A.J. Allmendinger’s win in the Cheez-It 355 at The Glen NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International Speedway on Sunday didn’t just serve as the driver’s first-career Sprint Cup win, it also gained him eligibility into the 16-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup championship post-season, set to get underway next month.
“Honesty, the Chase doesn’t mean anything to me,” an excited Allmendinger said in victory lane right after the win.
Meaningful or not, Allmendinger is one of the 12 drivers who are Chase-eligible by virtue of at least one race win, leaving four spots for drivers to get in on points, at least as they stand now, with four races remaining until the Chase cut-off.
As far as the Chase eligibility standings go, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson lead the way, each with three wins, the most of anyone. Earnhardt is also the leader in the traditional points standings.
Matt Kenseth is the front-runner for those hoping to get into the Chase on points, as he’s third in the overall points standings, 70 points behind Earnhardt. There are two othter winless drivers in the top-10 — Ryan Newman in eighth (tied with Kevin Harvick) and series rookie Kyle Larson in 10th.
Here’s a look at the championship points standings (wins notated with *):
1. ***Dale Earnhardt Jr., leader
2. **Jeff Gordon, -5
3. Matt Kenseth, -70
4. ***Brad Keselowski, -77
5. **Joey Logano, -102
6. **Carl Edwards, -115
7. ***Jimmie Johnson, -123
8. **Kevin Harvick, -128
8. Ryan Newman, -128
10. Kyle Larson, -128
15. *Kyle Busch, -158
20. *Denny Hamlin, -221
22. *Aric Almirola, -241
23. *Kurt Busch, -244
24. *A.J. Allmendinger, -248