Hamlin suffers the most
• A pretty uneventful race during the first half, this one got wild late, sweeping up a handful of Chase cars within a 30-lap segment. While Denny Hamlin clearly got the worst of it, a handful of contenders had some kind of car damage. Some drivers said prerace they were more concerned with avoiding 25th place than chasing a victory, but sometimes stuff just happens.
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• Rookie Kyle Larson did some slick driving down the stretch to take second place. He did well in both races in New Hampshire, and that surprises no one more than him. According to Larson, the 1.06-mile layout here is exactly opposite to the kind of track that best suits his style.
• Corey Lajoie, driving his first Sprint Cup race, served mostly as an obstacle Sunday. Have sympathy – it’s not easy driving those cars anywhere and this one-mile layout makes it particularly dangerous to pass. Lots of predicaments, so maybe lots of experience.
How the Chase drivers fared:
1. Brad Keselowski (2,097 points)
He spun out with just over 100 laps to go, causing some body damage. But by winning Chicagoland, Keselowski already advanced to next round of the Chase.
2. Joey Logano (-1)
He was great in late restarts, and the win guarantees he’ll advance to the second round of the Chase.
3. Kevin Harvick (-7)
He keeps leading the most laps without closing the deal. But that still puts him in great shape to advance.
4. Jimmie Johnson (-17)
He salvaged a top-five finish on an up-and-down day at a track where it’s tough to pass.
5. Kyle Busch (-20)
Heavy damage to his front hood forced Busch to keep pitting to pound the piece back into some kind of normal shape.
6. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (-20)
A tire problem forced him to pit under green and left him a lap down for a long span midway through the race.
7. Jeff Gordon (-27)
He had some tire problems late that pushed him back to 26th on what had been a promising day.
8. Matt Kenseth (-40)
He went into the wall with 30 laps to go, taking heavy damage to both sides of the car, particularly the right rear fender.
9. Carl Edwards (-40)
A 17th-place finish, but it still bought him some breathing room as far as staying clear of 13th in the Chase standings.
10. AJ Allmendinger (-41)
Taking 13th in New Hampshire might get him to the next round. He started 27th Sunday.
11. Kasey Kahne (-42)
Kahne eventually had to pit to address damage from a chain-reaction crash two-thirds of the way through the race.
12. Ryan Newman (-42)
A ninth-place start in New Hampshire deteriorated to an 18th-place finish.
13. Denny Hamlin (-48)
A fuel probe problem left Hamlin four laps down, and then he got caught up in the day’s first wreck about two-thirds through the race. A brutal day, finishing 37th.
14. Greg Biffle (-48)
Finishing 16th didn’t cut it on a day when Biffle needed to make a move to feel good going into Dover.
15. Kurt Busch (-50)
He hit the wall with about 80 laps left, ripping up his right-front fender. Busch had been running poorly all day.
16. Aric Almirola (-52)
Finished sixth Sunday but still needs some major luck in Dover to advance.