Rankings are updated every Monday of the NASCAR season.
Logano played it safe Sunday. With a win in the Contender Round he knew he would be advancing to the Eliminator Round no matter what. Trouble found him on lap 60 Sunday when contact from another car sent him into the infield grass. He recovered and rallied back to help his teammate to the front and finished the day 11th.
Harvick led two laps after fighting his way forward from his 39th place starting spot. Although he wasn’t expected to run near the front given his guaranteed berth in the next round, he nonetheless charged there - he just never really had the speed to stay there. Still, he avoided trouble and came home ninth.
Newman started 11th and simply tried to avoid trouble all day. He managed to do just that. In the closing laps, pit strategy had him in the lead. He tried to hold on for the win but was shuffled out the lead on the final lap. He finished the day fifth.
Hamlin never got a lot of attention Sunday. However, he was actually among the contenders for the win most of the day. He moved to the front early and led one lap, but he fell to the back of the pack and got a little damage from contact on pit road late in the race. He fell to the back and could move no farther forward than 18th when it was over.
Kenseth entered the day on outside of the Chase, facing elimination. As is his style, Kenseth laid low for most of the race. He avoided trouble and carefully picked his way to the front in the closing laps. In the wild melee of the overtime finish, Kenseth raced harder than he had all day. He pushed winner Brad Keselowski across the line and settled for second. The better news was that his finish combined with poor runs by several others gave him enough points to advance.
Edwards simply survived. That’s how his day can be best summed up. Edwards hung near the back hoping to avoid trouble. He barely missed one accident but was never fast enough to make his way too far forward. He finished 21st.
Gordon was hanging out in the back of the field like Edwards most of the day. An ill-timed pit stop late in the going put him even deeper in the field. All he could do at the end of the day is hold on and hope for the best. He finished 26th. Surprisingly, he is the only Hendrick driver moving forward in the Chase. Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne were all eliminated Sunday.
Keselowski needed a win to have any hope of advancing. At lap 60, contact with Jamie McMurray sent him to pit road with damage on one side of his Ford. Keselowski overcame those issues and, thanks to quick repairs by his team, stayed on the lead lap. In the final laps he was at the front of the field and on the last lap he took the lead coming to the line and winning his sixth race of the season. He will continue racing for the championship.
About The Ranker:
Greg Engle is an Examiner.com writer and an award-winning columnist who has worked full time for the Sporting News and the NASCAR Wire Service—if you wanted to get any more inside the sport of NASCAR you’d have to wear a crash helmet. He has received bylines in hundreds of newspapers across the country on auto sports and has also been featured on NASCAR.com, ThatsRacin.com, ESPN and Fox Sports. His work can be found at Examiner.com.