NASCAR & Auto Racing

The Chasers | A top-12 scorecard after Charlotte

A quick look at where the 12 drivers participating in NASCAR's 10-race playoff Chase are after the Bank of America 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway:

No. 1 Jimmie Johnson (leader)

Johnson was as frustrated as he's appeared all season following Saturday night's race, despite a credible sixth-place finish that left him with a 69-point cushion with five Chase races remaining.

Johnson said he had "a lot of mad pent up in me" with the difficulty he and his team had to adjust his No. 48 Chevrolet in the race.

No. 2 Jeff Burton (-69)

Burton moved himself into the thick of the championship race with his victory, now trailing Johnson by 69 points with five races remaining. The win was also his second of the season, the first time Burton has registered multiple Cup wins in a season since 2001.

No. 3 Greg Biffle (-86)

After a tough race last weekend, Biffle needed a strong performance to remain in the hunt for his first series title and got i with a solid seventh-place finish. He also led 16 laps in the race. Biffle remains well within striking distance of leader Johnson.

"I would have felt better if we won tonight and been about 30 or 40 (points) back, but we're not going to give up," Biffle said.

No. 4 Carl Edwards (-168)

Trouble found him before the race was 100 laps old when ignition problems took him off the track.

Edwards, who started the night in second place behind Jimmie Johnson, was forced to pit at Lap 67 and it cost him 16 laps, taking him out of contention for the night and dropping him to fourth place in the points race, 168 behind Johnson.

The culprit was a faulty ignition system, Edwards said. "We'll fight back. We'll get everything we can," he said.

No. 5 Clint Bowyer (-185)

Like his Richard Childress Racing teammate, Kevin Harvick, Bowyer was not able to get as good a grasp on his car as their other teammate, Jeff Burton. He managed a respectable 12th-place finish but lost some ground to the points leader.

No. 6 Kevin Harvick (-207)

At one point Harvick was nearly lapped by the race leader, but his No. 29 Chevrolet got better as the race went on and patched together a 13th-place finish.

No. 7 Tony Stewart (-228)

Stewart remained up front most of the race, but got sidetracked with a speeding penalty on pit road during a green-flag stop late in the race. He managed to remain on the lead lap and ended up 11th.

No. 8 Jeff Gordon (-245)

It was a turbulent night for Gordon, who hit the wall twice in the early laps, forcing a green-flag pit stop that put him a lap down.

He worked his way back to the front and led 47 laps in the second half of the race. His car was best when it was out front in clean air. When Gordon fell back into the pack, his car didn't perform as well and he wound up finishing eighth.

"It gave us some hope that maybe we could win it, but the only way we were going to win it was if the fuel mileage worked out," Gordon said. As for the aerodynamic problems, Gordon said, "I'm exhausted talking about it."

No. 9 Kyle Busch (-326)

After a wretched start to the Chase, Busch finally had a good night, finishing fourth in his pink Toyota. He led twice for 14 laps.

The favorite when the Chase began after eight victories in the "regular season," Busch finished 34th in the first Chase race, followed that with a 43rd then improved marginally to 28th and 15th before having a good run at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

No. 10 Dale Earnhardt Jr. (-354)

His night was going along nicely until he cut a tire and slammed into the wall, leading to a 36th-place finish.

The contact did serious damage to the side of Earnhardt Jr.'s car and by the time he returned, he was more than 40 laps behind.

"I wasn't running real hard at all. I was actually taking it pretty easy," he said. "It just popped. There had been a couple of wrecks in that corner. No telling what might have been laying under there.

"I had been running too hard at the race earlier this year and I was just going to try to take it easy and be around there at the end."

No. 11 Matt Kenseth (-360)

After working through the first half of race to make his car competitive, Kenseth's evening ended suddenly when he was caught up in a wreck on Lap 194.

"There was an accident I slowed down for and just got ran over from behind," Kenseth said.

No. 12 Denny Hamlin (-380)

His first race back after suffering a head injury when he hit the wall at Talladega, Hamlin actually stayed in the hunt for the win most of the night. Late in the race, he swept up and slammed the outside wall. He ended up 16th.

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