Charting the Chase field after Dover

Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Toyota, poses with the winner?s decal in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Citizen Solider 400 at Dover International Speedway on October 2, 2016 in Dover, Delaware. (Getty Images)
Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Toyota, poses with the winner?s decal in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Citizen Solider 400 at Dover International Speedway on October 2, 2016 in Dover, Delaware. (Getty Images)
Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Toyota, poses with the winner?s decal in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Citizen Solider 400 at Dover International Speedway on October 2, 2016 in Dover, Delaware. (Getty Images)

Martin Truex Jr. showed he will be a force to be reckoned with Sunday. Truex led a race high 187 of the 400 laps to win at Dover International Speedway, his fourth win of the 2016 season and his second win in the Round of 16.  While he celebrated his win, four drivers were eliminated as the Round of 12 begins.

Here’s a look at the Chase field after Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Citizen Soldier 400 at Dover International Speedway.

(Driver/Gain-Loss/Points)

1. Martin Truex Jr. (+1) 3000. Truex schooled the field Sunday.  He made no mistakes on pit road, no mistake on the track, and in the last six races has now led more laps than he has in his entire career. Truex is now officially the driver to beat.

2. Kevin Harvick (+4) 3000. Harvick actually had a pretty bad day. He had a track bar mount break early in the race and was forced to the garage. With a win in the first round though, that issue didn’t change the fact that despite his 37th place finish 46 laps down, Harvick is guaranteed to move to the next round thanks to his win last week at new Hampshire.

3. Kyle Busch (0) 3000. Busch led the second most laps of the day, 102, but he, like the rest of the field, had nothing for Truex. Still, despite his second place finish, the defending Sprint Cup champion showed he’s far from out of it.

4.  Matt Kenseth (0) 3000. Kenseth never led a lap, but had a clean race avoiding trouble and coming home with a decent fifth place finish.

5.  Joey Logano (0) 3000. Logano didn’t have a car to compete for the win, but was able to stay inside the top 10 and was rewarded with a sixth place finish, the last car on the lead lap, for his efforts.

6. Chase Elliott (+3) 3000. Elliott was silent most of the day. He made a late race charge, and while he didn’t contend for the win did have a nice third place finish. Elliott could be a surprise before  the Chase is over, and few would be shocked to see the rookie win a race.

7. Brad Keselowski (-6) 3000. Keselowski struggled much of the race, but did make a late race rally. He didn’t have the car to win, but did make a nice rally late to finish fourth.

8.  Kurt Busch (+3) 3000. Kurt Busch knew he didn’t have a car to win. His Stewart-Haas Racing team struggled all weekend. But, he knew he needed to simply get a decent finish to advance. That’s just what he did coming home 15th two laps down.

9.  Denny Hamlin (-2) 3000. Hamlin never had a car to win Sunday. He avoided trouble though and did what he had to do, finishing 9th, to advance to the next round.

10. Carl Edwards (0) 3000. Edwards is hanging in there. He didn’t have the car to contend for the win, but with enough points, had a finish, 14th one lap down, good enough to move to the next round.

11. Jimmie Johnson (-3) 3000. Johnson saw a pit road penalty thwart his chances for a win, again.  He was penalized for crewmembers over the wall too soon and given a pass through penalty.  He rejoined the field 16th and finished 7th one lap down. He may be moving onto the next round, but if his crew continues to have issues, a seventh title will be out of reach.

12 Austin Dillon (+1) 3000. Dillon was another of those drivers who did what he needed to do to advance. Dillon avoided trouble, finished 8th and secured the final Chase spot.

Eliminated:

Tony Stewart 2074. Stewart finished 13th, but with Dillon’s run it wasn’t enough. Stewart will retire as a three time champion.

Kyle Larson 2073. Larson lost engine power early, hit the wall later in the race and finished 25th six laps down. Larson was among the favorites when the Chase began but eliminated Sunday.

Jamie McMurray 2053. McMurray’s Chase hopes ended with a blown engine on lap 193. He was the second of the Chip Ganassi Racing drivers to be eliminated with a DNF and a 40th place finish.

Chris Buescher 2045. Few expected Buescher to advance to the next round.  The underfunded team did win at Pocono, but has not had the speed in the Chase to contend for anything outside the top 20. Buescher finished 23rd Sunday and was eliminated.

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