Matt Kenseth2,038
8Jimmie Johnson2,037
9Carl Edwards2,032
10Kurt Busch2,031
11Jamie McMurray2,030
12Tony Stewart2,028
13Austin Dillon2,027
14Kevin Harvick2,027
15Kyle Larson2,026
16Chris Buescher2,016
NASCAR.com

Here is the remaining schedule for the Sprint Cup's 2016 season, as only nine more races remain:

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chase Schedule
DateTime (ET)RaceVenue
Round of 16
Sunday, Sept. 252 p.m.New England 300New Hampshire
Sunday, Oct. 22 p.m.Citizen Soldier 400Dover
Round of 12
Saturday, Oct. 87 p.m.Bank of America 500Charlotte
Sunday, Oct. 162:15 p.m.Hollywood Casino 400Kansas
Sunday, Oct. 232 p.m.Alabama 500Talladega
Round of 8
Sunday, Oct. 301 p.m.Goody's Fast Relief 500Martinsville
Sunday, Nov. 62 p.m.AAA Texas 500Texas
Sunday, Nov. 132:30 p.m.Can-Am 500Phoenix
Championship 4
Sunday, Nov. 202:30 p.m.Ford Ecoboost 400Homestead
NASCAR.com

Despite him failing post-race inspection, Truex's win ensures that he will be moving on to the round of 12 that begins after the next two races. 

It took until overtime, but a well-timed pit stop saw Truex get four fresh tires that would carry him to victory. On the restart, he ran down Ryan Blaney on the outside and shot by him for the lead and the win. 

NASCAR showed his finish, which became an easy one thanks to those new tires:

The win ensured that Truex would lead the Sprint Cup standings for the first time in his career. But he isn't resting on his laurels even though he's safe for the next round, via Reid Spencer of NASCAR.com: "We have more races to win—the more we can win, the better. What can I say? This is how we want to start off. This feels awesome."

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Brad Keselowski is one point behind Truex in the standings after he finished in fifth place on Sunday. He was one of just two drivers who won four races this season, making him one of the favorites to punch his ticket next into the round of 12. 

The other driver who won four races this year is last year's Sprint Cup champion Kyle Busch. After winning the pole for Chicagoland, Busch finished in eighth place, but because he led 21 laps on Sunday, he is just four points behind Truex in third. 

Next for the Chase drivers is the New England 300 from New Hampshire Motor Speedway, the penultimate race of the round of 16. 

While the track offers plenty of room for speed at 1.058 miles long, its narrow dimensions width-wise will present plenty of opportunities for competing drivers to get up close and personal to each other during the postseason. 

         

Stats courtesy of NASCAR.com