There are just six races left until the Chase for the Championship begins. So, getting into the top 10 in points, or winning one of the two wild-card spots by having the most wins of a driver in the top 20 in points, but not in the top 10, is becoming more urgent.
The two drivers who helped themselves the most at Indianapolis Sunday were Paul Menard, obviously, with his first career win, and Tony Stewart. Menard, who became the first driver to win his first Sprint Cup race at Indy, is 14th in points, but would make the Chase based on his win, even though he sits behind Clint Bowyer and Greg Biffle, who are each winless this season. Bowyer and Biffle have run well at this week's venue, Pocono, in the past, so they're not out of it yet.
Stewart put himself in better position by moving from 11th to ninth in the point standings with a sixth-place finish at Indy. Stewart doesn't have that coveted win yet, but he does have a 22-point lead over 11th place Denny Hamlin, who does have a win, and 35-point lead over Bowyer.
Though he didn't have a disaster of a day, Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 16th, which bumped him back to 10th in the points. He also does not have a coveted victory this season as his winless streak reached 113 races (for those of you snoring at home). He's 19 points ahead of Hamlin and 32 ahead of Bowyer. His chances of making the Chase are slipping every week as he inches closer to falling out of the top 10 and with the fact that there have been 14 different winners in 20 races this season. Junior needs one of those different winners to be him in these next six races.
Until next time.