Take a look back at all the action from the first race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup as Denny Hamlin goes from being a lap down to ending up in Victory Lane at Chicagoland Speedway .
From the contact between Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick to Denny Hamlin’s come from behind win, check out this week's best scanner sounds from the myAFibRisk.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway .
RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings " Chase Grid Complete news and notes on all 43 drivers from the myAFibRisk.com 400 1. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Hamlin's worst start at Chicagoland turned into his best finish at the track when he opted to not pit prior to the Lap 263 restart and used likely the best restart of his career to roll to the win. He is the first driver to secure a spot in the Contender round. 2. Carl Edwards , No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . The Chase contender rallied back after being busted for speeding on pit road on Lap 52. 3. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Busch bounced off the wall early in the race, but was leading when the final caution flag was waved. He opted not to pit and fell back when he didn't get a strong run at the restart. 4. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Newman restarted 14th on fresh tires and improved to score his fifth top-five of the season. 5. Matt Kenseth , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Kenseth's team continually tweaked the No. 20 Toyota to help Kenseth maintain his grip on the points lead. 6. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske . Logano, a Chase contender, turned in his second-best result at Chicagoland on Sunday. The Connecticut-native found himself caught in between the Johnson-Harvick issue after bumping Johnson on a restart; which, in turn, caused Johnson to slide into Harvick's Chevrolet. 7. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Larson is two-for-two at Chicagoland -- two starts, two top-10 results at the 1.5-mile oval. Larson was the first non-Chase contender to cross the finish line. 8. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske . Keselowski rebounded from a loose wheel to post his 10th straight top-10 result of the year, a series best. 9. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Busch led a race-high 121 laps as the Joe Gibbs Racing domination continued on Sunday. 10. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Almirola ran inside the top 15 for most of the day en route to his first Chicagoland top-10. 11. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Johnson ruffled some feathers early when he made contact with Harvick, after being tapped by Logano, while trying to get back onto the track after the Lap 135 restart. 12. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Earnhardt lost several spots in the closing laps when he committed to the top line off the restart and was stalled behind cars on older tires. 13. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Chevrolet, Furniture Row Racing . The fastest in Saturday's final practice, Truex was strong all day but got caught up in a four-wide, Lap 263 restart and shuffled to the back. 14. Jeff Gordon , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Gordon, who made a series-tying best 788th Cup start Sunday, took the lead on Lap 144 after a controversial restart, paced the field for 40 laps before pitting under green on Lap 185. 15. David Ragan , No. 55 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing . Ragan used the beneficiary pass twice and the wave-around several times to improve his track position and stay on the lead lap. 16. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. In his first Chase race as a contender, McMurray gambled with pit strategy and experienced a bit of tire rub in the closing 30 laps. 17. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . A first-time Chaser, Menard was running 12th and on the lead lap with 18 laps to go. A late-race pit stop and crazy restart cost him position. 18. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17, Roush Fenway Racing . Stenhouse spent the first half of Sunday's race looking for the best line. When he ran the top line, he reported, the rear of his car became too tight. 19. Clint Bowyer , No. 15 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing . It was a tough day for Bowyer, who struggled throughout the entire race getting through Turns 3 and 4. 20. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . Mears was considering fuel mileage while racing for the beneficiary pass late in the race Sunday. 21. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Biffle, frequently vexed this season with his car's handling, experienced similar on Sunday and also had the misfortune of brushing the wall. 22. Brian Scott , No. 33 Chevrolet, Circle Sport . Scott rolled off the grid 21st and tying his second-best Cup result of the year (he finished 13th at Las Vegas). 23. Justin Allgaier , No. 51 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . "Heck yeah boys! Excellent stop," Allgaier encouraged his pit crew during their sixth stop. Unfortunately, the chassis adjustments didn't pan out in the laps to come, as Allgaier noted there wasn't a change in the handling. 24. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Kahne made an unscheduled stop late in the race for a vibration and spent the rest of the race running quietly. The primary radio chatter was his lap times. 25. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Stewart was among the cars knocked off the lead lap during season's longest green-flag run. He was running 16th on Lap 83 and was the last car on the lead lap. 26. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Patrick was running 30th when she reported a "loud metal noise" in the back of her car nearing Lap 100. 27. Landon Cassill , No. 40 Chevrolet, Hillman Smith Motorsports. Cassill was one of 16 drivers knocked off the lead lap within the first 50 laps, but he had the fortune of being a legitimate contender for the beneficiary pass. 28. Trevor Bayne , No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Once his team addressed a loose-handling condition, Bayne employed the wave around during caution periods and held steady in the top 28. 29. Cole Whitt , No. 35 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Whitt held steady to improve upon his previous best Chicagoland finish of 30th. 30. Sam Hornish Jr ., No. 9 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Hornish started 22nd but had to pit unexpectedly for tire rub during the first quarter of the race, causing him to go two laps down. 31. Brett Moffitt , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . The Chicagoland first-timer was cautioned on the restarts by spotter Tony Raines , who said "It's like Talladega or Daytona here at the start/finish line. They're all pushing each other." 32. David Gilliland , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . The caution flag was waved on Lap 191 just as Gilliland's team was completing his green-flag stop. 33. Josh Wise , No. 32 Ford, Go FAS Racing. Within the first 50 laps, Wise reported a vibration in the right rear, prompting his crew chief to call him down pit road and further off the lead lap. 34. Michael Annett , No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Annett pitted just prior to the second caution flag for a vibration and later chose to take the wave-around. 35. J.J. Yeley, No. 26 Toyota, BK Racing . Yeley chased a free-handling car and was running 34th past the midway point on Sunday. 36. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing . Allmendinger, who was involved in Denny Hamlin 's early on-track spin, took another hit by Lap 48 when he sustained a flat left-rear tire and had to stop on pit road. 37. Alex Bowman , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing . Around Lap 151, Bowman reported to his crew that something in the rear of the car had broken and he had to hit pit road. 38. Jeb Burton , No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . Burton battled a loose-handling condition during his debut at Chicagoland Speedway and within the first quarter of the race already had dropped the track bar a half inch. 39. Matt DiBenedetto , No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . DiBenedetto, later tweeting his car was "off all weekend," started where he finished in his Chicagoland debut. 40. Reed Sorenson , No. 98 Ford, Premium Motorsports. Sorenson scored his second-best result this season from behind the wheel of the No. 98 Ford. 41. Timmy Hill , No. 62 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports . Making his second Chicagoland start, Hill struggled to make up much track position after starting 43rd. 42. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . The defending NASCAR Sprint Cup champion experienced tire rub after contact with Johnson on the Lap 135 restart and cut his left-rear tire, ultimately causing him to hit the wall hard three laps later. 43. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Dillon's best Chicagoland start and strong top-10 run was cut short when he got into the wall on Lap 131.
JOLIET, Ill. — If not for an inopportune late-race caution period Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway , Kurt Busch might've had the come-from-behind victory in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup opener that instead went to Denny Hamlin . The consolation prize was still a positive one, another character-building moment in a season stocked with them to kick off the playoffs. Busch rallied from early trouble, then survived a rock 'em-sock 'em restart with five laps remaining to get his Chase off to a solid start, collecting a third-place finish in the first of 10 postseason events. It wasn't quite the win that would have automatically transferred him to the round of 12, but it provided a slight buffer and more substantial confidence booster on a day when most playoff-eligible drivers avoided catastrophe. Busch took the lead for the final time at Lap 245 of 267 and appeared headed for victory when the yellow flag flew for debris. His crew chief, Tony Gibson, ordered Busch to keep his Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 out to keep his position, making the former premier series champ one of just three lead-lap drivers -- the others being Hamlin and Jeff Gordon -- to shun pit road. "You hope it goes green to the end and a yellow popped out," Busch said. "The crew chief's like, 'let's stay out,' and I'm like, 'yeah, I think that'll work,' but you've got to remember these restarts, we're so boxed in and if somebody's got a little bit fresher grip to gain momentum on a restart, they're going to jump on you. So Jeff left the inside open, let the guys with fresh tires get to the inside, and it was a tough battle after that. But real proud of our team to bring it home third." Gibson wasn't second-guessing his decision to keep his driver on the track, saying that the tires for the eventual race winner were just as worn as Busch's. "I figured a lot of them were going to do the opposite of whatever I do, so you're kind of a sitting duck anyway," Gibson said. "I pit and take on four (tires) and come out fourth or fifth; in five laps, can I make it through all that crap and make it back? Those are the things you've got to think about, but I don't regret what I did. I think at the time with the information that I had, guys were talking on the radio about they're going to do the opposite of what I do, so I'm screwed either way." Busch initially expressed his surprise with the strategy call over the team's radio, saying, "I can't believe we stayed out." Post-race on pit road, Busch struck a tone of solidarity when discussing his veteran crew chief's decision. "Gibson said stay out and we work as a team," Busch said. "We win as a team; we lose as a team. Great points day." But beyond the decisive restart was a day of resilience. Busch pitted on the 87th lap after scraping the wall with a flat right-rear tire. A long green-flag run helped Busch to eventually return to the lead lap and to sync up with the same pit-stop cycle as the other front-runners. Gibson & Co. gave the car a once-over on its next stop, checking a spot of concern on the right-side fenders. Any damage was minimal; by Lap 184, Busch took the lead for the first time, remaining a force for the rest of the day. "We never give up, and we've had great finishes this year with Kurt when we've had things happen, but we're able to rally back and get good finishes," Gibson said. "That's usually what wins championships. The 48 (six-time champion Jimmie Johnson ) does it a lot. That was our game plan coming into today, and it's still our game plan when we leave." With playoff-eligible drivers taking eight of the top nine spots in Sunday's myAFibRisk.com 400 , there was little movement in the upper reaches of the Chase standings. But Busch is firmly there, ranking fifth in a top 10 that's separated by just 14 points. Last season, Busch was among the first four drivers eliminated when the field was pared to 12 after the opening Challenger Round. Next weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway , the former series champion aims to further solidify his footing at a track where he's won three times. "Led some laps, showed some strength, so we'll take that on to Loudon," Gibson said of the series' next race. "As long as you transfer to the next round, it doesn't matter how many you've won. You can win two of these first ones and still get knocked out in the second round. We're trying to build momentum and build steam and confidence, and today was the day we did that."
RELATED: Can Harvick bounce back and advance in Chase? Editor's note: The views expressed in this column are solely those of the author. Jimmie Johnson was at fault for slamming into the side of Kevin Harvick during Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway . And Harvick's team was wrong to leave its driver out on the track following the contact, taking an unwise and unnecessary gamble in a race that had just reached the halfway point. And this was not just any race. This was the opening event in the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and the first of three races that will determine which 12 teams from the field of 16 will advance to the next round, the Contender Round. Sure, hindsight might be 20-20, but we're not talking about a couple of Johnny-come-latelys here. Both drivers are former Sprint Cup champions -- Johnson a six-time winner while Harvick captured his first title this past season. RELATED: Hear the scanner from the incident There are several reasons why the two teams are considered among the very best on the track each and every week. They rarely make mistakes and when problems do arise, the teams don't fall apart. If anything, adversity draws the respective groups closer together. They haven't won races and championships because they've made bad decisions. They've won races and championships because they’ve made smart ones. In Sunday's Chase opener, both made bad choices and it had nothing to do with Johnson's visit to Harvick's bus in the motorcoach lot after the race. That's fodder for another day. Johnson's No. 48 Chevrolet shot underneath Harvick on a restart on Lap 135, and the reason he took to the track apron is open for debate. Replays made it appear as though a shove from Joey Logano forced the Hendrick Motorsports driver to dive low to keep from running into the back of Harvick's No. 4 Chevrolet. From other angles, it appeared Johnson went low not because of any contact, but simply to avoid hitting Harvick, whose Stewart-Haas Racing entry didn't seem to get quite as good of a launch on the restart. Either way, Johnson was in no man's land and he knew it. With Turn 1 just ahead, he had two options -- try and force his way back onto the track or lift and give up track position as others sped past. RELATED: Where do both drivers stand in Power Rankings? Maybe Johnson didn’t win six titles by giving up ground, but it could have just as easily been his car that sustained a tire rub and eventually found itself in the wall. It was a pretty questionable decision with so much on the line. No doubt Harvick was aware of Johnson's predicament and perhaps he openly chose to keep his fellow racer pinned on the bottom. Maybe Harvick didn't slide up a lane and let Johnson in line for fear of another car being on his outside. Logano was there somewhere; Jeff Gordon was as well. Maybe he chose to hold his line because he never expected Johnson to come rocketing back up onto the track and slam into the side of his car. There's no way of knowing, of course, but one has to wonder what decisions would have been made had the roles of Johnson and Harvick been reversed. Would Harvick have tried to force his way back onto the track? Would Johnson have moved up a lane to avoid contact? Once the contact took place, Harvick's team felt any damage was minor enough to leave their driver on the track. Smoke from a tire rub had lessened; radio chatter informed Harvick that all appeared OK, keep pushing. And then he hit the fence. In the opening Chase race and with nearly half the race remaining. RELATED: Harvick looks to Loudon for redemption There was no way of knowing how significant the damage to Harvick's car was after the contact with Johnson without coming to pit road. But why take the chance? Why put your entire season in jeopardy when a trip to pit road would have alleviated any concerns for both driver and crew? Yes, a pit stop for fresh tires and to check for damage would have put Harvick a lap down, perhaps two. According to NASCAR statistics, however, there were only 16 cars on the lead lap at that point in the race. The likelihood that he could have raced his way back onto the lead lap was extremely good. Denny Hamlin went on to win the race after nearly losing two laps in the opening stages of the race. Carl Edwards , his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, rallied to finish second despite falling off the lead lap when he was penalized for speeding on pit road on Lap 52. Instead, the No. 4 team chose to roll the dice. By the time repairs had been completed and Harvick returned to the race, the driver was 57 laps down. Harvick, who finished 42nd Sunday, has only two races to climb back into contention. His is not a lost cause, but the team can't afford any more mistakes. Johnson dropped six spots, falling from first to seventh and that's not the way his team expected to open the Chase. It's not unusual to see teams with nothing to lose take risks. But for those who repeatedly succeed by making the right decisions at crucial moments, putting an entire season on the line with a questionable decision is totally out of character.
RELATED: Chase pit crew analysis, Part 1 " Part 2 " Part 3 " Part 4 After the first race of the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway , PitTalks.com ranks the 16 Chase teams' pit crews For more pit crew news provided by PitTalks.com come back throughout the Chase. No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota pit crew for Denny Hamlin Rank: 1 (Even) Wins: 2 -- Martinsville, All Star Race, Chicago Notes: This wasn't a completely clean race for the No. 11, but it was good enough to keep the No. 1 spot. They had a little trouble on the left rear on one stop, but on the money stop, they nailed it! No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing pit crew for Kurt Busch Rank: 2 (Even) Wins: 2 -- Richmond and Michigan Notes: The team didn't have any real problems Sunday, and they ran up front all day. Solid stops keep them in the No. 2 hole. No. 22 Team Penske Ford pit crew for Joey Logano Rank: 3 (Even) Wins: 3 -- Daytona, Watkins Glen, Bristol Notes: This crew had a great day on pit road, but without hesitation from the No. 11 or No. 41 team, they stay at the three spot. Last stop of the day they nailed. No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota pit crew for Carl Edwards Rank: 4 (Even) Wins: 2 -- Charlotte and Darlington Notes: This group is in the same boat as the No. 22 at the moment. They had a solid day on pit road but not enough to gain a spot. However, it was definitely good enough to stay in the top 4. No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet pit crew for Jamie McMurray Rank: 5 (Even) Wins: 0 Notes: Rounding out the top 5 is the No. 1, and they deserve to stay there. They were solid all day at Chicagoland and did nothing to lose their spot among the elite. No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota pit crew for Matt Kenseth Rank: 6 (+2) Wins: 4 -- Bristol, Pocono, Michigan, Richmond Notes: This team had a great day on pit road and moved up two spots from last week. They've been fast all year, and days like Sunday will keep them moving up. No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet pit crew for Kevin Harvick Rank: 7 (-1) Wins: 2 -- Las Vegas and Phoenix Notes: This crew was out of the race early so we can't really hold anything against them on the pit road side, but it did give the No. 20 a chance to move up ... and they did. No. 2 Team Penske Ford pit crew for Brad Keselowski Rank: 8 (+2) Wins: 1 -- California Notes: This team made a major change during the week and it seemed to have paid off. It wasn't a killer race but good enough to gain two spots in our rankings. No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing pit crew for Kyle Busch Rank: 9 (-2) Wins: 4 -- Sonoma , Kentucky, New Hampshire, Indianapolis Notes: This is still a great team, but they've had better races. They struggled on the rear on two of their stops, one being the last stop. No. 31 Richard Childress Racing pit crew for Ryan Newman Rank: 10 (+2) Wins: 0 Notes: This team was solid all day and helped get the No. 31 a top-5 finish. They've got the talent to move up, but staying consistent is key. No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports pit crew for Jimmie Johnson Rank: 11 (-2) Wins: 4 -- Atlanta, Texas, Kansas, Dover Notes: This crew was having a good race until the last stop. Looked to have trouble on the right rear and that's the reason for the drop. Still a good crew just a bad week. No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports pit crew for Dale Earnhardt Jr . Rank: 12 (-1) Wins: 2 -- Talladega, Daytona Notes: This team didn't do anything bad, it just didn't do anything great, either. They had a pretty good day, but they have the potential to do better. The shift in rank leaves them minus 1. No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports pit crew for Jeff Gordon Rank: 13 +1 Wins : 0 Notes: They looked fast all day, and we didn't see this group make many mistakes. If this crew gets going, look out. Their changers have lots of talent. No. 15 Michael Waltrip Racing pit crew for Clint Bowyer Rank: 14 (+1) Wins: 0 Notes: They didn't run well at all from a car perspective, so it's hard to see what the crew was capable of. Still, it was a solid day and enough to move up one spot. No. 78 Furniture Row Racing pit crew for Martin Truex Rank: 15 (-2 ) Wins: 1 - Pocono Notes: On the third stop of the race, this crew had a loose left rear and had to pit. They ran up front most of the day, but you can't afford those mistakes in the Chase. No. 27 Richard Childress Racing pit crew for Paul Menard Rank: 16 Wins: 0 Notes: On the second pit stop, they had a little trouble on the rear but nothing terrible. They just didn't do anything to gain positions in the rankings. For more pit crew news, visit PitTalks.com .
Check out some of the top moments from Chicagoland Speedway as things get heated in the first race of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup in this edition of Weekend Top Five.
Eldredge's Pre-Race Concert Will Take Place On Sunday, Sept. 20 Joliet, Ill. -- Country music sensation and Illinois Native, Brett Eldredge, as the pre-race concert act for the myAFibRisk.com 400 -- the first race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup on Sunday, Sept. 20. Eldredge hails from Paris, Ill., approximately 180 miles south of Chicago, and released his new single, "Lose My Mind," last Tuesday. The CMA New Artist of the Year plans to release his sophomore album later this year. His debut album, Bring You Back, yielded the No. 1 hits "Don’t Ya," "Beat of the Music," and "Mean to Me." The 29-year-old Eldredge was a student at Elmhurst College in Elmhurst before moving to Nashville to chase his dreams. "Over the past several years we've had an opportunity to host some of the premier performers within the country music industry, and we're looking forward to Brett Eldredge continuing that tradition," said Scott Paddock, president of Chicagoland Speedway . "Including an artist of Brett's caliber as part of our weekend festivities is an exciting addition for our track, NASCAR and particularly our fans, and the fact that he's from our own backyard makes it even more special as we kick off the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup ." Special packages are available for Eldredge’s biggest fans, including a $99 ticket upgrade which guarantees a place in the front row for Brett's concert and also includes a Fan Zone Pit Pass (grandstand ticket not included). The Fan Zone Pit Pass is required to enter the infield for the concert. For $75, fans can purchase a grandstand ticket and Fan Zone Pit Pass, which puts them in close proximity to the concert and provides access to driver introductions, a red carpet walk and the Infield Fan Zone. All fans with grandstand tickets will have the ability to view the concert from their grandstand seat. Tickets can be purchased online at ChicagolandSpeedway.com , by calling 888-629-RACE, through the Chicagoland Speedway mobile app, or by visiting the Chicagoland Speedway Administrative office Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup weekend at Chicagoland Speedway , Sept. 18-20, will begin with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series American Ethanol e15 225 under the lights on Friday night. On Saturday, Sept. 19, the NASCAR XFINITY Series will hit the track with the Furious 7 300 as the precursor to Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series showdown, the first race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . In addition to the racing action, fans can enjoy live musical entertainment, Champions Park, tailgating and more. Tickets start at just $25 with kids tickets (12 and under) $25 OFF, and parking is always free at Chicagoland Speedway . Buy Chicagoland Tickets
RELATED: Full standings " Chicagoland race results Advancing: Denny Hamlin rebounded from a 29th-place starting position and an early spin to win Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway in the opener for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . As a result, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver advanced to the Contender Round. It was Hamlin's first win in 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Chicagoland , and it came a little more than a week since the Joe Gibbs Racing driver tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee playing basketball. Four out: These four drivers would not advance to the next round (Contender) if the Challenger Round ended today. (Note: The Challenger Round ends in two weeks at Dover International Speedway .) Jamie McMurray (two points behind 12th-place driver) Paul Menard (-3) Clint Bowyer (-5) Kevin Harvick (-22) Reason for hope: Ryan Newman kept his No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet out of trouble on Sunday and posted a fourth-place finish, his ninth top-10 finish in 14 starts at Chicagoland . He moved up to eighth place in the Chase standings and is 12 points ahead of McMurray, who is in 13th place. Reason for worry: Defending champion Kevin Harvick ran into trouble on Lap 135 when his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet came into contact with Jimmie Johnson 's No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet SS. A few laps later Harvick's tire went down and caused him to spin and wreck. He had to go to the garage and finished 42nd. Now Harvick needs a win in the next two races -- or to be near-perfect and see someone else fall behind in points -- for him to advance. Up next: Sylvania 300 , 2 p.m. ET, Sept. 27 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway . (NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM) Who it favors Most wins: 3 -- Jeff Gordon , Kurt Busch , Jimmie Johnson , Ryan Newman Best driver rating: 106.7 -- Jeff Gordon Best average finish: 10.2 -- Brad Keselowski Who it hurts Fewest top 10s: 6 -- Jamie McMurray (in 25 starts), Carl Edwards (22), Martin Truex Jr . (19) Worst driver rating: 61.4 -- Paul Menard Worst average finish: 20.7 -- Jamie McMurray
RELATED: Full starting lineup Kyle Busch used a fast lap of 180.959 mph in the final round of group qualifying for the NASCAR XFINITY Series to take the Coors Light Pole Award at Chicagoland Speedway for Saturday's Furious 7 300 (6 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The pole is Busch's third of the season in the XFINITY Series and the 46th of his career in the series. In 11 starts at Chicagoland , Busch has three wins, seven top fives and now two poles at the 1.5-mile track. Busch is looking to make it Chicagoland sweep for the No. 54 team in the XFINITY Series. Erik Jones won the June standalone event at Chicagoland piloting the No. 54 Toyota to Victory Lane. Busch's Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Matt Kenseth and Daniel Suarez made it a clean sweep of the top three spots in the starting lineup. Kenseth (180.844 mph) will line up in the front row with Busch, while Suarez (180.542 mph) will line up in the third position. Ty Dillon (179.922 mph) will join Suarez in Row 2 for the start of the race. Ryan Blaney (179.892) and Kyle Larson (179.736 mph) will comprise Row 3. Entering Saturday's race, Chris Buescher holds a 21-point edge over defending series champion Chase Elliott and a 27-point lead over Ty Dillon . Elliott did not advance to the final round of group qualifying and will start 17th, while Buescher will line up eighth. Morgan Shepherd did not qualify for the race.