Chase score card: leaving Martinsville Speedway

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Kurt Busch became the sixth different winner in six races, so far, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in Sunday when he took the checkered flag in the STP 500 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. He joins Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch as drivers who have already made their ways to victory lane this year. The tally of six different drivers winning the first six races is a record in the Chase for the Sprint Cup era.

If this trend continues for very long, a second win may take higher importance, as the chances of more than 16 race winners in the first 26 races (cutoff to get into the Chase) increase. It may end up taking two wins to guarantee a Chase berth. So many winners could also make points more important, as the points standings would be used to break ties needed to be broken to determine the Chase drivers among those with a single trip to victory lane.

Also, if there aren’t at least 16 winners (or 15 if the points leader at the cut-off hasn’t yet won a race), points come into play to set the back of the Chase field once race winners are entered. Either way, while wins are of utmost importants, points still count for something.

As mentioned above, Earnhardt, Harvick, Keselowski, Edwards and the Busch brothers have their feet in the Chase door, each with a win. Here’s a look at the points standings following Sunday’s race at Martinsville:

1. Dale Earnhardt Jr., leader
2. Matt Kenseth, -9
3. Carl Edwards, -10
4. Jeff Gordon, -11
5. Jimmie Johnson, -18
6. Kyle Busch, -38
7. Brad Keselowski, -39
8. Joey Logano, -40
9. Austin Dillon, -48
10. Ryan Newman, -53
11. Paul Menard, -59
12. Denny Hamlin, -62
12. Brian Vickers, -62
14. Marcos Ambrose, -65
15. Tony Stewart, -73
16. A.J. Allmendinger, -75

20. Kurt Busch, -81
25. Kevin Harvick, -92

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Check out this photo gallery of 2014 race winners — specifically, race winners’ “race winner” decals on their cars (photos courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR):

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