Jul 6, 2014; Daytona Beach, FL, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Aric Almirola celebrates in victory lane after winning the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Chase score card: leaving Daytona International Speedway


Aric Almirola’s win of the rain-delayed Coke Zero 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday was the first win for the famed No. 43 since 1999 and came two days after the 30th anniversary of car owner Richard Petty’s 200th and final win as a driver in the same race in 1984. It was Almirola’s first-career Cup win, but perhaps more importantly, it punched his ticket into the 16-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup that will kick off after eight more races.

Almirola became the 11th different driver to visit victory lane in 2014, and with eight more races to go, it still looks unlikely that there will be 16 different winners at the cutoff to get into the Chase come the 26th race of the season at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.

Jeff Gordon, with one race win, so far, in 2014, leads the way in the points standings, followed by a couple of his Hendrick Motorsports teammates, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson, in second third, both of them multi-race winners. The highest-position driver without a race win, so far, is Matt Kenseth, who sits fifth in the standings. Kenseth is one of three drivers currently in the top-10 witiout a win, the other two being Ryan Newman in eighth and Paul Menard in 10th.

Here’s a look at the championship points standings after 18 races (race wins notated by *):

1. *Jeff Gordon, leader
2. **Dale Earnhardt Jr., -27
3. ***Jimmie Johnson, -55
4. **Brad Keselowski, -65
5. Matt Kenseth, -71
6. **Joey Logano, -105
7. **Carl Edwards, -108
8. Ryan Newman, -117
9. *Kyle Busch, -127
10. Paul Menard, -135

11. **Kevin Harvick, -135
14. *Denny Hamlin, -158
21. *Aric Almirola, -199
24. *Kurt Busch, -229

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Tags: Chase For The Sprint Cup Daytona International Speedway NASCAR